TGIF, Illinois. And Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate and to others looking for a little light in this crazy year.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The joint Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has elected Rep. Sonya Harper as its new chair, following Sen. Kimberly Lightford‘s six-year stint.
“I’m super excited. This is a pivotal time with this robust agenda that we’re trying to pass and with so many things going on in the community we are speaking up for equity in all things,” she told Playbook. “There’s a lot on our plate but we have a wonderful team between the House and Senate and we’re dedicated to what needs to be done.”
Harper, a Chicago Democrat, defeated Rep. Carol Ammons for the leadership position.
Also elected to the joint Black Caucus leadership team: Sen. Emil Jones will be treasurer, newly elected Rep. Lakesia Collins is secretary, and Rep. Curtis Tarver II is sergeant-at-arms. All are Democrats.
Separately, the Senate Black Caucus elected Sen. Robert Peters as its chair.
The House Black Caucus will elect its new leadership Dec. 15. There is buzz that Rep. Kam Buckner could be part of the leadership team.
What’s clear is the joint caucus leadership is shifting away from the rough-and-tumble politics that Lightford and others battled as they came through the ranks.
“It’s a shift toward the future,” Harper explained. “It’s a younger board but it’s not going in a different direction. We’ll take what we’ve worked on and make it even better.”
Both caucuses are laser focused on passing the Black Agenda when they meet again in session come January. The omnibus package has four pillars that address criminal justice reform; education and workforce development; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.
Lightford has championed the agenda and will continue to do so. Harper, who chairs the Agriculture, and Economic Opportunity and Equity committees, will take a more pronounced role in working to get the Black Agenda passed.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is battling to hold on to his gavel, has said he would back the Black Caucus’ proposals. And that played a role in Harper and 20 other House Black Caucus members endorsing him to remain speaker.
“The House caucus decided to take a position and I’m part of it,” Harper said. “I’m right in there with my caucus.”
The speaker election happens Jan. 13.
Reps. Darin LaHood and Mike Bost joined 104 other Republicans trying to sway the Supreme Court into overturning President-elect Joe Biden’s victory — a wobbly last-ditch attempt to subvert voters, fuel conspiracy theories and help President Donald Trump.
The Illinois Republicans were enlisted to support a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who claims the Lone Star State suffered because four other battleground states expanded their mail-in voting practices during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement to Playbook, LaHood indulged the idea that the electoral process is flawed, saying: “I support President Trump’s right to make his case and I believe that the Supreme Court is the final venue to examine any election irregularities in full.”
The Texas lawsuit has created a flurry of interest and concern (and rage) as the Supreme Court now considers whether to allow Texas to sue.
The four states in question — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to reject the lawsuit, but Trump liked the idea so much he joined the lawsuit as well. “Texas is asking this Court to overturn the will of the people of Wisconsin — and the nation — based on meritless accusations of election fraud,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul wrote in a filing to the high court.
Seventeen states said they support Texas’ effort and six states actually joined the suit, yet another sign at how divided the country is.
In Illinois, the view is more blurred with some Republicans shaking their heads, wondering why LaHood and Bost, who both won their districts handily, would be more concerned about the far right than regular Republicans.
LaHood counts Trump as a friend and was a co-chair of Trump Victory Illinois along with Bost. Both lawmakers may have their finger in the wind, trying to gauge what Trump’s base wants.
Rep. Rodney Davis and retiring Rep. John Shimkus, who were also on the Trump Victory committee, did not sign the letter. And neither did Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who instead has criticized Trump on Twitter for creating doubt about the election process. “While you may not like the election result it doesn’t make the election fake,” he said in a video posted Thursday.
Meanwhile, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general to urge the Supreme Court to reject the Texas lawsuit, which he called “frivolous” and “unfounded.”
We can only look on and wait as coronavirus rages and the economy spirals.
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At the Thompson Center for the 2:30 p.m. Covid-19 update. Watch the update live
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 196 deaths and 11,101 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 13,861 fatalities and 823,531 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Dec. 3 through 9 is 9.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 12.9 percent.
— Vaccine approval moves forward: “A U.S. government advisory panel endorsed widespread use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Thursday, putting the country just one step away from launching an epic vaccination campaign against the outbreak that has killed close to 300,000 Americans. Shots could begin within days, depending on how quickly the Food and Drug Administration signs off, as expected, on the expert committee’s recommendation,” via the AP.
— Illinois shipment of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to come from Wisconsin: “Much of that shipment is being stored right across the Wisconsin border in Pleasant Prairie at a Pfizer facility. It’s a village with dozens of giant industrial warehouses, including cold storage facilities of the type needed to hold the vaccine at below freezing temperatures. And it’s also putting that tiny town just south of Kenosha on the map,” Reports WTTW’s Paris Schutz (with video).
— With vaccine on the way, IDPH chief says ‘finish line is in sight’: Illinois health officials have repeatedly warned against holding large holiday gatherings this season, but the time may be coming soon for residents to begin planning “end of pandemic” parties. While it will likely still be several months before the Covid-19 vaccine is widely available, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Thursday the ‘finish line is in sight,’” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— But the virus remains: How full are hospitals in Illinois? The Tribune has a list, by Joe Mahr and Jonathon Berlin
— AND D.C. IS A HOT MESS: ‘Get off our damn asses’: Stimulus debacle exposes broken Washington: “Congressional leaders are barely talking. Renegade centrists are trying to cut a deal that Republicans don’t like. And the president is predominantly focused on overturning an election that he lost. It’s the latest evidence Washington is broken: at the peak of the worst public health crisis in a century, the White House and Congress are struggling to deliver another round of relief. And time in the lame duck is quickly running out… It’s still two weeks before Christmas, plenty of time in congressional parlance to roll together a $1.4 trillion year-end spending bill with hundreds of billions more in Covid aid. Maybe, somehow the bipartisan group finds success and bridges partisan chasms on money for local governments and shielding businesses from litigation. Or perhaps party leaders come out of their shells and cobble together a deal at the last moment… Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a leader of those [bipartisan] talks, suggested Congress may need to punt disagreements on liability and local government aid until next year. POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris
‘Covid killed my stepfather, who followed the rules’: “Covid does not care about your best intentions. Or your risk assessments as you put on your amateur epidemiologist hat. Or your carefully laid out plans to ‘put family first’ with a large gathering,” writes the Sun-Times’ Steve Warmbir.
— National Guard to be sent to veterans homes hit by coronavirus outbreaks: “The National Guard is on the ground at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home — which has had 33 residents die from Covid-19 —and will be sent Monday to facilities in Quincy and Manteno, Pritzker said,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— State on track to meet deadline for spending CARES Act funds: “That means it is unlikely the state will have to repay any of the funds to the federal government, but whether or not Congress approves any additional funding remains an open question. Alexis Sturm, director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, told a legislative oversight panel that of the $3.5 billion the state received in April, a little less than $1.5 billion remains unspent. But she said state agencies have spent money out of their own budgets for Covid-19-related expenses that can be reimbursed with the federal funds,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— GOP House members renew calls for gun license reforms amid delays: Four GOP state House lawmakers say their constituents are complaining that they’ve “waited months” after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year. The lawmakers discussed reforms they have suggested in the past but have stalled in the General Assembly. Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, said “FOID and concealed carry issues and delays have been the top complaint from her constituents, eclipsed only by issues related to unemployment,” reports Capitol News’ Sarah Mansur.
— It’s an open road for Route 66 Commission: A bill to establish an organization to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the “Main Street of America” passed the U.S. House earlier this week, bringing bipartisan praise from Illinois’ congressional delegation, reports One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— SCOOP: With Madigan on the ropes, some Dems, write letter asking for party unity: “Citing concerns that their division over reelecting Michael Madigan as Illinois House Speaker is giving strength to their political opponents, six Illinois House Democrats are pleading with their 19 colleagues who have committed to not supporting Madigan to ‘come together as a family’ and ‘unite for a common purpose.’…The letter marked confidential was was signed by six Madigan-aligned state representatives: Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, Frances Hurley, D-Chicago, John D’Amico, D-Chicago, Nick Smith, D-Chicago, Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, and Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island,” writes WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
… State Rep. La Shawn Ford explains why the House Black Caucus is backing Michael Madigan as speaker: “Until there’s someone else who can give the speaker some competition, the Black Caucus is saying we want to start work [legislative work can’t begin until a speaker is named]. We can deal with anything that comes after that. If it means removal of the speaker if he’s indicted, we will deal with that. But right now we want to deal with the problems the state has,” he told WGN Radio’s Steve Bertrand.
… State Rep. Maurice West, a Democrat from Rockford, is the only representative of the 22-member Black Caucus to not endorse Madigan as speaker. After the caucus announced it was supporting Madigan, West released a four-word statement: “My position hasn’t changed.”
— Meanwhile, over in Republicanland: Todd Ricketts is not the future for Illinois Republicans, writes Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine. “The Cubs co-owner and Trump ally is mulling a run for governor. In this state, that’s probably a losing battle.”
— First night of Hanukkah marked with socially distanced celebrations: “No matter how dark the situation may be, all you need is a little candle to shine and illuminate,” Rabbi Meir Moscowitz said. Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba reports.
— CTU releases a list of demands for reopening CPS: “Some of the demands are likely to face immediate rejection by city officials who have been adamant that it’s up to them to decide how and when the nation’s third largest school district will return to classrooms for the first time since March,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— For 3 years, Chicago Police have been tracking public opinion on the department: “Despite dozens of anti-police protests this summer, and months of calls to cut the department’s budget, survey results released Thursday by the Chicago Police Department show feelings about police among Chicagoans are not so bad after all. The results, however, vary by neighborhood with residents in some South and West Side communities reporting much lower trust in officers,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— 79-year-old Harold’s Chicken Shack owner cooking alone at ghost kitchen: “Harold’s Chicken Shack #55, widely considered the best franchise of the beloved fried chicken restaurants founded on the South Side of Chicago, has opened a ghost kitchen location on the North Side…’This virus that’s going on got me messed up. Money got funny so I’m trying to get some more income in,’ says owner Percy Billings, 79,” by Tribune’s Louisa Chu.
— You can legally drink indoors at airports, ‘a ludicrous double standard,’ say critics: “‘Bars and restaurants are open at O’Hare and Midway — despite higher Covid-19 risks among travelers. ‘It’s the double standards that get me, and the airport is one more example of it,’ one Chicago restaurant owner said,” by Block Club’s Bob Chiarito.
— Richard’s Bar is open for business, and ‘Will Not Comply’ if city tries to close it, sign declares: “Despite a statewide ban on indoor dining and drinking, Richard’s Bar continues to serve people inside in the River West bar as a second wave of coronavirus grips Chicago,” reports Block Club’s Mauricio Peña and Hannah Alani.
— Chicago’s L: The ugly duckling that made a city: “By defining the downtown Loop more than a century ago, elevated trains and tracks gave the city a vibrant economic and cultural center. It’s a core element that other cities don’t have,” writes Alan Ehrenhalt in Governing.
Chair of agency that runs Sox park steps down: “Prominent attorney Manny Sanchez says he wants to ‘make it easy’ for the governor to revamp Illinois Sports Facilities Authority leadership,” reports Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Winnebago County offers chief financial officer post to Kane County treasurer: “ROCKFORD — The Winnebago County Board on Thursday is expected to approve the appointment of David Rickert as the county’ new chief financial officer. Rickert, 54, of Elgin, has served as Kane County treasurer for the past 22 years. Last month, running as a Republican, he narrowly lost to Democrat Corinne Pierog in a bid to become Kane County Board chairman to Democrat Corinne Pierog,” by Rockford Register Star’s Chris Green.
— Going Nuclear: Byron fights to save its power plant: “For school Superintendent Buster Barton, it’s hard to overstate the kind of crater the power plant would leave behind in terms of lost tax dollars. ‘Almost three quarters of dollar. So approximately 74 revenues of our revenue comes from that plant,” by NPR’s Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco.
— 16 years after conviction in West Side killing, man asks to be freed, as co-defendant was: “Jovanie Long, 41, says the Chicago police roughed him up to get him to falsely confess. His co-defendant went free a year ago after making a similar argument,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Judge upholds firing of officer dismissed in the wake of Laquan McDonald case: “A Cook County judge on Thursday upheld the firing of a Chicago police officer for his role in the alleged cover-up of police actions in the Laquan McDonald killing. Judge Sophia Hall ruled the Chicago Police Board made a sound decision in dismissing Officer Ricardo Viramontes last year for several Chicago Police Department rule violations, including making false statements, bringing discredit to the department and failing to promote its goals,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
Roselle Trustee David Pileski announced Thursday he will run for mayor in the April 6 election. In a statement, Pileski’s campaign says his platform is focused on “strong community, strong local businesses and strong public safety.”
Biden to tap Denis McDonough for Veterans Affairs: “McDonough, who served as former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff. had not been widely talked about as a leading contender for the VA job, which has traditionally gone to a veteran. The public discussion had largely focused on former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and more recently, former Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy,” by POLITICO’s Megan Cassella and Alex Thompson.
As he heads for the exit, Lipinski mourns disappearance of the political center: “Both the president and the courts will continue to assume more and more power unless Congress gets its act together and remembers how to compromise. That’s the departing message from longtime Chicago-area Congressman Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, a moderate in an increasingly left-leaning party who’s about to leave office after losing in the March Democratic primary to progressive Marie Newman,” writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— The Monday vote: Biden’s electors prepare to seal his victory, as Trump and coronavirus rage, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney, Zach Montellaro and Holly Otterbein
— The White House is making big changes at the Pentagon — but Biden can reverse them, by POLITICO’s Lara Seligman
— Biden’s Cabinet picks give Kamala an edge in 2024, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki
— How Trump won one of America’s most diverse counties — by a lot, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse
— It’s JOEMALA! Time names Biden, Harris ‘Person of the Year,’ by the AP
Erik Jones, who previously served two stints in senior positions for the Illinois Attorney General’s office, has rejoined Venable LLP as a partner. Jones rejoined Venable to help build out its first MIdwest presence and will split his time between the firm’s Chicago and D.C. offices. Jones also previously served as an attorney for the Oversight Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Commerce Committee in the U.S. Senate. He ran for Congress in the Democratic primary in IL-13 in 2018.
Singer Joseph ‘Mojo’ Morganfield, son of blues legend Muddy Waters, has died at 56: “He played basketball at Westmont High School and the University of Northern Iowa,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell and Miriam Di Nunzio.
THURSDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Rocco Claps, for correctly answering that “In the Heat of the Night,” which is set in Sparta, Miss., but was mostly filmed in Sparta, Ill., because of concerns about the safety of the integrated cast and crew.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Which Illinois high school was a stop on John F. Kennedy’s suburban motorcade tour during the 1960 presidential campaign? Email your answer to [email protected].
Today: State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, Appellate Judge Nathaniel R. Howse Jr., former state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Doug House, election and municipal law attorney Burt Odelson, and Brown Strategies CEO Josh Brown.
Saturday: Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lindsay Huge, Chicago Central Area Committee executive director Kelly O’Brien, Targeted Victory VP of public affairs David Pasch, Billy Goat Tavern owner Sam Sianis, and Bob Wood, an Illinois native and CEO of BGR Group in D.C.
Sunday: Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), 46th Ward Committeeman Sean Tenner, former Chicago Park District Commissioner Mona Castillo, Indivisible Chicago’s Marj Halperin, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors VP Mae Hong, TV producer Donna LaPietra, Duckworth outreach coordinator and senior caseworker Stacey Berdejo, and Sun-Times reporter Brett Chase.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
December 11, 2020 at 07:31AM