Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (5/8)

May 8, 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.



Ballooning cost of insuring undocumented immigrants complicating state budget negotiations: “The financial pressure is exposing tensions between Democrats’ open-arms stance on immigration and the limited resources available in a state that has only recently begun to stabilize its chronically shaky finances,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Senate advances ‘much better’ bill establishing new regulations for rideshares: “The Senate approved a controversial bill that has been the subject of an ad campaign by Uber that seeks to establish new regulation for rideshare companies. The Senate voted 39-17 on Thursday to pass HB2231, which removes language from state law that states ‘transportation network companies’ are not ‘common carriers.’ Though the bill has generated backlash from rideshare companies throughout the spring session, an amendment added in the Senate damped some of the controversy,” by The Daily Line.


Johnson announces new City Council committee organization plan 

One week before Brandon Johnson and the City Council’s newly-elected aldermen are set to be sworn in, the mayor-elect unveiled a new plan that would not only decrease the number of committees from a recently approved 28 to 20 but also reward his allies and campaign supporters with chairmanships on the Council’s most powerful committees, leaving numerous veteran aldermen without a post.

In March, the City Council approved a resolution to adopt new rules that bolstered their independence from the mayor’s office and expanded the number of committees from 19 to 28. The plan placed both supporters of Johnson and of his runoff challenger Paul Vallas as committee chairs.

Under Johnson’s new plan, Finance Committee Chairman Scott Waguespack (32) will be replaced by Ald. Pat Dowell (3), who led the Budget Committee for four years under the Lightfoot administration but was an early backer of Johnson in this year’s mayoral election. Ald. Jason Ervin (28), the chair of the Black Caucus and another Johnson supporter, will take over for Dowell as chair of the Budget Committee.

The City Council’s Democratic-Socialist Caucus Chair Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) has been selected as chair of the powerful Zoning Committee. Johnson’s “Unity Plan” also appoints Ald. Walter Burnett (27) as vice mayor, although Burnett will lose his chairmanship on the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.

A spokesman for the Johnson transition team declined to comment on the changes. A list of City Council committee chairs obtained by POLITICO can be found here.


Lightfoot’s development czar reflects on 4-year fight for balanced growth: “In a wide-ranging conversation last week, Samir Mayekar, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deputy for economic development, talked about his tenure at City Hall, what was accomplished despite the pandemic and wave of violent crime, and what he sees as the city’s greatest economic challenge,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

CPD plans to use increased police presence, bag checks and more ‘prisoner vans’ to deter summer violence downtown and along lakefront: “The city of Chicago’s plan to deter violence this summer and prevent a repeat of the chaos experienced in the Loop several weekends ago while the city experienced unseasonably warm weather includes a heavier police presence in Millennium Park, at the lakefront beaches and on CTA trains and buses,” by The Daily Line.

With Chicago set to move to an elected school board, new proposed map of 20 Board of Ed districts released: “The transition to an elected school board in Chicago moved a step closer to becoming a reality Friday, as the Democratic caucuses of the Illinois Senate and House released a draft of the boundaries for 20 districts in which voters will begin to elect school board members in 2024,” by the Chicago Tribune.

City giving two more LaSalle Street office-to-residential projects a look: “Lightfoot’s office Friday announced the city will evaluate revised proposals for apartment conversion projects at 30 N. LaSalle St. and 105 W. Adams St. as part of the planning department’s LaSalle Street Reimagined initiative. The program is meant to inject new life into the vacancy-ridden Loop corridor by offering subsidies to developers who will revamp outmoded office properties with apartments, as long as at least 30% of the new units created would be affordable to low- and medium-income residents,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Beltway Briefing: Muddled Picture of the Economy

High prices, rising interest rates, stubborn inflation, and banking uncertainty be damned: the U.S. labor market is still chugging along. Employers added 253,000 jobs in April, a higher-than-expected number that suggested the labor market remains strong despite the Fed’s continued campaign to fight inflation.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Rodney Davis, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin break down the latest jobs report and its impact on the overall economy. And, ahead of a looming June 1 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid the first default in U.S. history, they also discuss what the White House and lawmakers are doing to revive the stalled debt-limit negotiations.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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