Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/8)

March 8, 2023


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



Business groups want changes to state’s unique biometric privacy law as they fear growing lawsuits will hurt state’s business climate: “Information Act (BIPA) grows, business groups are calling on lawmakers to change and clarify portions of the law to reduce the billion-dollar penalties piling up against companies operating in Illinois. Business groups held a news conference in Springfield Thursday to plead with lawmakers to make changes to the law they believe is being ‘misused’ and ‘threatening the viability of companies,’” by The Daily Line.

Pritzker Administration Announces Transformation Initiative for State-Operated Developmental Centers: “Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today announced a critical transformation initiative that will reshape the way the State approaches care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD),” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

More than 50 Recipients Selected to Receive Energy Transition Community Grants: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Tuesday announced more than 50 localities and municipal entities will receive Energy Transition Community Grants – an initiative under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) that provides funding for communities that have been impacted by fossil fuel plant or coal mine closures or significant reductions,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

State witness protection program finally gets millions in funding, but has yet to get off the ground: “For the second year in a row, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing the state spend tens of millions of dollars on a witness protection program that went unfunded for the first nine years of its existence. Eight months since the long-neglected initiative secured its initial funding, however, no witnesses have been relocated, and only about $67,500 of the $30 million approved by the General Assembly last spring has been spent, primarily on employee-related expenses,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois Supreme Court takes up accelerated appeal of ruling that struck down state ban on high-powered guns: “The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to an accelerated hearing schedule for the state’s appeal of a downstate judge’s ruling that struck down a state ban on certain high-powered semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Lawmakers considering proposals to bring back parole for people with long prison sentences: “Few people in Illinois’ prison system are eligible for parole since the state abolished the system over 40 years ago. But a pair of bills (HB2045 and HB3373) passed by the House Judiciary- Criminal Committee Tuesday could bring parole back for some prisoners sentenced to long prison sentences,” by The Daily Line.


Vallas rakes in big contributions from business community, wealthy campaign donors

Following mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’ self-donation of $100,100 last week, which busted the limit on campaign contributions, large checks from the business community and its wealthy donors are now pouring in.

Vallas raked in over $1.3 million in new cash reported Tuesday, including $500,000 from private equity exec Craig Duchossois, a frequent donor to the Illinois Republican Party and GOP officials; $250,000 from DRW Holdings’ CEO Donald Wilson, and $100,000 from Kenneth Brody, a partner at the same firm; $200,000 from James Perry, a managing director at Madison Dearborn Partners; and $100,000 each from Citadel’s Gerald Beeson and Matthew Simon.

Mail-in ballots still being counted, runoffs unconfirmed for Alds. La Spata and Taliaferro 

Official election results are still unconfirmed in two aldermanic races involving Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29), who are both hoping to avoid runoffs in their respective races. Candidates need 50 percent plus 1 vote to avoid a runoff.

Mail-in ballots are still being counted, but as of Tuesday, Ald. La Spata has 50.1 percent of the vote – just 14 votes over the threshold to avoid a runoff against his closest trailing opponent Sam Royko.

Ald. Taliaferro has a similarly narrow lead of 50.27 percent over his two opponents, including challenger CB Johnson, who has garnered 40.2 percent of the total vote. Taliaferro, whose lead has dwindled since polls closed on Election Day, sits just 36 votes above the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright.

The Chicago Board of Elections must count all mail-in ballots received by March 14 as long as they are postmarked on or before Feb. 28.


NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago to Host First Runoff Election Forum With Vallas, Johnson: “For the first time since they secured spots in the April 4 runoff election, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson will meet in a televised forum hosted by NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago on Wednesday, March 8. The forum, which will take place at 6 p.m., will air on television on both stations, and will stream on NBC 5’s 24/7 Streaming Channel, along with,” by NBC 5 Chicago.

Toni Preckwinkle backs Brandon Johnson for Chicago mayor: “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle endorsed Brandon Johnson’s bid for Chicago mayor against Paul Vallas on Tuesday morning, describing Johnson as ‘the leader who reflects our vision, our values and our hopes for our city,’” by the Chicago Tribune.

Who Are Chicago’s Alderpeople Endorsing For Mayor?: “Some alderpeople had already thrown their hats behind Vallas or Johnson, while others are jumping on the bandwagon after backing one of the other seven candidates in round one of the election. Here’s a look at who is backing whom for Chicago’s next mayor,” by Block Club Chicago.

Johnson lines up big union endorsement for mayor: “SEIU Local 1, representing more than 45,000 working people, is poised to announce its backing of Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson Wednesday,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ordinance setting city’s special events stalls as downtown alderman says Lightfoot is trying to move Taste of Chicago out of Grant Park: “Ald. Brendan Reilly (42) told reporters Tuesday that Lightfoot’s administration did not talk to any of the local aldermen before deciding to move Taste of Chicago from its traditional location in Grant Park to Polk Bros Park, located adjacent to the western end of Navy Pier, and hold it during a time that would overlap with the NASCAR event scheduled for July 1-2,” by The Daily Line.


Beltway Briefing Special Edition: Chicago Mayoral Election

Last Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her re-election bid by failing to garner enough votes to make a runoff race. It was a stunning fall for a candidate who in 2019 had won all 50 of Chicago wards, becoming the city’s first Black woman mayor as well as its first openly gay mayor. It was also the first time in 40 years that the city didn’t elect a sitting mayor who sought re-election. Paul Vallas, a more moderate Democrat who had won the support of the city’s police union, and Brandon Johnson, a liberal county commissioner and teachers union organizer, secured the two spots to advance to April’s runoff election.

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ Chicago team members Pat Carey, John Dunn, and Sydney Holman breakdown the results of the mayoral election and the city’s shifting political dynamics, and discuss what we can expect in the runoff that will elect the 57th mayor of Chicago.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: The GOP’s Political Awokening

  • The GOP wants to say RIP to ESG as the fight against “woke capitalism” is prevalent in all corners of the Republican Party.
  • The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding structure, posing an existential threat to a core regulatory mechanism of progressive activism.
  • The House is shaping up to be an extremely close electoral battle in 2024. While much of the current attention is on the newfound power of the GOP’s Freedom Caucus, vulnerable moderate incumbents on both sides of the aisle are trying to differentiate themselves and build their own separate brand based on issues of outsized importance in the suburbs, such as taxes and crime.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


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