Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/15)

May 15, 2023



Proposal would bar public officials convicted of felonies, bribery, from holding office again: “An incumbent public official could be prohibited from holding public office again under a proposal approved by the House Friday that aims to close a loophole in state law. The House voted unanimously to pass HB351 by Rep. Curtis Tarver (D-Chicago) that would prevent any elected official in a state or local office who commits ‘a felony, bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime’ while in office from holding any public office in the state again unless they are pardoned, have their conviction overturned or meet other rehabilitation criteria,” by The Daily Line.

Controversial scholarship program part of 2017 education reform set to expire if lawmakers don’t act: “Thousands of Illinois private school students could lose their scholarships if lawmakers don’t act to renew a controversial program that provides scholarships to help families afford private education.   The Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit program passed by state lawmakers in 2017 is set to expire at the end of the year and advocates in favor of the program have descended on the state capitol for months asking lawmakers to renew their support for the program that opponents call a voucher program,” by The Daily Line.

How Cook County Health is adapting to the end of COVID-19 emergency declarations: “While the public health emergencies allowed Medicaid members to maintain their coverage for the past three years, the expiration of the emergencies means members must renew their coverage with the state through redetermination. Redetermination will resume this month on a rolling basis and will take place through April 2024, according to a May 10 news release from Cook County Health,” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Four Appointments to Boards and Commissions, from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


Brandon Johnson sworn in as Chicago’s 57th mayor

Brandon Johnson was sworn in today as the City of Chicago’s 57th mayor. All 50 Chicago City Council aldermen, City Clerk Anna Valencia, and City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin were also sworn in at the University of Illinois at Chicago Credit 1 Arena.

In his inaugural speech, Johnson reiterated campaign promises to reinvest in disadvantaged communities and unite the city’s neighborhoods and communities by reopening shuttered mental health clinics, addressing violence and public safety, not raising property taxes, and boosting resources for homeless residents.

Later Monday, Johnson issued his first executive orders, establishing deputy mayors for community safety, labor relations, and for immigrant, migrant, and refugee rights. His other order aims to boost youth employment.


Migrant crisis ‘one of the most challenging’ problems facing Chicago’s new mayor, chief of staff says: “Rich Guidice, who spent nearly 20 years running the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said he has never seen an emergency quite like the thousands of asylum-seekers who have poured into Chicago since September, with scores more on the way,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Facing CPD remake, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson promises new approach, including adding police detectives: “When Johnson is sworn in as the city’s 57th mayor Monday, he inherits a Chicago Police Department in a swirl of transition. Along with his promise to add detectives, Johnson needs to choose a permanent CPD superintendent, and he has promised to eliminate controversial recent additions to the city’s police landscape, including the ShotSpotter system,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Brandon Johnson Commits to Reopening Chicago’s Public Mental Health Clinics Closed 11 Years Ago: “Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson committed to reopening the publicly run mental health clinics closed more than a decade ago by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an interview with WTTW News on Friday,” by WTTW.

Brandon Johnson names another key staffer: “Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson named Kenya K. Merritt as his deputy mayor of business and neighborhood development on Saturday,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Beltway Briefing: 2016 Redux?

President Biden, Speaker McCarthy, and other congressional leaders were scheduled to meet on Friday to talk about a possible deal to increase the borrowing limit and meet the GOP demand of reducing federal spending. But the meeting has been postponed until early next week. On Wednesday, in what was the first major television event of the 2024 presidential campaign, CNN hosted a prime-time town hall with Donald Trump, propelling a tsunami of criticism from inside and outside the network.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the debt-ceiling fight gripping Washington and the renewed questions about how the news media should handle the challenge of covering the Republican Party’s leading candidate going into the 2024 election.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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