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

May 5, 2023


IDPH Reports No Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19: “Data Reporting to Change at End of Public Health Emergencies on May 11,” from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Preckwinkle travels to Springfield, requests funding for asylum seekers 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle visited Springfield earlier this week to request additional state funds to pay for the health care costs of the increasing number of asylum seekers arriving in Illinois.

Preckwinkle asked for $1.8 million per month to run the Cook County Health system responsible for providing health care to the thousands of migrants who have relocated to Chicago in the last year. The funding would be in addition to the $1.8 million the county already contributes towards healthcare needs. The request, however, is separate from Mayor Lightfoot’s calls for additional housing and transportation funding.

The state had been paying an estimated $1.6 million a month for medical care, but those funds stopped in February. Preckwinkle said she is worried that the financial need will only increase with the May 11 expiration of Title 42, a Covid-era policy that tightened border regulations.

Preckwinkle and state legislators were not forthcoming on whether the request will be granted, but Preckwinkle described the conversation as “positive” and a spokesperson for Senate President Don Harmon labeled it a “friendly discussion.”


Senate votes to back Giannoulias’ plan to prevent libraries from banning books: “The Senate voted 39-19 to pass HB2789, which requires libraries wishing to be eligible for state grants to adopt standards from the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights that prohibits libraries from banning books for partisan reasons. The bill is an initiative of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias,” by The Daily Line.

Bears file paperwork to begin demolition of Arlington Park grandstand and other structures: “The Chicago Bears filed paperwork at Arlington Heights village hall Wednesday to begin the demolition of structures at Arlington Park, team officials confirmed,” by the Daily Herald.

Latest state budget forecast puts brakes on previously predicted surplus: “The state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has decreased its current-year budget forecast by $728 million, erasing much of a once-predicted surplus that had led Gov. JB Pritzker to float the idea of tax cuts earlier this spring,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $15 Million in Funding for Community Revitalization: “The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced $15 million in available grant funding to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts across the state,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.


South Shore residents oppose plan to turn former school into shelter for migrants

Chicago’s plan to house and care for the influx of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the city is facing backlash from city officials and residents.

South Shore residents expressed strong opposition to the city’s plan to house at least 250 migrants in the former South Shore High School building at a community meeting Thursday, reprimanding the city for not consulting with neighborhood residents and voicing worries about crime and a misuse of resources that could be invested on the South Side.

At the meeting, Ald. Michelle Harris (8) agreed with her residents, criticizing the city for coming to her on such short notice with the proposal.

The city is experiencing record numbers of migrants seeking shelter and other resources but facing funding shortfalls and lacking the space to adequately house and care for them. News that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott intends to resume busing migrants to the city has only increased tensions.

Earlier this week, Ald. Maria Hadden (49) proposed that the city house migrants in large central locations such as Navy Pier, McCormick Place, and shuttered big-box stores, claiming it would be easier and cheaper to provide housing and care. While Jason Lee, a senior advisor on Mayor-elect Johnson’s transition team, agreed with Hadden, McCormick place officials said they too lack the space and resources due to a constant slate of summer events and bookings.


City of Chicago & World Business Chicago Expand Cultural Showcase Pop-Up Strategy: “The City of Chicago and World Business Chicago (WBC) announced the expansion of the Cultural Showcase Pop-Up Strategy with two new retail experiences opening in June: C Ukraine and an International Showcase,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Park District Cut Ribbon on New Headquarters, Community Fieldhouse, and Park Coming Soon to the Brighton Park Neighborhood: “Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño, and local community leaders cut the ribbon on the new home of the Chicago Park District headquarters and a multi-purpose fieldhouse and green space for families in the Brighton Park, Gage Park, and Back of the Yards communities,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.


Beltway Briefing: Biden Announces Run for a Second Term

What a week it has been: on Wednesday, Public Strategies hosted a reception for Rodney Davis, officially welcoming the former five-term congressman representing Illinois’ 13th District to the firm. On Tuesday, after months of teasing and a lot of built-up anticipation, president Biden announced he will seek a second term in office, joined by Vice President Harris as his running mate. And on Monday, Fox News star host Tucker Carlson was abruptly fired.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin talk about Biden’s announcement and discuss the impact on the conservative media landscape of Carlson’s sudden departure.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.

Cozen Currents: Is 2024 Going to be Déjà Vu All Over Again?

  • President Biden launched his fourth and final campaign for president last week, this time as an incumbent. Biden’s MO is to prove the naysayers wrong while pointing out he’s the least worst option.
  • This year has seen former President Trump expand his lead over the rest of the field in the GOP presidential primary. But there’s still a lot of time left and there are still paths to victory for other candidates to exploit.
  • The Supreme Court has concluded oral arguments for its current term, which means that more decisions will be coming soon, including in high-profile cases on environmental regulation, online speech, redistricting, and social issues.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.


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