Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (9/28)

September 28, 2022


COVID update: Illinois reports 1,584 new cases, 24 new deaths, by ABC 7 Chicago.


Democrats introduce new bill to clarify SAFE-T Act provisions

Sen. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) filed new proposed legislation in the Illinois Senate this week to clarify controversial provisions in the SAFE-T Act before it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

SB4228 makes a number of changes to the original bill, which are aimed at correcting misconceptions over the bill’s elimination of cash bail and changes to pretrial release.

Bennett’s bill would clarify that pretrial release applies to individuals arrested on or after Jan. 1, 2023 and would allow judges to deny release for any crime if they determine the individual poses a public safety threat.

In addition, the bill rewords the definition of “willful flight,” clarifying that individuals who fail to appear before court are considered to be purposefully evading prosecution. It also broadens the criteria that would disqualify an individual from pretrial release.

House Public Safety Working Group Head Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said the House would review Bennett’s bill.


Governor Pritzker Announces Significant Payment Toward Unemployment Insurance Loan: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will be making a significant payment of $450 million toward the remaining $1.8 billion borrowed under Title XII of the Social Security Act,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Advocates against gun violence want stronger laws, but gun rights advocates say gun laws aren’t solving the problem: “The House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force heard from gun control advocates as well as those who oppose restrictions on guns to lay out each side of the argument as lawmakers search for solutions to reduce gun violence in Illinois. It was an opportunity for supporters of gun rights to push back on arguments gun violence prevention advocates made in support of more restrictions,” by The Daily Line.

State Rep. Conroy and board member Hart face off Nov. 8 to be the new DuPage County Board chairman: “For the first time in more than a decade, the DuPage County Board will have a new chairman when voters choose between state Rep. Deb Conroy and current board member Greg Hart in the Nov. 8 general election,” by The Chicago Tribune.

Watch Cook County Board candidates debate Safe-T-Act, transported migrants, Bears in Arlington: “The Daily Herald interviewed candidates for Cook County Board districts that include the Northwest suburbs, for the purpose of coming endorsements ahead of voting in the Nov. 9 general election,” by The Daily Herald.

Cook County Board axes wheel tax. Drivers will start saving next summer: “The Cook County Board of Commissioners has eliminated the county’s wheel tax, a move that advocates and officials say helps taxpayers more than it hurts county coffers. The amendment to eliminate the tax from county code (22-5295) passed during the Sept. 22 county board meeting with 16 unanimous votes in its favor. One commissioner had an excused absence,” by The Daily Line.


34th ward race gearing up as candidates make large donations to their own campaigns

While the Chicago municipal election is still five months away, the city’s newly redrawn 34th ward race is already shaping up to be an expensive race.

A little over a week after filing paperwork Aug. 10, Bill Conway had already donated $50,000 of his own money to his campaign. Since then he has received an additional $89,000 in large donations of over $1,000, with much of that money coming from outside the city and outside the state.

In 2020, Conway challenged Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in the Democratic primary and despite putting more than $10 million into his election campaign, Conway lost to Foxx by over 19 points.

Conway’s opponent Jim Ascot filed his campaign fundraising paperwork Sept. 9. On Sept. 13, Ascot loaned his campaign $12,000; however, he has not reported any additional large donations of more than $1,000 since mid-September.

The 34th Ward – which is currently located on the city’s Far South Side and represented by indicted and retiring Ald. Carrie Austin (34) – will now be located just west of downtown according to the new map adopted by the City Council this past spring.


Car booting company has donated more than $11K to aldermen this year as measure to expand private booting citywide stalls: “Aldermen last week delayed a proposal to legalize private car booting citywide but the only private booting company in the city has spent more than $11,000 on donations to aldermen and their campaign committees,” by The Daily Line.

City will offer TIF dollars, other incentives to bring housing and businesses to LaSalle Street: “The initiative aims to ‘revitalize’ the downtown corridor by attracting new businesses, retooling storefronts and offering city incentives, including tax increment finance (TIF) funding through the LaSalle Central TIF District, for proposals that would build 30 percent of an expected 1,000 new housing units as affordable,” by The Daily Line.

Lightfoot touts planned culinary hub in Englewood, pushes back on claim that Invest South/West more talk than action: “A $14 million rebirth of a nearly century-old Englewood firehouse is proof that Invest South/West is delivering on its lofty promises, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Mayor Lightfoot Issues RFI to Bridge the Digital Divide in Chicago: “On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a Request for Information (RFI) to gather recommendations and ideas for how to provide affordable, quality, and reliable internet service options that meet the needs of communities most burdened by the digital divide. Through the RFI, the City seeks ideas for increasing broadband access and adoption in communities with low rates of internet adoption,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot. 

How many Chicagoans are back in the office?: “Chicago has reached a return-to-office level not seen since first-quarter 2020—even as capacity remains less than half of pre-pandemic levels. That’s according to data from real estate technology firm Kastle Systems, which analyzed building security card swipes and compared current figures to early 2020,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.


Cozen Currents: The Changing Politics of Crises

  • Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill face differing political calculations on climate change policy but both are experiencing divisions in their parties and shifting public opinions.
  • President Biden’s recent statement that the “pandemic is over” was far more than an off-the-cuff statement — it will have serious consequences for Democratic priorities.
  • In an era of acronyms like corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental and social governance (ESG), customers, employees, investors, and some voters expect corporations to play a part in tackling the crises of the moment. But speaking and acting out carries its own trade-offs for CEOs in a more fractured and politicized environment.

Read the full Cozen Currents article here.


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