Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (4/24)

April 24, 2023

PUBLIC HEALTH 

IDPH Reports 2 Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

City told to reinstate employees fired over COVID-19 vaccination requirement, by the Chicago Tribune.

ILLINOIS

AROUND THE STATE 

Gov. Pritzker Announces $16 Million in Funding for Climate Works Pre-Apprenticeship, Barrier Reduction Programs: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Friday launched $10 million in funding for the Climate Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program and $6 million for the Energy Transition Barrier Reduction Program as part of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA),” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Mayors from communities of all sizes call on lawmakers to boost funding for local governments: “Mayors from around the state descended on Springfield last week to call on state lawmakers to restore funding for the Local Government Distributive Fund to 10 percent of the state’s total income tax revenue — a level it has not been at in over a decade,” by The Daily Line.

New Bill Aims to Jump-Start Bears Stadium Negotiations: “One of the key elements of the bill is a $3 per person admission tax on all entertainment and sporting events within what the bill calls the Arlington Megaproject to help pay down debt related to the renovation of Soldier Field,” by WTTW.

CHICAGO

Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson names chief of staff, deputy chief of staff

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on Thursday announced City Hall veteran Richard Guidice as his chief of staff and state Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as first deputy chief of staff.

Guidice has worked directly under three Chicago mayors and currently serves as executive director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), where he oversees the city’s emergency response measures, the 911 call center, and the traffic management system.

Johnson’s decision to tap Guidice sends a signal of stability and reassurance to Chicago’s political establishment and business community, who feared a progressive shake-up in City Hall. Guidice had announced his retirement from OEMC on April 6 but changed his mind after meeting with Johnson’s team.

Sen. Pacione-Zayas, whose 20th state Senate District includes parts of the Bucktown, Logan Square, and Avondale neighborhoods, was appointed in December 2020 to fill the seat vacated by Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez and elected to a full term last November. She previously led Erikson Institute’s Policy and Leadership Department and was board secretary of the State Board of Education.

MORE FROM CITY HALL 

City of Chicago Commits $42M to Municipal Fleet Electrification Initiative, Chicago Electric: “The gathering of City employees marks the launch of Chicago Electric, a new initiative in line with goals laid out in the City of Chicago’s 2022 Climate Action Plan (CAP) to transition 100% of the City’s municipal fleet to electric vehicles or zero-emission alternatives by 2035,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Vallas sues consultant who allegedly defrauded campaign out of $680,000: “Chimaobi Enyia, hired to get out the vote in Black communities, is accused of being paid for work he refused to give an accounting of or return the money when confronted by mayoral candidate Paul Vallas,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Aldermen call for hearings on water bills costing some Chicagoans thousands of dollars and ‘a lot of stress:’ “Two aldermen are calling on the city’s Department of Finance and Department of Water Management to attend a City Council hearing on water bills that are costing thousands of Chicagoans ‘money and a lot of stress.’ The proposal (R2023-672) sponsored by Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) cites the ‘distress’ caused by ‘unreasonable and inexplicable water bills for residents who have no plumbing issues or excessive water use’ as part of the need to hold a hearing on the city’s water billing,” by The Daily Line.

Plan Commission approves Metra’s proposed renovations, ADA improvements for Van Buren station: “The Chicago Plan Commission met for more than five hours Thursday for its final meeting under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. During their meeting, commissioners approved a proposal from Metra to renovate the Van Buren commuter rail station just off Michigan Avenue near Grant Park. If approved by the City Council, changes to the station would include work on station waiting areas, expanded ADA access, an overhaul of a pedestrian tunnel, new shelters and platforms and improved access to Grant Park and the lakefront,” by The Daily Line.

FEDERAL 

Beltway Briefing: DeSantis v. Trump

Gov. DeSantis made a trip to Washington, DC this week in a bid to rally congressional support, but his trip was overshadowed by a parade of new endorsements of Donald Trump, including those from several Florida House Republicans. DeSantis is widely viewed as Trump’s chief competitor in next year’s GOP presidential primary.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin ponder if this week’s announcements underscore Trump’s enduring strength among Republicans and discuss President Biden’s likely announcement of his 2024 re-election bid next week and the possibility of a Trump-Biden rematch in 2024. And, as the federal government is expected to run out of cash as early as June, they also revisit the status of debt-ceiling negotiations.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

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