Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/15)

March 15, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk is Low, from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

ILLINOIS

State’s attorneys, Attorney General’s Office square off in State Supreme Court 

On Tuesday, state’s attorneys and the Attorney General’s Office provided testimony and answered questions from Illinois State Supreme Court justices over a controversial provision of the landmark SAFE-T Act that would that would make Illinois the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail.

On Dec. 31, a day before the criminal justice overhaul was set to take effect, the measure was blocked by a Kankakee County judge who deemed the pre-trial detention provisions unconstitutional.

The justices will most likely take several months to reach a final decision but proponents of the SAFE-T Act, which passed through the Illinois General Assembly with solely Democratic support, are confident the 6-2 Democrat-controlled Supreme Court will uphold the measure.

AROUND THE STATE 

Pritzker, allies to DNC: We’ll cover the bill — if Chicago gets the ’24 convention: “The Windy City is competing with New York City and Atlanta but the Illinois governor’s fortune looms over the process,” by POLITICO.

Things to watch as ‘ComEd Four’ trial finally begins: “The long-awaited trial of former Commonwealth Edison CEO Anne Pramaggiore and three others charged with illegally currying favor with then-House Speaker Michael Madigan to win approval of lucrative state legislation begins today. The proceedings are expected to last as long as two months. Prosecutors have a list of 70 witnesses they could call. The defendants have a long list as well,” by Crain’s Business Chicago.

Moody’s gives Illinois another credit upgrade: “Moody’s Investors Service announced Tuesday that it has upgraded Illinois’ bond rating to A3, up from Baa1, marking the eighth credit upgrade the state has received in less than two years,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Democrats file another election complaint against Dan Proft’s political operation, alleging $1.2 million in undisclosed contributions: “For the second time in four months, the Illinois Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections against right-wing radio talk show host and GOP political operative Dan Proft, this time alleging he failed to disclose $1.2 million in contributions to the conservative political action committee he runs,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Pritzker, 14 other governors ask major pharmacies to clarify abortion pill distribution plan: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined 14 other governors Tuesday asking major U.S. pharmacies to clarify how and where they will distribute the abortion pill following a backlash to Walgreens Boots Alliance’s decision to not sell the drug in certain states where it would be legal as it navigates pressure from certain lawmakers aiming to restrict access to the controversial medication,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Lawmakers weigh bills to introduce ranked choice voting to Illinois: “Illinois lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that could add ranked choice voting in Illinois for certain elections. Lawmakers in the House Ethics and Elections Committee heard subject matter testimony Tuesday HB2807 by Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) that would implement ranked choice voting in presidential primaries and HB3749 by Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) that would allow municipalities to pass ordinances establishing ranked choice voting in municipal elections which could eliminate runoff elections in certain cities,” by The Daily Line.

CHICAGO 

City Council passes labor peace agreement ordinance

Aldermen during a Chicago City Council meeting today voted to pass an ordinance that mandates human service providers partnering with the City to sign labor peace agreements, effectively preventing nonprofit organizations from interfering with employee unionization efforts.

Filed by Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) in 2019, the three-year-old proposed city ordinance (O2019-9497) passed 41 to 2 after Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza (10) called for an up-or-down vote. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) and Ald. Tom Tunney (44) voted against the ordinance. Several other aldermen left the chambers during the process to avoid casting a vote.

Leaders of roughly 60 social service and health service organizations had mounted a campaign over the last several weeks to stall or defeat the ordinance, asking for more time before further action was taken and arguing that the measure does not address the root causes of struggles nonprofits face. The ordinance was modified since it was initially introduced to exempt hospitals from its requirements.

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

City Council OKs more video surveillance — and more automated tickets: “A new batch of cameras will be mounted on CTA buses and other public transit vehicles. Drivers caught impeding traffic flow in bus and bike lanes and loading zones will be fined automatically after one warning,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

14 City Council Races Head to Runoffs, as La Spata Triumphs, But Gardiner and Taliaferro Fall Short: “Fourteen seats on the Chicago City Council remain up for grabs and will be decided by a runoff on April 4 along with the race for mayor, according to final, unofficial results released Tuesday by the Chicago Board of Elections. The board will meet Wednesday to approve the results,” by WTTW.

AG Kwame Raoul to Back Johnson, While Quartet of City Council Members Will Endorse Vallas: “The endorsements are flying in the Chicago mayoral election, with Illinois’ top law enforcement official set to back Brandon Johnson and four more members of the City Council throwing their support behind Paul Vallas,” by NBC 5 Chicago.

Vallas, Johnson distance themselves from past comments on curbing crime at public safety forum: “At the debate at UIC Tuesday, mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson said defunding the police is a political goal, but not his goal. Meanwhile, his opponent Paul Vallas denied he had said police were handcuffed and said he wants to restore proactive policing,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

FEDERAL

Beltway Briefing: How Strong Is Trump’s Grip on the GOP

With less than two years to go until the 2024 presidential election, reports are swirling about which public figures may throw their hats in the ring for what is already shaping up to be one of the most heated political races in American history.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin debate whether Trump still remains a power center within the Republican electorate or if his influence may be on the decline. They also discuss how the White House is trying to navigate the politically charged issue of crime, including President Biden’s decision not to use his veto power to block a GOP-led effort to repeal changes to the District of Columbia criminal code.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: Banking on a Crisis

  • This past weekend’s fast-moving banking crisis was an abrupt reminder that the era of easy money is over. While regulators were able to avoid broader contagion (at least for now), this crisis has far-reaching implications going forward for regulation of the banking sector writ large, the Fed’s monetary policy, and President Biden’s re-election campaign.
  • President Biden released his FY24 budget last week. As the saying goes, “the president proposes and Congress disposes,” and Biden’s budget request stands little chance of making it into law. It will have implications for the impending debt ceiling fight and the 2024 presidential election though.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

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