Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/24)

May 24, 2023


Pritzker joins Senate President Harmon, Speaker Welch to announce agreement on FY24 budget 

Gov. JB Pritzker joined Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and Illinois Speaker of the House Chris Welch in the capitol this afternoon to announce that they have reached a deal on a “balanced budget.”

“I vowed to work with the General Assembly to bring fiscal sanity to Illinois while restoring a compassionate state government that invests in the things that build a stronger economy and future,” Pritzker said. “I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what this balanced budget does, for the fifth time in a row.”

According to the press release, the budget “prioritizes fiscal responsibility while making transformative investments in early childhood and higher education, public safety, workforce development, behavioral and mental health services, and more.” A fact sheet released by the governor’s office can be found here.

The Senate is set to vote on the budget later today so that the House can finalize a vote by Friday.


Lengthy to-do list greets lawmakers final week of session, part 2: “Lawmakers return to Springfield Wednesday for another try at wrapping up the spring session with a longer list of items on their plate for this week than when they arrived last Tuesday for what many thought would be the final week of session. The largest piece of legislation and biggest requirement for lawmakers to pass before adjourning for the spring is the state budget,” by The Daily Line.

Hundreds more Catholic clergy members abused children than dioceses previously revealed, according to Attorney General report: “Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a 696-page report Tuesday following a four-and-a-half years long investigation into sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy members. The report found 451 clergy members abused 1,997 children within the last 80 years. That’s 348 more confirmed abusers than the Church had previously publicly reported by the time the investigation started under former Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2018,” by The Daily Line.

Under pressure on ethics, Illinois lawmakers consider tightened rules on red-light camera industry: “Facing pressure to bolster state ethics laws following the recent federal bribery convictions of former top Commonwealth Edison executives and lobbyists, Illinois lawmakers have turned their attention to another branch of a sprawling corruption investigation: the red-light camera industry,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Forest Preserve board refers illegal dumping fine increase to committee, approves intergovernmental agreements on brownfield remediation, Des Plaines River Trail improvements: “The Board of Commissioners for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County approved two intergovernmental agreements Tuesday related to trail improvements and vacant site restoration and referred to committee several measures to increase fines and impose restitution costs for littering, pollution and illegal dumping,” by The Daily Line.

County board committees to discuss flavored nicotine retail ban, anti-discrimination measure for reproductive and gender-affirming care: “Two Cook County Board committees will hold hearings Wednesday on proposals to ban the sale of flavored nicotine products and to outlaw discrimination based on decisions about reproductive and gender-affirming care. Meetings begin at 9 a.m. in the board chambers on the fifth floor of the county building in downtown Chicago,” by The Daily Line.


City Council approves Johnson committee plan, $51 million for asylum seekers blocked

Thirteen newly-elected aldermen, along with three previously-appointed aldermen who won election for the first time and 34 incumbent aldermen, joined Mayor Brandon Johnson today as he presided over the first City Council meeting of the new term.

Aldermen voted 41-9 to approve Johnson’s proposed reorganization (R2023-759) of the City Council that would create 20 committees and reward his allies with chairmanships of the Council’s most powerful committees.

The vote faced resistance from eight aldermen who will likely make up the core of his opposition these next four years, including Alds. Raymond Lopez (15), Anthony Beale (9), Marty Quinn (13), David Moore (17), Silvana Tabares (23), Anthony Napolitano (41), Brendan Reilly (42) and Jim Gardiner (45). Ald. Scott Waguespack (32), who did not endorse a mayoral candidate but led the effort for more City Council independence, also voted no.

Moreover, a measure (SO2023-1605) to designate $51 million from the city’s 2021 surplus to mitigate the growing migrant crisis and to address the expected funding gap was blocked by Alds. Anthony Beale (9), Ray Lopez (15) and Anthony Napolitano (41), who used a parliamentary maneuver known as defer and publish to postpone a final vote on the fund transfer.

With the next City Council meeting set for May 31, the proposal will most likely come back for a vote next week.

Also introduced during the meeting was Johnson’s redesigned permanent outdoor dining program (O2023-2093), which would eliminate automatic annual renewals and require aldermanic approval.


Various Measures Introduced to and Approved by the Chicago City Council, from the Office of Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Mayor Johnson wants to expand Ald. Burnett’s role as his new vice mayor: “The post, which must be filled by a sitting alderman, has traditionally had no formal responsibility, other than to step in as acting mayor if the current one dies or is otherwise removed from office until a new mayor is appointed by the City Council from among its members. But in an effort to bring ‘city government to the people,’ the vice mayor position is being expanded to host community meetings across the city in coordination with the mayor’s Office of Community Engagement,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

State deploying 30 ‘peacekeepers’ in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend in effort to prevent violence through de-escalation: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration will be sending a newly created team of street outreach workers to Chicago neighborhoods during the Memorial Day weekend to help with the city’s violence prevention efforts,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Activists, aldermen call for citywide expansion of community policing initiative: “Community activists and aldermen are calling on Mayor Brandon Johnson to commit to expanding a community policing strategy that currently operates as a pilot program in select police districts to one that operates citywide,” by The Daily Line.


Cozen Currents: The Political Fiction of the Debt Ceiling

  • While the two sides remain far apart ideologically on a debt ceiling compromise, there is plenty of creativity that can be used to close the gap so both sides can claim a political victory.
  • Despite their differences, attendees at the G7 Summit portrayed a unified front on a range of issues, including China, support for Ukraine, and regulation of artificial intelligence.
  • A hearing last week illustrated that the consensus on stablecoins attained last Congress has been slowly dissolving as both sides develop their own regulatory schemes.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


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