Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/24)

March 24, 2023


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


Illinois House passes bill prohibiting libraries from banning books

On Wednesday, the Illinois House approved legislation aimed at limiting libraries’ capacity to ban books and incentivize them to implement policies to prevent the removal of texts from their collections.

The measure (HB2789) –  initiated by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, whose office oversees the Illinois State Library and administers several grant programs for public and school libraries – would allow the state to deny grant funding to libraries if they ban books for partisan reasons or if they fail to adopt policies prohibiting the practice of banning books.

This legislation comes as efforts to ban books have been steadily increasing nationwide: in 2022 there were 67 attempts to ban books in Illinois – an increase from 41 in 2021, according to a release from Giannoulias’ office.

Republicans argued the bill restricts the local control of elected library boards who should be able to ensure books with “graphic” illustrations are not placed in places that could be inappropriate for certain ages. The House voted 69-39 along party lines to advance the bill to the Senate.

In similar efforts, the Illinois Democratic Party is investing around $300,000 in school and library board elections around the state to combat conservative extremists and uphold the party’s goal of “supporting credible candidates who will oppose efforts to ban books, revise history, and limit reasonable sex education,” according to Democratic Party Chair and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez.


Bill allowing multi-occupancy bathrooms to be gender neutral passes Illinois House: “A measure that would allow multiple occupancy public restrooms to be labeled gender-neutral was passed by the Illinois House on Thursday with the bare minimum of votes. The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would amend the Equitable Restroom Act of 2019, which required all single-occupancy public restrooms to be available to all genders. The amendment would only allow restrooms with two or more toilets to be available to all,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Gov. Pritzker Announces 116 Non-profit Organizations Awarded $20 Million for Enhanced Security Across Illinois: “Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) announced $20 million in grants have been awarded to 116 non-profit organizations across the state through the 2022 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP),” by the Chicago Tribune.

House passes bills requiring all day kindergarten, Native American history ahead of Friday deadline: “The House gave bipartisan support to HB 2396 to require all school districts to offer all-day kindergarten beginning with the 2027-2028 school year. The House also passed HB1633 by Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford), which requires elementary and high schools to institute curriculum on Native American history with guidance from the State Board of Education beginning during the 2024-2025 school year,” by The Daily Line.

Bill would require parents to split the cost of pregnancy expenses, including abortion: “The House gave approval to a bill that would require parents to split the cost of pregnancies, which can be sought through a court order similar to childcare. The House passed HB2477 Tuesday on a 65-40 partisan vote. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Margaret Croke (D-Chicago), allows mothers to ask a judge to require the other parent involved in the pregnancy to support 50 percent of pregnancy costs incurred by the pregnant parent,” by The Daily Line.

Spurred by heat deaths of seniors in Rogers Park, Illinois Senate passes measure requiring AC at state-funded affordable housing: “Following the heat-exposure deaths of three seniors in their apartments on Chicago’s Far North Side last year, the Illinois Senate on Thursday passed a measure requiring all state-funded affordable housing to have air-conditioning installed and controlled by residents,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Giannoulias fears ‘catastrophic’ data hack, wants $200M to fix system: “Illinois risks a ‘catastrophic’ security breach of highly confidential personal data on millions of residents unless it soon upgrades outmoded computer systems based on 1980s technology, according to a report from newly installed Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias that takes a hard look at the status of Common Business Oriented Language, or COBOL, systems his office now uses to store and process Illinoisans’ data, including their home addresses, vehicle registrations, Social Security numbers and organ donor information,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.



Paul Vallas’ and Brandon Johnson’s 100-day plans for Chicago: More beat cops vs. ‘Treatment Not Trauma’: “Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson reconvened for a Wednesday evening debate hosted by WFLD-Ch. 32 in which they each laid out their goals for their first 100 days in office,” by the Chicago Tribune.

‘Now is the time’ for new mayor, General Assembly to avoid $600M CPS deficit, Board of Ed says: “In an urgent plea in their last public meeting before the April 4 mayoral runoff, Chicago Public Schools officials and Board of Education members on Wednesday called on the next mayor to secure more state funding for the city’s schools and fix structural funding problems as an impending deficit of more than half-billion-dollars looms over the shrinking district,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

 Quinn endorses Vallas over Johnson in April 4 mayoral runoff: “Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn backed U.S. Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia in the first round of voting, but Garcia finished fourth. Wednesday, Quinn reunited with Paul Vallas, his 2014 running mate for lieutenant governor,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Arne Duncan endorses Paul Vallas for mayor: “Arne Duncan, the former U.S. secretary of education and Chicago Public Schools chief, says Vallas is in a better position to reform the Chicago Police Department than his opponent, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Fifth Ward voters overwhelmingly support Obama Center CBA to prevent displacement, but the 2 aldermanic candidates differ in their support: “Voters in the 5th Ward overwhelmingly support the implementation of a community benefits agreement (CBA) for parts of South Shore that will be affected by the construction of the Obama Presidential Center, but the two aldermanic candidates differ in how much of the CBA’s policy demands they support. One of the candidates, community organizer Desmon Yancy, fully supports the demands of the coalition calling for a CBA, while Tina Hone, former chief engagement officer for the city of Chicago, disagrees with some of the demands,” by The Daily Line.


Beltway Briefing: What’s Next for the Banks and Ronald vs. Donald

In what was a textbook case of classic bank runs, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapsed with astounding speed last weekend.

Are these failures the legacies of poor practices specific to these banks, or did aggressive interest-rate hikes and poor bank supervision cause their downfall?  Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, and Towner French break it all down and debate the current makeup of the Republican presidential field.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: The Politics of Moderation

  • President Biden is taking actions to move towards the center of the electorate as he prepares a re-election bid. Underlying this move is a desire to be a palatable alternative to MAGA Republicans as well as to embrace moderate and populist positions.
  • At the center of Biden’s move to the middle – and the top of the GOP’s list of policy priorities – is energy reform.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was seen as a rising star at the start of President Biden’s term, but recent controversies and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s own rise have taken some of his shine off.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


TikTok CEO Shou Chew testifies before Congress: “TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified Thursday before Congress as scrutiny mounts over the app’s ties to China, and potential national security risks stemming from it,” by CNN.


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