Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (8/19)

August 19, 2022


Public Health Officials Announce 25,084 New Cases of Coronavirus Disease Over the Past Week, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois health department urges schools to watch for monkeypox; COVID-19 measures pulled back, by The Chicago Tribune.

CPS still wants mandatory COVID-19 shots for kids but can’t require them unless state OKs that: “Illinois requires K-12 students to provide proof of vaccination against a dozen diseases but not the coronavirus,” The Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Chicago expands monkeypox vaccine access, OKs second doses as supply grows, by The Chicago Tribune.


Gov. Pritzker expands Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program 

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced Thursday $15 million for the second round of Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

Roughly $8 million of funding will be used to increase training opportunities in the construction industry and building trades for diverse groups not represented in current programming through a targeted and competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The other approximately $7 million will provide contract extensions to current grantees who have excelled in their trade.

The Illinois Works Jobs Program Act, signed into law in 2019, and the Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program, launched in 2021, are designed to promote diversity and inclusion and increase access to apprenticeship programs.

Participants of the program attend tuition-free and receive a stipend and other supportive, barrier reduction services to help enter the construction industry. Upon completion of the program, pre-apprentices receive industry aligned certifications to prepare and qualify them to continue to a registered apprenticeship program in one of the trades.


Gov. Pritzker and Illinois State Board of Education Announce $54 Million Increase in Early Childhood Education Funding: “Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced the allocation of a $54 million increase in funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant as authorized by the Governor in the FY2023 state budget,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Pritzker releases debate schedules; Teresi touts background in race vs. Mendoza: “Gov. JB Pritzker released a pair of scheduled debates Thursday [Oct. 4 and Oct. 18] while Bailey remains undecided about his debate schedule. And McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi said she is more qualified to manage the state’s finances than Comptroller Susana Mendoza,” by The Daily Line.

Statewide Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop, Payroll Jobs Up in July: “The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 4.4 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +31,200 in July, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Democrats unified by distaste for Republicans’ ‘extremist’ rhetoric: “Less than a month after the party elected Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) as state party chair, incumbent Democrats and candidates for offices up and down the ballot gathered for the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association breakfast in Springfield to rally support for candidates that support gun restrictions, pro-abortion policies and accept election results,” by The Daily Line.

Illinois State Police confiscate over 1,000 illegal guns over 46-day stretch: “During a 46-day stretch from mid-June to the end of July, Illinois State Police confiscated more than 1,000 illegally owned guns,” by Fox 32 Chicago.

Several Republican candidates for Cook County office booted or withdraw from November ballot:
“After the Cook County GOP put up one of its biggest slates in years for positions in the November election, seven candidates have either been knocked off the ballot or withdrew on their own,” by The Chicago Tribune.


Rating upgrades for O’Hare International Airport

In a set of ratings from S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s General Airport Revenue Bonds (GARB) rating and Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) long-term rating were both upgraded from A to A+ Mayor Lightfoot announced Thursday.

This is the first time S&P and Fitch have given rating upgrades to O’Hare in six to seven years – since 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The rating upgrade is due to a number of factors, including air traffic recovery reaching about 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with indications that traffic recovery will continue to improve.

Additionally, the upgrade comes as Terminal 5’s $1 billion redevelopment nears completion. The project will open in phases ten new gates and create about 25% of the total expected capacity expansion of the airport capital plan.

O’Hare has also significantly improved its financial metrics since 2015. Debt service coverage has increased from 1.08x in 2015 to 1.36x in 2022. Liquidity has improved from 167 days in 2015 to 476 days in 2022.

“Today’s news from the rating agencies is further evidence of our ability to deliver new airport development and the jobs and contracting opportunities that come with it, as O’Hare turns its eyes to a complete revamp of its terminals in O’Hare 21,” Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement.


Ethics Board Clears Lightfoot’s Use of City Vehicles, Aides, Security Detail on Campaign Trail: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot can travel to campaign events in her city vehicle accompanied by an aide and her security detail — all paid for by taxpayers — without violating the city’s ethics ordinance, the Chicago Board of Ethics determined,” by WTTW.

After legal scrapes and guilty pleas, ex-Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno says he wants another shot at City Council: “Former Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno — who last summer pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and giving a false report to authorities — says he plans to throw his hat in the ring and run again for City Council,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Aldermen spent $816K on police surveillance technology in first five months of 2022: “Aldermen during the first five months of this year spent $816,100 in discretionary funds meant for street infrastructure on police surveillance cameras and license plate reader technology,” by The Daily Line.

Witzburg nominates new deputy inspector general for public safety; Plan Commission approves Esperanza Health Centers expansion: “Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg announced her pick to fill the position of Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety. And the Chicago Plan Commission approved a health center expansion in Brighton Park and a car wash in Chatham,” by The Daily Line.

Mayor Lightfoot Releases First Bi-Annual Gender-Based Violence Progress Report: “This report demonstrates significant progress toward strategies and goals outlined in the City’s first-ever citywide strategic plan to address gender-based violence,” from The Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Chicago Air and Water Show 2022: Lineup, schedule, transportation and where to watch the US Navy Blue Angels: “More than 60 years later, organizers expect about 2 million people at lakefront beaches to watch aerobatic feats in the sky and simulated rescue operations in the water at the first full show since 2019,” by The Chicago Tribune.


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