Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/17)

March 17, 2023


IDPH Launches $30 Million Program to Distribute Air Purifiers in Illinois Schools: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today that the state is launching a $29.6 million program to distribute more than 60,000 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) purifiers to Illinois schools to help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19,” from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Allison Arwady, City Hall’s calming voice on COVID, hopes to stay on under next mayor, by the Chicago Sun-Times.

IDPH Reports 9 Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.



Pritzker Administration launches campaign to protect Medicaid coverage: “The Pritzker Administration is launching an all-out public awareness initiative to ensure Illinoisans retain their health insurance coverage when pandemic-era protections end and Medicaid eligibility verifications resume,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Illinois Climate Bank Announces over $250 Million in Climate Finance Achieved in First Year: “The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), in its role as the State Climate Bank, today announced a landmark year of deploying over $250 million in private capital to further clean and sustainable development projects. Additionally, the IFA Climate Bank is holding public hearings and stakeholder meetings as it crafts applications for up to $1.3 billion in federal funds to advance clean energy, climate, and equity goals as outlined by Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) through climate finance and program deployment,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

County board approves ARPA-funded programs providing rent assistance for formerly incarcerated, cost assistance for solar upgrades: “The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a program to help low-income residents pay for solar energy upgrades and a program to help formerly incarcerated residents rebuild their lives after release,” by The Daily Line.

Revenue committee considers proposals to limit estate tax, give Cook County assessor more data on commercial properties: “The House Revenue and Finance Committee held subject matter hearings on a group of proposals to limit the estate tax and give the Cook County Assessor’s Office more data to make property value assessments. Under HB1459 by House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), Illinois’ exclusion amount of the state’s estate tax would align with federal statute. Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) is sponsoring a pair of bills (HB1287/HB1288) that would require property owners to file physical descriptions of their properties with the assessor’s office and require commercial property owners to file income and expense data with the Cook County Assessor’s Office” by The Daily Line.

Bipartisan bills aimed at reducing fentanyl overdoes move forward in House: “A pair of bipartisan bills aimed at reducing fentanyl exposure are moving their way through the House as lawmakers stress the need to take action amid growing drug overdoses linked to fentanyl. On the Democrat side, Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) is pushing HB1121, which gives organizations in the Drug Overdose Prevention Program greater access to drug testing strips. House Republican Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) is pushing HB3203, which allows pharmacies and other relevant retail locations to sell fentanyl testing strips and allows health departments to distribute strips for free,” by The Daily Line.


Aldermen push for more independence on City Council, others urge waiting until new council is sworn in

A group of aldermen Wednesday morning held a news conference calling for a special meeting to consider a slew of rule changes that would bolster the  City Council’s independence from the mayor’s office.

The push, led by Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), would “minimize mayoral influence over council deliberations, provide for increased transparency of committee business, and provide new ways for committees to operate,” according to a press release from the group.

Proposals include creating an Office of Legislative Counsel, increasing the number of City Council committees, and bringing transparency to the legislative process.

At the news conference, Waguespack said he has support from a majority of the current council, but some critics say changes should be made after the new City Council is sworn in in May. A spokesperson for Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not respond for comment.


City Council Passes Smart Streets Ordinance to Improve Traffic Safety and Public Transit Efficiency: “City Council Wednesday passed the Smart Streets Pilots Ordinance, a new measure establishing two downtown pilot programs that aim to improve traffic safety, enhance protections for pedestrians and bicyclists, and speed up public transportation,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

City Council Accepts $20 Million From State To Support Migrants After Fierce Pushback From South Side Leaders: “The funds will be used to care for more than 5,000 migrants who have been mostly bused to Chicago from Texas,” by Block Club Chicago.

Aldermen propose pilot program making city crews responsible for shoveling snow from sidewalks: “The Chicago City Council considered a measure Wednesday making it the city’s job to do the heavy lifting of clearing walkways. There is no snow in the forecast for Chicago, but the issue of shoveling is top of mind and top of the agenda for several aldermen and mobility advocates who believe the city should clear snow- and ice- covered sidewalks at the taxpayer’s expense,” by ABC 7 Chicago.

University of Chicago grad students win union vote: “University of Chicago graduate students voted to form a union, joining a recent victory by their counterparts at Northwestern University and a wave of organizing at campuses across the country,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

City of Chicago Announces Community Growers Program: “Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and partner agency NeighborSpace announced the first round of applications for the City’s Community Growers Program are open until April 1, 2023. The program is designed to increase availability of healthy food in communities facing food insecurity while developing essential business skills and strategies for urban growers,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.


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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