Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/25)

May 25, 2022


Pritzker signs legislation to expand mental health care access for children

Gov. JB Pritzker today signed two pieces of legislation intended to expand and improve access to children ’s mental health services, particularly for children in foster care.

Senate Bill 3889 forms a Children ’s Mental Health Council to research and recommend legislative action for children with mental and behavioral disabilities, particularly around residential placement needs.

House Bill 4306 amends the Children and Family Services Act to require all youth in foster care be assigned a mental health provider to perform well-being assessments and forms the Holistic Mental Health Care for Youth in Care Task Force.

More information is available here.

Around the State



$1.7 billion Chicago casino approved following fiery debate between Lightfoot, alderman

In a 41-7 vote, the Chicago City Council today approved a package authorizing a $1.7 billion casino and entertainment venue in River West.

While the ordinance sailed through committee, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and one of her most frequent critics – Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25) – got into a shouting match over the process, which the latter lambasted as a “sham. ”

Still, despite their sparring, the vote – the end of the mayor ’s long and winding effort to bring the matter before the City Council – paves the way for Bally ’s to bring a casino, five restaurants, and a 200-seat sports bar to Chicago.

The city is relying on tax revenue from the casino to shore up its beleaguered police and fire department pensions through a $40 million, one-time upfront payment – and an estimated $200 million annual benefit once the permanent casino is fully operational, likely by 2026.

The casino proposal now heads to the Illinois Gaming Board, which will further vet to the plan ’s investors, community support, and financial resources later this year.

Key Lightfoot ally Michael Scott to leave City Council for private sector; Mayor initiates replacement process

On Tuesday, Ald. Michael Scott (24) – a key ally of Mayor Lori Lightfoot – announced ( F2022-35) he would resign his seat on June 3.

“The ongoing challenges with public safety, the pace at which resources reach our community, and the pandemic has taken its toll, ” Scott wrote in his resignation letter. “I have personally worked extremely hard to address these issues, and at times at the detriment of my own family. And after much thought and consideration, I have made the difficult decision to resign from my elected role of Alderman. ”   After stepping down, Scott will move to a position at Chicago-based film company Cinespace, where he will see industry and community relations.

Following Scott ’s announcement, Lightfoot initiated the process to fill his seat. Interested candidates must have lived in the 24th ward for at least one year prior to their appointment, demonstrate their passion for public service, and most importantly, have “proven themselves to be someone who represents the 24th Ward community, ” according to a press release from the mayor ’s office.

Interested candidates are able to submit applications to or mail applications to City Hall care of the 24th Ward Vacancy Committee. Applications are due by June 7th, 2022 by 5:00 PM CT. Once applications close, the names and resumes of each applicant will be made publicly available, and a committee will begin reviewing each application thoroughly.

More from City Hall



Democrats continue to face uphill battle despite GOP ’s unforced errors

  • The 2022 midterm elections are so far unfolding as one would expect for a referendum on the party in control of power. But intra-party dynamics and the prevalence of Trumpism could leave Republicans making unforced errors in key races.
  • Sixteen months into Joe Biden ’s presidency, his biggest legislative accomplishment is the passage of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Implementation of the law is now in full swing. Funding is flowing and the Biden administration is developing rules promoting the president ’s labor and “Buy American ” priorities in infrastructure spending.
  • Whether or not Democrats can get a reconciliation package over the goal line this year, there are several meaningful tax provisions, some new and some extensions of ones set to expire, that still have a reasonable chance of passing on a bipartisan basis.   

Read the full briefing here.

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