Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (7/15)

July 15, 2022


Public Health Officials Announce 33,066 New Cases of Coronavirus Disease Over the Past Week, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports. 

Chicago’s COVID risk returns to high: “The region’s COVID risk has fluctuated since May but a growing number of cases in suburban Cook County are pushing up hospitalizations,” by Crain’s Chicago Business. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker ends COVID vaccine mandates at colleges as he tweaks many statewide pandemic restrictions, The Chicago Tribune reports. 

Governor Pritzker Continues Effort to Ramp Down COVID-19 Requirements with Updated Executive Order: The updated executive order amends testing requirements for some unvaccinated health care employees and removes mandates for some other industries. From the Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Pritzker Administration Announces 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline to Strengthen Mental Health Support Across Illinois, from the Illinois Department of Human Services. 


Gov. Pritzker continues efforts to advance CEJA, names state’s first EV Coordinator 

​In 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly passed the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois (REV) Act, which builds on the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) to create jobs in clean energy, protect public health from pollution, prioritize underserved communities, and expand electric vehicle infrastructure in Illinois. 

Some notable goals of the program is the state’s plan to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and to have Illinois 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2050. 

In continuation with this effort, Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed on July 1 Megha Lakchaura as the state’s first Electric Vehicles Coordinator. Lakhchaura previously served as the Policy Director in North America for EVBox, an electric vehicle supply equipment company.

Additionally, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it will host a virtual public meeting July 28 to “provide information and get feedback on the development of the state’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure plan.” 


Unemployment Claims Continue to Reach Record Lows, Illinois Labor Market Strengthening: “The decrease in continued claims is a reflection of pandemic-related economic recovery and signals a strong Illinois labor market.” From the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

Illinois Continues Building Up “Rainy Day” Fund with $100 Million Deposit: “The improved Budget Stabilization Fund, now at $854 million, is one of the many steps towards financial responsibility that has resulted in six recent credit upgrades for the state.” From the Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

Illinois expands health care coverage for immigrant adults to include those aged 42 and up: “The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is expanding the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program to now provide health care coverage to undocumented immigrant adults and certain legal permanent residents aged 42 and over.” From the Office of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

They’re back: Fioretti, Peraica, Thielmann seek top Cook County spots on Republican ticket: “An increasingly thin presence in solidly Democratic Cook County, Republicans are regrouping and hoping to seize on a favorable political environment this year to win back some of the territory they’ve lost over the decades,” by The Daily Line.

Momentum building for assault rifle ban with 54 new sponsors since Highland Park shooting: “Momentum is growing among House Democrats to pass a bill that would ban sales of assault weapons and put restrictions on gun owners as lawmakers search for ways to prevent another mass shooting and reduce gun violence in the wake of the July 4 Highland Park shooting,” by The Daily Line. 

Illinois launches electric vehicle rebate program, offering up to $4K for EV purchase: “A new rebate program has opened to encourage Illinoisans to buy all-electric vehicles. Starting [July 1], anyone who buys an electric vehicle can apply for a $4,000 rebate from the state for their purchase,” by ABC 7 Chicago. 


Alderman Harry Osterman won’t seek re-election

In an announcement Friday, Ald. Osterman (48) shared that he has decided not to seek a 4th term as Alderman of the 48th Ward in next year’s municipal election. 

Ald. Osterman is the third Lightfoot ally to announce retirement from the Chicago City Council this year. 

Mayor Lightfoot unveils “We Will Chicago” plan to address structural inequality

Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled Thursday the long-awaited “We Will Chicago,” a community-driven plan designed to improve equity. 

The 10-year framework includes approximately 40 goals and 150 objectives across eight pillars and calls for improving the lives of Chicago residents — “especially those dealing with inequities in health, economic stability, neighborhood livability and other systemic issues.” The draft is Chicago’s first citywide plan in more than 50 years.

The proposal follows two years of stakeholder workshops and meetings with resident volunteers, community-based organizations, and city staff. 

While the framework “provides a foundation for long-lasting improvements,” it does not set firm plans for how to achieve any of these goals — or any benchmarks to measure progress towards achieving them.

The city’s public engagement period is open through November. Chicagoans can review the event calendar, download a copy of the plan, host their own conversations, and provide feedback at


Revised Proposal to Tighten Chicago’s Ethics Rules to Face Crucial Test Friday: “The Ethics and Government Oversight Committee is set to meet at 3 p.m. Friday to consider a reworked version of the proposal authored by Ald. Michele Smith, the panel’s chair, and backed by the Chicago Board of Ethics,” by WTTW. 

Public Safety committee to hear reports on OIG, COPA and consent decree: “Aldermen in the City Council’s public safety committee are scheduled to hear a slew of presentations Friday ranging from a 2021 public safety recap from the Inspector General to the fifth Independent Monitoring Report on the federal consent decree the police department has been under since 2019,” by The Daily Line. 

City Council to prod Lightfoot for release of full watchdog report on botched 2020 Hilco demolition: “A City Council committee is poised to send a shot across the bow to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration on Friday by formally calling for the release of a city watchdog’s full report on the lead-up and aftermath of a botched April 2020 demolition that blanketed a nearby neighborhood in dust,” by The Daily Line. 

No More After-Hours Bars In River North? Alderman Looks To Kill 5 AM Licenses As Area Struggles With Shootings: “Bar owners say they’re not to blame for shootings, pointing to crowds drinking on the streets and open-air drug deals on corners,” by Block Club Chicago. 


Cozen Currents: The Narrowing Legislative Window

  • Democrats all share the same goal of trying to maintain as many seats in Congress as possible, but how they should go about doing so depends on who you ask.
  • Meanwhile, Republicans are poised to retake power and are focusing on laying blame on the Biden administration while seeking to minimize their own unforced errors.
  • Amidst high inflation, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have both voted to increase authorized military spending beyond the level President Biden requested, a sign that rising prices may lead to a bigger boost in appropriations.

Read the full update here


Biden, under pressure from own party, fires back as 2024 questions persist: “A new poll, his age, the economy and abortion rights have him on the defensive,” by ABC 7 News. 

Jan. 6 panel considers holding hearings beyond next week: “Members of the panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have discussed adding witnesses, but they didn’t reveal whether they’ll seek testimony from Trump and Pence,” by Crain’s Chicago Business. 



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