Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/29)

March 29, 2023


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


Senate Democrats push bill to cap insulin price at $35 for all insurance plans

Illinois Senate Democrats are spearheading a measure to cap monthly insulin prices at $35 for 1.3 million Illinoisans who have diabetes and require the life-saving medication.

Sen. Laura Murphy’s bill (SB 1559) would ensure affordable prescription insulin costs for individuals on both state and private insurance plans. The measure looks to codify the $35 cap threshold major pharmaceutical corporations announced earlier this month and follows an ongoing push by some members of Congress and President Joe Biden’s administration to cap the drug price.

Similar efforts to cap insulin prices have been made in the state House – Rep. Will Guzzardi’s bill (HB 2189) unanimously passed the House floor last Thursday. Both bills would require the cap to take effect in 2025.


Secretary of state backs proposal allowing noncitizens to receive standard driver’s licenses: “The Illinois House advanced a measure last week that would allow noncitizen residents who are currently eligible for a ‘temporary visitor driver’s license’ to instead obtain a ‘standard’ driver’s license that can be used as identification,” by Capitol News Illinois.

House passes bill that could lead to Lake Michigan wind farm: “The House passed HB2132, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Evans (D-Chicago) on an 85-21 vote Friday. The bill establishes ‘an equity and inclusion plan’ for the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) to receive bids to build an offshore wind farm in Lake Michigan, though it’s not designated for a specific location. The project is billed as taking Lake Michigan’s manufacturing area from ‘the rust belt to the green belt,’” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Innovate Illinois: A Public-Private Partnership to Secure Federal Funding for Illinois: “Governor JB Pritzker, in partnership with P33,the Civic Committee, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, is launching Innovate Illinois, a diverse coalition of business leaders, higher education institutions, and elected officials to coordinate the state’s efforts to secure funding through the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


City selects three proposals for LaSalle Street corridor 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Tuesday announced the three proposals selected as finalists to receive financial support from the city through the LaSalle Street Reimagined initiative, which will create mixed-income apartments at 111 W. Monroe St., 135 S. LaSalle St., and 208 S. LaSalle St. in the Loop.

The initiative aims to “revitalize” the corridor through the redevelopment of vacant office spaces along the LaSalle Street corridor and the creation of neighborhood-oriented building amenities that contribute to a dynamic, mixed-use, downtown environment. The proposals were selected from nine developer responses to the City’s 2022 Invitation for Proposals (IFP) issued in September 2022.

The office-to-residential conversions will invest $550 million downtown and will bring more than 1,000 new apartments to the central business district, including 320 affordable units. The affordable units would be rented to people who earn an average of 60% of the area median income, or $50,040 for a two-person household, according to current federal rules.

The three winning developments have made public TIF requests totaling $188 million. The finalists will proceed to the next phase of the City’s standard review, underwriting, and approval processes, including evaluations by the Community Development Commission, Commission on Chicago Landmarks, and City Council, according to the news release.


Push to Make Chicago City Council More Independent Before New Mayor Takes Office Faces Key Vote: “An effort designed to make the Chicago City Council more independent of whoever is elected the city’s 57th mayor is set for a key vote Thursday, even though it is not clear whether supporters of the push can overcome opposition from two leading organizations championing government reform,” by WTTW.

Ald. Sophia King endorses Vallas, who holds edge in new poll: “Unsurprisingly, the Vallas campaign notes high up in its announcement that King is currently the chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus in an effort to undermine Brandon Johnson’s standing as the more progressive mayoral candidate. Vallas also holds an edge in the latest major poll in the race, released yesterday by Emerson College in conjunction with WGN and The Hill. According to the poll, Vallas leads Johnson 46% to 41% with 13% still undecided, a relatively significant number,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Lori Lightfoot did not OK an anti-Brandon Johnson mailer with her photo, campaign says: “The mailer, paid for by the Paul Vallas campaign, features a Lightfoot past tweet criticizing Johnson’s stance on policing,” by WBEZ.

In race for mayor, Paul Vallas’ and Brandon Johnson’s campaign donors are as different as the candidates: “Vallas, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO, has been the clear winner so far in the fundraising game, receiving just under $11 million to the $5.8 million that has gone to Johnson, the Cook County commissioner and organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Dunne, Villegas campaigns using red boxes as apparent signal to outside spenders: “Joe Dunne, an affordable housing developer competing in the 48th Ward, and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36), who is defending his City Council seat in the April runoff, both have red boxes on their websites to highlight approved ad messaging to independent political action committees, a strategy that — while not explicitly banned in Illinois — some election experts say essentially skirts legal prohibitions on coordination between campaigns and outside PACs,” by The Daily Line.

CPD seeks to bring back former employees, lure officers from other law enforcement agencies with new hiring programs: “The new programs became effective immediately with applications already open and come at a time when police departments across the country, including in Chicago, are struggling to fill vacancies at the same rate as officers are retiring from and leaving departments. Both CPD and the Fraternal Order of Police came to an agreement on the new programs,” by The Daily Line.


Beltway Briefing: A Looming Indictment and a Potential Ban

With the 2024 presidential election inching closer, the looming potential indictment of the former President dominated the news last week, alongside discussions of a potential TikTok ban.

Public Strategies’ Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin highlight the complexity of the legal calculations being made by prosecutors in New York, Georgia, and DOJ as they examine Trump’s conduct on several fronts, and discuss a Senate bill that would give Commerce Department the ability to review and potentially ban technologies associated with foreign governments, as TikTok faces increased congressional scrutiny.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: The Banking Crisis: What Happens Next?

  • As the dust settles on the most serious banking crisis since 2008, lawmakers and regulators are eying the policies, as well as the politics, necessary to restore stability to the banking system.
  • Whether or not the crypto market collapse was one of the sparks that set off the banking crisis can be debated, but it will not change the reinforced caution with which President Biden’s regulators now view the asset class.
  • If you thought the banking crisis would be a moment of clarity for the debt ceiling, think again. It has reinforced the divide on both sides of the aisle. But when the debt ceiling becomes a full-blown crisis for markets and other policy priorities, dynamics are likely to change.

Read the Cozen Currents here.


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