Happy Thursday, Illinois. xxx
A wrench has been thrown into Illinois’ redistricting plans. The census data needed to determine how to redraw the boundaries for most every elected office in the state may not be turned over until well into the summer because of pandemic-driven delays.
Detailed Census data is usually delivered by the end of March, but this year, states shouldn’t expect it before July 30, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday during a webinar with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
That poses a scheduling problem: The Illinois Constitution requires that redistricting be directed by the state House of Representatives and completed by June 30. If that deadline isn’t met, then a bipartisan committee must be formed. That would give Republicans a bigger say in a process that would otherwise be dominated by Democrats who hold huge margins in the chamber to determine how boundaries are drawn for state House and Senate seats, as well as for city and county elected seats.
The process around congressional seats isn’t bound by the June 30 deadline, so that remap could happen after census data is eventually released (though that’s also problematic as candidates will need to know what districts they’re in before they start collecting signatures to run for office). The signature deadline for the 2022 election is at the end of November of this year.
Election attorney Michael Dorf expects House Democrats will have a workaround, using census estimates so it can meet the constitutional requirement to have a map drawn by June 30. “They know that the map will be challenged in the Supreme Court anyway. So they could have it drawn and by the time they’re in court, it could be adjusted based on the data,” he told Playbook.
Dorf is speaking from experience, having represented lawmakers whose districts have been rejiggered in a remap. Legal challenges can come from the opposing political party and from minority groups concerned that boundaries don’t allow for proper representation of their communities.
If lawmakers don’t meet the June 30 deadline, the remap would be overseen by an eight-person, bipartisan commission.
“Whatever group members draw maps, they need to explain and show how they upheld minority representation rights and preserved communities of interest, compactness and contiguity so that Illinoisans understand how the maps were drawn,” Madeleine Doubek of the nonprofit Change Illinois, which supports remap transparency, told Playbook. “Illinoisans deserve to be active participants in the process of drawing the districts. These are the people’s districts, after all.”
If a bipartisan committee is doing the remap, incumbents would most likely benefit because they’d be protected by their respective party representatives on the committee. It would mean Democrats wouldn’t be able to squeeze Republicans out by gerrymandering districts in their favor.
“You could see a lot of districts being squared up. Right now, many are shaped in crazy ways instead of as proper polygons,” said political consultant and map maker Frank Calabrese, citing a Brennan Center for Justice study that says bipartisan mapping leads to more fairly drawn districts.
The lag in receiving census data makes things more difficult for states with population losses that must figure out how to subtract a congressional seat, writes POLITICO’s Ally Mutnick. That’s where Illinois sits. Political observers expect freshman Rep. Mary Miller would see her seat eliminated and the district divided among other lawmakers. That could occur in part because she has the least seniority and also because of her recent, controversial comments invoking Hitler, which drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Latino Caucus objects to call for independent commission to redraw of city’s ward map, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
House Speaker Chris Welch is out with his committee chair assignments and a few things stand out: the power of the purse strings is being dispersed, rivals have been awarded positions, and former House Speaker Michael Madigan isn’t on the list.
In a memo to lawmakers, Welch thanked them for their “instrumental” input during conversations while preparing the assignments.
Welch is breaking up the powerful Capitol (or appropriations) chair position so that the heads of various subject areas are in control of their budgets. It follows his move to bring more lawmakers into his leadership team to give them experience.
The appointments also suggest he’s not seeking retribution against his rivals.
Rep. Ann Williams, who challenged him for the House speaker position before stepping aside and endorsing him, kept her chairmanship over the Energy and Environment Committee. Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, who also made a run for speaker, held onto chairmanships. Rep. Kathleen Willis, who was bumped from leadership, remains a committee chair, too.
And Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who felt there were too many questions about harassment allegations leveled at Welch earlier this month to support his speakership yet, was named chair of the Restorative Justice Committee (she previously headed Public Safety). Cassidy is now angling for a state Senate seat. Should she stay in the House, she would head an important committee as lawmakers continue to examine criminal justice issues.
Missing from the committee chair list is Madigan, a decision that feeds the chatter about whether he may step down from his House seat after losing the speaker’s gavel.
New committees: A Housing Committee will be chaired by Rep. Will Guzzardi. And Rep. Lamont Robinson will lead the new Tourism Committee “to make sure that, coming out of the pandemic, we remain a viable place for tourists,” Welch the Sun-Times.
Also noteworthy: Rep. William Davis will head the Elementary Education Committee (a new position for him); Rep. Fred Crespo heads General Services; and Rep. Bob Rita will chair the powerful Executive Committee, which Welch previously ran.
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No official public events.
At Morton East High School at noon to tour the Morton East Adolescent Health Center vaccination site.
Presiding over the virtual board meeting of the Cook County commissioners at 10 a.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 81 additional deaths and 3,751 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 18,964 fatalities and 1,112,181 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 20 through 26 is 4.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 6.6 percent.
— Biden’s first big Covid test: Keeping parents of school kids from losing it: “Tensions began bubbling up this week as Chicago teachers and city officials clashed over a plan to reopen. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot insists that classrooms are safe, but teachers in the city are pushing for an expansion in vaccinations first. Now, a version of that fight is playing out nationally, as the White House tries to navigate between a growing body of science indicating that long-held fears of reopening schools may be overblown with demands from teachers for more funding and health supplies before returning to the classroom,” by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Michael Stratford.
…CPS cancels in-person learning Thursday as impasse with CTU continues, by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa
…State Rep. Blaine Wilhour says families should be reimbursed if their school district isn’t offering in-person learning, interview with WGN’s Anna Davlantes
— Pritzker says earlier federal notice on vax deliveries should make it easier to schedule appointments: “What they’re saying is we’re going to guarantee a minimum number and we’re going to tell you that for the next three weeks, so you have at least that number of appointments that you can make available to people,” Pritzker said during a Wednesday news conference in north suburban Grayslake. Tribune’s Jamie Munks reports.
— Pritzker, CVS/Walgreens point fingers over long-term care facility vax program: “According to CVS and Walgreens data, 17 other states, the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago had activation dates for their assisted living facilities concurrent with their activation dates in late December. Other states staggered their activation dates for assisted living facilities through January. But the Pritzker administration and CVS disagree on which entity set that late activation date,” reports NPR Illinois’ Hannah Meisel.
— Illinois Education Association pulls endorsement of Rep. Mike Bost after Jan. 6 insurrection: “The Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education officially pulled their backing of fourth term congressman Mike Bost,” reports George Wiebe of Southern Illinois University’s Daily Egyptian. The IEA has endorsed Bost since 2016. It pulled its support at the urging of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
— Feds arrest Illinois man allegedly caught on TikTok video fighting National Guard at Capitol: “A former neighbor and a social media friend turned Mathew Capsel in to the FBI, records show,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— Aldermen approve protections for immigrants and landmarking of Emmett Till’s home: “Several Chicago aldermen who worked on closing certain loopholes in the city’s Welcoming City Ordinance said the changes will signal to undocumented residents that they should not be afraid that their cooperation with police or past criminal history will put them in jeopardy of deportation. But the vote wasn’t unanimous— eight aldermen voted against it saying it would embolden and protect ‘criminals,’” reports WBEZ’s Claudia Morell.
…Racial undertones of the vote: Aldermen who voted against immigration bill, climbing it could protect criminals drew a rebuke from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who told reporters their comments were “racist and misguided.” Northwest Side Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), who was the subject of Lightfoot’s verbal attack, told the Tribune he has “never been more disgusted in my entire life.”
— Lightfoot says spike in carjackings ‘top of mind,’ adding 40 more police officers to carjacking unit: “The mayor also called the recent increase in carjackings a “regionwide crisis” and said she’d convene local mayors and police superintendents this week to talk about a “regional solution” to the problem. Her office did not immediately provide more details,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and John Byrne.
— Embattled FOP president facing more CPD charges: “The new charges, made public Wednesday by the Chicago Police Board, allege John Catanzara filed a false police report against former Supt. Eddie Johnson after Johnson took part in an anti-violence march on the Dan Ryan Expressway in July 2018,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.
— After living in church for three years, woman went home only to return after judge bars enforcement of Biden deportation moratorium: “After almost four years of living in a Humboldt Park church to avoid deportation, Francisca Lino finally returned to her Romeoville home Saturday after President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations went into effect Friday. But, Lino’s move home was short-lived. A federal judge barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton said the Biden administration failed “to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations,” by Tribune’s Jessica Villagomez.
— ROSALIND BREWER has been named CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the global drug store giant, making her the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Brewer’s success “lets young women know that they can navigate the potholes of systemic racism and life’s challenges to realize their dreams and purpose,” by Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell.
— Rockford Hard Rock Casino one step closer to approval: “Key items in the presentation included the creation of thousands of jobs in the region,” via WFIR.
— Mother and four daughters killed in Des Plaines house fire: “Des Plaines Fire Chief Daniel Anderson called the fire the worst he’s handled in more than three decades as a firefighter. ‘This is a terrible day,’ he said. ‘It’s a sad day for Des Plaines,’” by Daily Herald’s Eric Peterson and Russell Lissau.
— GOP to name party chair: Members of the Republican State Central Committee will meet in Bloomington on Saturday to elect a new party chairman. There’s concern among some Republicans that the meeting is purposely being done in person in Bloomington, which is inaccessible to many, so as to keep the public out. GOP leaders will interview applicants Mark Shaw, the Lake County Republican chairman; Don Tracy, the former head of the Illinois Gaming Board in the Rauner administration; and Scott Gryder, an attorney from Kendall County.
— 8 candidates vying for Sen. Andy Manar’s Senate seat: “Three candidates with Macon County ties are among those who have applied. They are former Decatur City Council member Shad Edwards, Macon County Assistant State’s Attorney Ruth Waller and Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. The remaining finalists are Springfield Park Board member Lisa Badger, former Springfield Ward 2 Alderman Frank McNeil, Springfield Ward 3 Alderman Doris Turner, Macoupin County Board member Roberta Vojas and former state representative candidate Chase Wilhelm,” reports Herald & Review’s Brenden Moore.
— Court ruling keeps state Rep. Thaddeus Jones out of Cal City mayor’s race: “The judge’s ruling may apply to any Illinois town where citizens want to prevent elected officials from becoming “double dippers” by also serving as state lawmakers, said Burt Odelson, city attorney for Calumet City and an expert in Illinois election law,” by Daily Southtown’s Ted Slowik.
— Food workers serve up support for Giannoulias in secretary of state race: “Locals 881 and 1546 of the food workers union, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, threw their weight behind Giannoulias and vowed to play a ‘major role’ in electing him secretary of state,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Lame Duck Look Back: Economic equity bill aims to protect conviction records, end wage disparity: “[M]uch of the discussion in the Illinois House is centered on the protections of criminal records. Opponents of the bill said it would complicate and delay the hiring process and create liability for employers…. Specifically, the bill would make it a civil rights violation for an employer to use an individual’s conviction record as a basis to refuse to hire or terminate employment, unless there is a “substantial relationship” between the criminal offenses and the employment position the individual is seeking,” by Capitol News’ Grace Barbic.
— House GOP, law enforcement urge Pritzker to veto ‘confusing, inoperable’ criminal justice reform bill: “In a Zoom news conference Wednesday morning, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the state must thoroughly and carefully address police reform and criminal justice reform. It is the right thing to do,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— On Trump’s last full day, HHS launched probe into Illinois abortion law: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched an investigation to determine whether Illinois has violated federal law by enacting and enforcing the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which requires certain health insurance plans to cover abortion services. In a letter dated Jan. 19, which was the last full day of the Trump administration, HHS’s Office of Civil Rights notified the Chicago-based Thomas More Society that it had received a complaint the group filed in October 2019 and had agreed to open an investigation to determine if certain portions of the act violate federal law,” writes Capitol News’ Peter Hancock… In a statement, Jordan Abudayyeh, spokeswoman for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, called it a “sham complaint” and “a last ditch effort by the Trump administration to deny women their rights.”
— High school basketball to begin ‘ASAP,’ the IHSA says, but not all regions cleared to play: “It’s time to return to the basketball court. And for football and other sports under the Illinois High School Association’s umbrella, their time will come too,” writes Tribune’s Pat Disabato.
— ‘Pot paradise’ on Michigan Ave.? Mayor rebuffs plan to allow weed shops in heart of downtown: “Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes large portions of the downtown area, introduced an ordinance earlier in the day that would open the entire downtown area up for legal weed sales. Reilly told the Sun-Times he was merely introducing the new measure based on the mayor’s office’s commitment to ‘revisit the issue’ after a year of recreational cannabis sales. Hours later, Lightfoot made it clear that her feelings about the need for a downtown ‘exclusion zone’ have not changed,” reports Tribune’s Tom Schuba and Fran Spielman.
Congressman Rodney Davis has invited President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland to visit the 1908 Springfield Race Riot Site, which sits in Davis’ 13th District. Davis is working to have the site designated as a national monument in recognition of its significance in the Civil Rights struggle. “As our nation continues to experience deep racial tension, now more than ever, this site tells an important story that we must not forget,” he wrote in his letters to Biden and Haaland.
— Greatest gift Biden ever received was Trump getting booted off Twitter, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki
— Biden taking first step toward bolstering Obamacare, by POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi
— ‘This is going to be quite a show’: Biden’s arms control team eyes nuclear policy overhaul, by POLITICO’s Bryan Bender
— Leahy’s hospitalization shows Dems’ majority hangs by thread, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— IN MEMORIAM: It’s been 35 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, with all seven crew members killed, including Christa McAuliffe who was to be the first teacher in space.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky political director Benjamin Head and political and nonprofit consultant Christina Granfield on Jan. 23 welcomed Michael Benjamin Head. Pic!
Tonight at 6:30 p.m.: A virtual discussion about the criminal justice reform package that passed in the General Assembly earlier this month will feature Rep. Maurice West, Rep. Justin Slaughter and members of the NAACP-Rockford Branch and Women’s March Rockford.
Friday at 2 p.m.: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas will discuss issues related to property taxes during a free webinar sponsored by the Chicago Bar Association. On the agenda: implications from her office’s recent tax studies, how property taxes have increased over the past 20 years, and how residents can discover if they are owed unclaimed property tax refunds.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Abdon Pallasch, comms director for Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, for correctly answering that former Illinois Comptroller Loleta Didrickson put all payments made to the state of Illinois online so they are transparent to the public. Didrickson emailed Playbook to say “Illinois was the first in the nation to do so. We had installed a new very robust accounting system that allowed it!”
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first Black woman to serve in the Cabinet of an Illinois governor? Email to [email protected].
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and (coincidentally!) Durkin spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lorraine Murphy, political consultant Collin Corbett, and political consultant Tom Stapka.
January 28, 2021 at 07:40AM