Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (9/23)

September 23, 2022


COVID update: Illinois reports 5,277 new cases, 11 new deaths, by ABC 7 Chicago.

Is The COVID Pandemic ‘Over,’ as Biden Says? Chicago Experts Weigh In, by NBC 5 Chicago.


U.S. Department of Labor awards Illinois $6.8 million grant

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded Illinois a $6.8 million equity grant to improve and address equity gaps within the state’s unemployment insurance system.

The grant money, made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, will fund four equity projects at IDES aimed at making state resources more accessible to underrepresented groups and streamlining the employment insurance process.

To date, Illinois is among 27 other states and the District of Columbia who have been awarded more than $150 million in equity grants aimed at expanding outreach, improving technology, increasing staffing, and addressing other accessibility issues in marginalized communities.


Illinois Awarded $6.8 Million Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor: “The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today Illinois has been awarded a $6.8 million equity grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The grant will allow IDES to better understand and address equity gaps within the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system,” from IDES.

State Sen. Emil Jones III gives up leadership posts after federal bribery charges — but not his Senate seat: “The walls closed in a bit further on Jones Wednesday as the freshly charged Far South Side state senator gave up his committee chair and vice chair posts, plus his position as a deputy Democratic majority leader, at the request of Senate President Don Harmon,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois Supreme Court denies former lawmakers’ claim for back pay: “The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by two former state legislators who sued for back pay they believed they were due for raises that they voted against while in office,” by Capitol News Illinois.

Bailey takes warnings about crime to the suburbs in message Dems call ‘fearmongering’: “An internal poll conducted by Bailey’s campaign and reported by FOX-32 found 25 percent of voters believe taxes are the most important issue this fall, while 17 percent said crime. Bailey said he’s making crime his priority because it affects other issues,” by The Daily Line.

Arlington Heights rejects petition to prevent tax incentives for proposed Chicago Bears stadium — but the measure could come back: “Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for the Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers,” by The Chicago Tribune.


City Council passes Bodily Autonomy Ordinance

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council passed the Bodily Autonomy Sanctuary City Ordinance, making permanent a July executive order from Mayor Lightfoot forbidding city agencies, including the Chicago Police Department, from cooperating with other states investigating abortion providers and those seeking abortion access.

Championed by Ald. Rosanna Rodriguez-Sanchez (33), the ordinance (O2022-2486) makes Chicago a ‘sanctuary city’ for those seeking abortion care, gender-affirming care, and other reproductive care.

“Through this ordinance, the City has codified its commitment to defending people’s fundamental, reproductive healthcare rights,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This effort will […] further make Chicago a safe haven for those seeking reproductive care.”

In coordination with the ordinance, Mayor Lightfoot also allocated $500,000 to assist those seeking abortions from out-of-state, providing funds for lodging, transportation, and follow-up care to the individuals who qualify.

Following the near-total abortion ban that took effect in Indiana Thursday, an already-overwhelmed Illinois is now an island of abortion access for people throughout the Midwest and South.

Mayor Lightfoot introduces ordinance to make outdoor dining permanent in Chicago 

On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed an ordinance (O2022-2980) to permanently implement the Expanded Outdoor Dining (EOD) Program in Chicago.

The EOD program was initially enacted to create a safe space for restaurant/bar patrons during the pandemic but is now seen as a way to both support the City’s restaurant community as well as create a larger and safer dining space in these establishments for half of the year.

If the Council approves the new program, the city’s Transportation Department will allow restaurants with an “outdoor dining street permit” to set up extra tables in curb lanes from May through October.


City Council approves Fire’s training center on Near West Side: “Mayoral allies regrouped Wednesday and won City Council passage of a zoning change that allows the Chicago Fire soccer club to build an $80 million training center. The vote was lopsided on a plan Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed but came after an impassioned debate,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Most aldermen will get a 9.6% raise next year. Some are calling for new limits to City Council pay: “With some Chicago aldermen set to receive raises next year of nearly 10% — and with the local election looming in February — three council members are floating proposals to rein in the inflation-tied pay hikes,” by The Chicago Tribune.

City Council Delays Vote On Controversial Push To Expand Private Lot Booting: “City Council delayed a vote Wednesday on a controversial plan that would allow companies to boot cars in private parking lots citywide,” by Block Club Chicago.

Chicago’s new weapon against climate change: A requirement that new homes be ready for easy installation of electric appliances: “Under the new 2022 Energy Transformation Code, passed Wednesday, newly constructed residences will have to be wired and ready for large electric appliances, sparing homeowners, tenants and landlords the headache of running additional wires and adding outlets,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Too late to hit brakes on NASCAR, but Reilly moves to curb future special events: “Among other things, the ordinance would require a City Council order for any athletic event or special event that allows the closure of a state route, an arterial street or more than four blocks of any other public way,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Invest South/West program remains mostly a vision, without a single project under construction after three years: “The mayor’s signature economic development initiative has promised unprecedented public funds for blighted corridors. But without a project under construction after three years, it has yet to prove it’s the cure for disinvestment,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Cozen Currents: Are Democrats Overplaying Their Hand?

  • For all the focus on the culture wars in the midterms this year, politicians in close races are spending most of their time focused on the economy, likely making it the decisive electoral factor.
  • Democrats are playing with democratic fire as they have sought to boost their chances in the general election by supporting MAGA GOP candidates in the primaries.
  • President Biden talks a big game about being “the most pro-union president in history,” but converting that rhetoric into reality isn’t simple.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.


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