Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/16)

May 16, 2022

Public Health

  • Illinois Cases Likely to Continue Climbing, Officials Urge Caution: “In the last week alone, COVID cases in the state of Illinois have gone up by more than 40%, while hospitalizations have also begun a slow increase, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. ‘If you look at our rates, (and) if you look, for example, at the CDC maps, we are right up there with the east coast, ’ Dr. Sharon Welbel of Cook County Health says. ” NBC Chicago has more here.



Pritzker signs legislation to codify organized retail crime

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation aimed at curbing a rise in coordinated retail thefts.

House Bill 1091, known as the INFORM Act, defines “Organized Retail Crime ” as a specific criminal charge and provides prosecutors with additional resources to hold perpetrators accountable.

Those who violate the crime by knowingly engaging with others in a theft valued at $300 or more would be guilty of a Class 3 felony. Those who engage in retail theft from one or more establishments would be guilty of a Class 2 felony.

The bill additionally expands the abilities of state ’s attorneys prosecuting organized retail crime by allowing them to prosecute all aspects of such an offense – even if portions of the robbery took place outside their jurisdiction. Finally, it requires online marketplaces, like eBay, to independently verify the identity of “high-volume third-party ” sellers.

The INFORM Act will take effect on January 1, 2023.


Around the State



Lightfoot institutes citywide 10 p.m. curfew for youths following weekend violence

Following a violent weekend that saw a 16-year-old teenager fatally shot in Millennium Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans to move the city ’s existing weekend curfew for minors up an hour, to 10 p.m.

Lightfoot ’s plan bars unaccompanied minors from going to Millennium Park after 6 p.m. from Thursday through Sunday. Children are still allowed if they are with a “responsible ” adult, and the policy will be “strictly enforced and violations will be dealt with swiftly, ” Lightfoot said in a statement.

It ’s unclear when the new curfew window ends, Lightfoot only said the new mandate will continue “for the foreseeable future. ”


More from City Hall

  • New Chicago ward map survives last-minute drama to pass City Council: “Chicago ’s City Council has approved  new ward boundaries to govern politics for the next decade after waging a bitter fight over the new map for months. In a  43-7  vote on Monday, aldermen approved a new map, known as the Chicago United Map, that includes 17 Black-majority or -plurality wards, 14 Latino-majority wards and the city ’s first-ever Asian American-majority ward, which will be centered around Chinatown. Those opposing the deal were Alds. Brian Hopkins, 2nd; Anthony Beale, 9th; Ed Burke, 14th; Ray Lopez, 15th; Silvana Tabares, 23rd; Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th; and  Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th. That group, minus Vasquez, unsuccessfully attempted to block a vote Monday using a parliamentary tactic to delay a vote until the next City Council meeting, but were overruled by their colleagues. ” Crain ’s Chicago Business has more here.
  • Full candidate list for the City of Chicago for the June 28 primary: The Ward Map Referendum question is still included but will be removed after today ’s vote, presuming the compromise map receives the necessary 41 votes.  Removing the wording could delay the start of early voting by a day or two  at the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite at 191 N. Clark, according to the Chicago Board of Elections.
  • Given Chicago ’s organized crime history, how will regulators make sure new casino is on the up-and-up? All eyes will be on the Illinois Gaming Board, reports the Chicago Tribune.
  • Residents complained of oppressive heat at Rogers Park senior complex days before 3 women were found dead,  by the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • $28M O ’Hare concession agreement sails through committee with boosted minority participation: ‘We feel heard ’: “A $28 million, four-part agreement to bring new shops and restaurants to O ’Hare Airport cruised through a City Council committee on Friday as aldermen praised city aviation officials ’ efforts to make sure entrepreneurs of color get a substantial piece of the business. ” From The Daily Line.



Beltway Briefing: Can we reset?

The House panel investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol issued five subpoenas this week for members of Congress. Meanwhile, geopolitical risks and economic headwinds are rattling markets, stores nationwide are struggling to stock enough baby formula, and gas prices are setting records on an almost daily basis.

Public Strategies ’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, Kaitlyn Martin, and Tristan Breaux discuss the current developments and the country ’s increased polarization along political and ideological lines, and ponder what it would take to bring the country back together and restore our confidence in government.


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