Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/19)

May 19, 2023


Gun industry accountability bill passes General Assembly, heads to governor’s desk

Legislation that would increase the accountability of the gun industry regarding illegal sales and marketing strategies passed the Senate Thursday, a week after the House also approved the proposal, and is now headed to the governor’s desk. Gov. JB Pritzker has said he will sign the bill into law.

The Firearm Industry Responsibility Act (HB 218) would allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers that advertise or sell firearms to individuals below the legal age of 18 or to illegal “paramilitary or private militia.” The bill would allow lawsuits filed by individuals as well as by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

“Gun violence is a public health epidemic, and those who encourage unlawful use of a firearm or target sales of firearms to minors worsen the scourge of gun violence in our communities. This legislation finally protects Illinoisans from predatory actions by the firearms industry,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly and other opponents claim HB 218 is unconstitutional, saying the bill is too vague and violates federal statute.


General Assembly approves south suburban airport bill: “Hopes for an airport near Peotone in Will County got a big boost Wednesday night as the Illinois State Senate approved a bill that requires the Illinois Department of Transportation to solicit proposed designs from developers. HB 2531 passed the Senate by a 33-20 vote after clearing the House by a 72-40 margin earlier this session,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Tax breaks for Bears punted to state legislature’s fall veto session: “A legislative proposal to help the Bears pay for a new stadium and entertainment complex in Arlington Heights got its first hearing, but final action is still a ways away,” by WBEZ.

Democratic dissension over spending priorities to push state budget talks past deadline: “Illinois lawmakers will miss a self-imposed Friday deadline for approving a state budget amid dissension among Democrats, who control the governor’s office and both legislative chambers, over how to balance the ballooning cost of a health care program for immigrants with other party priorities,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Immigrants, advocates push for expansion of state’s affordable health care program: “Illinois has provided public insurance to noncitizens for since 2020, when the state became the first to provide coverage for noncitizens age 65 and older. In 2022, the state expanded that access to noncitizens age 42 and older. Illinois legislators hammering out the state budget could expand affordable health care access to noncitizens ages 19 to 41,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bill That Would Make School Meals Free For All in Illinois Passes House, Senate: “The ‘Healthy School Meals For All’ legislation would provide state funding to Illinois schools to improve their offerings of healthy meals, while maximizing use of an existing federal program,” by NBC 5 Chicago.



Mayor Johnson Appoints Garien Gatewood as First-Ever Deputy Mayor of Community Safety: “Today, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Garien Gatewood will serve as the City of Chicago’s Deputy Mayor of Community Safety. As the first-ever Deputy Mayor of Community Safety, Gatewood will lead cross-government efforts to eradicate the root causes of crime and violence, and advance a comprehensive, healing-centered approach to public safety,” from the Office of Mayor Johnson.

City to partner with federal government on efforts to shelter homeless individuals, enact policy to alleviate homelessness: “Mayor Brandon Johnson, Deputy Mayor of Education, Youth, & Human Services Jennifer Johnson, the city’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and an organization called All Chicago Making Homelessness History announced a partnership with the Biden administration and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) Thursday. The city and the federal entities will be participating together in an initiative called ALL INside that addresses the needs of the unsheltered homeless,” by The Daily Line.

Plan Commission approves Red Line extension development plan, Sterling Bay mixed-use development proposal: The Chicago Plan Commission held an in-person meeting for the first time in about three years Thursday and approved guiding plans for the South Side Red Line train extension and the 18th and Peoria Development. The plan commission also approved a proposal for mixed-use development to be built in the Fulton Market Innovation District,” by The Daily Line.

Johnson administration distances itself from $12 billion tax plan co-written by transition team member: “Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration on Wednesday distanced itself from a new proposal to raise up to $12 billion in annual revenue — enough to provide property tax and pension relief, free CTA service and child care — by taxing ‘income’ and ‘wealth,’ making big business pay more and dramatically reducing police spending,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicagoans reject Illinois lawmakers revised draft map for elected school board: “Chicagoans lambasted Illinois lawmakers for failing to better represent public school families, which are mostly Latino, in a revised draft map for the city’s soon-to-be-elected school board,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Johnson aide hints mayor may roll back Lightfoot’s pension executive order: “A senior aide suggested the new administration may undo two key executive orders Lightfoot signed on her way out the door and a Johnson ally had some choice words about the former mayor,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

More respite centers in Hispanic neighborhoods key to reducing migrant crisis tensions in Chicago, mayor’s floor leader says: “Historic political tensions between Black and Latino residents rekindled by Chicago’s migrant crisis can be eased by creating more respite centers in Latino neighborhoods, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s City Council floor leader said Thursday,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


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.

Cozen Currents: No News is Good News

  • With the standoff over raising the debt ceiling, Washington, DC is asserting its prerogative to be the center of the universe. All eyes are on whether policymakers can once again raise the debt ceiling or if this time really is different.
  • The expiration of Title 42 authority under the Covid-19 public health emergency late last week means that immigration is poised to become a more prominent issue going into the 2024 election.
  • The first two years of President Biden’s term saw the use of generous tax incentives to address climate change. The latter two years will see more stringent regulations added to the mix.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


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