Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. There was a lot of drama in Washington on Tuesday, but all eyes were on a cat impersonating a lawyer.
LATE-BREAKING DEAL: Chicago Teachers Union members accepted school reopening terms offered by Chicago Public Schools, setting a path to bring back tens of thousands of students and teachers to classrooms, reports Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Tuesday he has no plans to run for governor or U.S. Senate in 2022, acknowledging it would be difficult to get through a primary.
“It’s not my intention to run for anything statewide,” he said, responding to Playbook’s question during a 70-minute conference call with Illinois reporters. Kinzinger did leave open the slightest of windows, saying, he’s “not going to rule anything out.”
The five-term congressman dismissed the chatter that the reason he voted to impeach Donald Trump was for personal political gain. “People who speculate that don’t know me. And, I would even argue that they probably don’t know something about politics if you think I can get through a primary pretty easily,” he said.
In the wide-ranging discussion, Kinzinger said he hasn’t actively lobbied Senate Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, but he has talked to some of them about why he thinks they should.
Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment this time around (he voted against the first one).
For weeks, Kinzinger’s name has been floated as a possible GOP challenger to Gov. J.B. Pritzker or Sen. Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats who are up for re-election in 2022. When he started his “Country First” initiative to shift the Republican Party away from Trump, some saw that as a signal of his interest in a statewide office.
Kinzinger insists he’s focused only on rebuilding the GOP. “I really have felt compelled that this is a fight worth having and if it leads to me being out of office in a year and a half, so be it, I’m at peace. If it leads to something else, so be it, I’m at peace. But right now, the battle is to save the soul of this party.”
As for LaSalle County Republicans censuring him last week and the state GOP saying it “disagrees” with Kinzinger’s views, Kinzinger said, “I prefer not to be censured, but I really, really will not lose an ounce of sleep if I am. Not even an ounce.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office released some nuggets of his budget plan Tuesday ahead of his Feb. 17 virtual presentation to the General Assembly.
Some highlights: There’s no increase in state spending, no increase to the 4.95 percent flat-tax rate and the budget deficit is (only) $3 billion, down from the $5.5 billion original estimate.
The “less dire” financial picture comes as state income and sales taxes, which both fuel the budget, “didn’t bottom out as seriously as initially believed because of the economic consequences of the pandemic,” report WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.
Don’t get too comfortable, though. “There is no question that this budget will include painful choices,” the administration said in a statement, adding, “as the effect of the pandemic diminishes over the coming months, the governor will continue to focus on economic recovery for the hardest hit.”
Savings: The budget proposal suggests closing corporate tax loopholes valued at $900 million and redirecting revenue such as the cigarette tax into the general fund.
Deficit adjustment: The projected budget deficit fell to $3 billion after the state paid off $700 million of the $3.2 billion it borrowed from a special Federal Reserve program, according to the governor’s office.
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No official public events.
In Quincy at 10 a.m. to tour an Adams County vaccination site.
In Lansing at 12:15 p.m. to announce the first Educational POD at Thornton Fractional South High.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 20 additional deaths and 2,082 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 19,686 fatalities and 1,150,170 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 2 through 8 is 3.3 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.7 percent.
— Mass vax sites at Wrigley Field, United Center could happen — when Chicago gets more doses: "This will be something for sure that is in our future for Chicago in one way or another, but it will be more when there is more vaccine available," said Dr. Allison Arwady. Block Club’s Kelly Bauer reports.
— On getting vaccines, Arwady warns ‘do not try to game the system’: “Chicago’s public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Tuesday again implored people to stop sharing vaccine appointment codes at its city-run sites, a recurring issue that she said has caused logistical headaches for her staff and taken up slots from people who are actually eligible,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Walgreens partnering with Uber to offer free rides to vaccine appointments, by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker
— Chicago lifts travel order for visitors from Puerto Rico, Alaska, North Dakota, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— HUGE: McConnell signals to GOP Trump impeachment is a conscience vote: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment is matter of conscience and that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, according to three people familiar with his thinking,” Bloomberg reports.
— Impeachment trial morphs into time machine on Day One: “Both sides trotted out historical examples to buttress their arguments on the pivotal, threshold issue occupying the trial’s first day: whether the Constitution allows for impeachment proceedings against Trump despite the fact that he is no longer in office… [A]ssembled lawmakers soon found themselves being transported back in time to 18th-century England and even to ancient Greece and Rome,” reports POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.
— Trump was quite displeased with his impeachment defense team: “The former president was frustrated with the meandering arguments. Some close to his defense team quit watching,” by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr and Meredith McGraw.
— CPS in-person classes resume Thursday: ‘We got what we were able to take’: “Chicago Teachers Union members have voted two-to-one in favor of a reopening deal with Chicago Public Schools, signaling that in-person classes can resume Thursday as planned,” reports Tribune’s Hannah Leone.
… Could Chicago’s school reopening deal set a higher bar for other districts?: “But as a slew of urban districts and their teachers unions, including in Philadelphia and Baltimore, try to come to a consensus about school reopening, here’s how Chicago resolved a few key disagreements — and what that could mean for unions elsewhere,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mila Koumpilova.
— ‘Failure’ to vaccinate vulnerable residents leads Chicago hospitals to try new tactics: “Several hospitals are reaching out directly to those in areas hard hit by Covid after inoculations so far show a large racial imbalance,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— No, health care workers in Chicago don’t all live downtown: “According to data pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the highest numbers of workers classified as health care and social assistance workers live in several ZIP codes on the North Side, but not near downtown,” writes WBEZ’s Alden Loury and Becky Vevea.
— The reason America saw a historic rise in murders in 2020: “At the most basic level of analysis, experts view the surge as the result of a worst-case confluence of forces — the stresses of a pandemic and the intensity of the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd — that pushed already-frayed neighborhoods into spirals of violence. That can partly explain why the bloodshed wasn’t evenly distributed. Some places remained as peaceful as ever. In others, the rise in murders was even more dramatic than it was nationally. Chicago saw a 37 percent year-over-year increase between the first halves of 2019 and 2020. And in New York City, by December 20, 2020, there had been a 40 percent increase over the 2019 numbers,” via New York magazine.
— Piping plovers at Montrose Beach: “Two endangered birds have already bent a music festival to their winged will. Can Monty and Rose conquer the Chicago Park District?” by Grace Perry for Chicago magazine.
Commanders in the Chicago Police Department are asking aldermen to pony up for security cameras and license plate readers within police districts.
Ald. Matt O’Shea 19th Ward just installed more than a dozen new public-safety cameras to help police solve crimes. "High-quality video is an invaluable public-safety tool,” O’Shea told the Beverly Review.
Added security is welcome, especially in wake of recent carjackings across the city, but aldermen are being asked to pay for the equipment out of their ward menu allowance. Each City Council member gets $1.3 million to take care of streets and infrastructure work each year.
That hits underserved wards hard. “Lincoln Park or Bridgeport aren’t exactly trying to stretch a dollar the way the Austin or Englewood neighborhoods are,” Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) told Playbook.
Pointing to the police department’s $1.4 billion budget, Lopez said, “I’m hard-pressed to believe that they couldn’t find money for cameras like this. It sends a dangerous message about whether we have the resources to protect our city.”
Police commanders have been making requests of aldermen across the city and plan to discuss who’s on board during their next weekly administrative meeting, according to aldermen. CPD did not respond to a request for comment.
Cost of a single police camera is $24,776 and a license plate reader is $27,410. Purchasing them in tandem for one location reduces the cost to a combined $36,000.
Ald. Brendan Reilly was the first alderman to pay for the added security for his 42nd Ward encompassing downtown. “I would much prefer CPD pay for them, but my constituents can’t afford to wait for that to become a funding priority, so I have been using menu money,” he said.
There’s a feeling of being nickel-and-dimed: “We’re used to it. If I want new playgrounds, we’ve got to pay for it. New fencing around the school, we pay for it. We shouldn’t have to, but that’s the way it is. I’m happy to pay for more safety in my ward,” said Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), who was with Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) when a commander made the ask. The aldermen got cameras for each of their Northwest Side wards.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) hasn’t been approached by police commanders but has been working with Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who is allotting some of her infrastructure menu money for police cameras and other public-safety initiatives. Separately, Tunney’s North Side ward is working with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to add cameras and license plate readers on Lake Shore Drive. No matter who pays for it, said Tunney, “we’re all responsible for safety.”
— By 2050, Illinois would use only renewable energy under bill: “The Clean Energy Jobs Act has a new boost with the election of Democratic President Joe Biden and the urgency engendered by the triple whammy of a global pandemic, a racial justice crisis and a corruption scandal involving the state’s largest utility, advocates said at a news conference Tuesday. Add to that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s pledge a year ago to reject energy legislation written by utilities and last month’s ascension of a clean-power advocate, Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch, to the House speaker’s post, and proponents say the pieces are in place to prevent the plan from stalling as it has previously,” by the AP’s John O’Connor.
— Pritzker extends ban on Covid-related evictions until March 6: “Pritzker ordered a total ban on evictions on March 20, 2020 when he issued a stay-at-home order, and extended it as state officials worked to get $5,000 grants to Illinois residents who won a lottery for rental assistance and help with mortgage payments. Illinois’ $300 million housing assistance program was the largest in the nation, officials said,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Exelon CEO Chris Crane’s latest stock-award windfall: $2.7M: “Every year at this time, the corporate parent of ComEd automatically cashes out executives’ performance shares as they vest, making a ‘stock award’ more like a cash bonus,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— New statewide initiative seeks to address racial gaps among the elderly in Illinois: “The ‘Disrupt Disparities’ report focuses on the issues of economic security, health and digital connectivity for older adults of color in Illinois. It highlights high poverty rates among elderly residents of color, lower rates of homeownership among Black and Latino seniors, language challenges for elderly immigrants, lack of access to quality health care, and lower rates of broadband connectivity and digital literacy for senior citizens,” writes WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
— Chicago pot giants GTI, Verano quietly team up in joint venture: “As the partnership has grown more lucrative, the state has failed to issue new licenses prioritized to so-called social equity applicants. After being pitched as the first step in diversifying the state’s overwhelmingly white cannabis industry, the stymied licensing process has ultimately given existing operators an even longer head start to sell recreational pot with limited competition,” reports Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Wilmette still undecided on recreational marijuana sales, but exploring possible locations for dispensaries: “At a special meeting last week, trustees on the village’s Land Use Committee agreed to further explore zoning issues that would need to be in place if the board were to approve recreational marijuana sales, Assistant Village Manager Erik Hallgren said Tuesday,” writes Pioneer Press’ Karen Ann Cullotta.
Column: New state Republican Party chair Don Tracy lives in an ethical glass house, writes Tribune’s Eric Zorn in a column about Tracy playing “fast and loose” with campaign contributions.
— Durbin, Duckworth to Biden: Do not fire top Chicago federal prosecutor: “Durbin, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair and Duckworth said they were not consulted by Biden and do not want John Lausch to step down at this time… A series of long-running public corruption investigations, most dealing with Democrats, went public under Lausch’s tenure,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet and Jon Seidel.
— IT ONLY TOOK FIVE YEARS! — Senate Judiciary Committee schedules Merrick Garland confirmation hearing: “The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 22 and 23, sets Garland up for a March 1 vote out of committee and comes after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reached an agreement for the schedule,” reports POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine.
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH writes in Time magazine about impeachment and the Capitol attack: “[G]lass can be replaced. Furniture can be fixed. To me, the imagery far more damaging than shattered windows and upturned benches was the sight of mob members hoisting up the American flag — the same flag I wore on my uniform when I went into combat — as they desecrated our capital, fueled by Trump’s insistence that delusional conspiracies carry more weight than the Constitution.”
Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough paid tribute Tuesday to the late Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, for her work lobbying to protect entertainers and artists in Illinois. Yarbrough, who previously served in the state House, sponsored the Truth in Music Advertising Act at Wilson’s request after the two met at a conference in Nevada in the mid-2000s. The legislation ensured that the name of a famed legacy musical group such as the Supremes could not be used by a group of performers unless it includes at least one member of the original act. The bill was approved by the General Assembly in 2006 after Wilson traveled to Illinois to testify alongside Yarbrough in support of the measure. “I will admit to being star struck when I first met Mary Wilson,” Yarbrough said in a statement to Playbook. “She truly embraced everyone she came in contact with.” Along with passage in Illinois, the Truth in Advertising Act went on to be approved in at least 35 other states, in large part due to Wilson’s advocacy.
— Trump hid his calls with Putin. Now, Biden has access to them, by POLITICO’s Natasha Bertrand and Daniel Lippman
— The big business of online politics: Buying your email address, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider
— Venus and Serena made history at the Australian Open 20 years ago that’s often forgotten, by The Undefeated’s Aaron Dodson
Kelly O’Brien is joining the Charlotte (N.C.) Regional Business Alliance as chief advocacy and strategy officer. O’Brien serves as executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee and the president and CEO for the Alliance for Regional Development (Tri-State Alliance). The two sister organizations focus on strengthening economic competitiveness in northeast Illinois, southeast Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana. O’Brien starts her new job next month.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to union leader Clem Balanoff, Chicago State University government relations director Monica Gordon, and City of Chicago project coordinator Michael Penicnak for correctly answering that Warren County had the longest streak of voting for the winner of the presidential elections until 2020.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Presuming Sen. Dick Durbin finishes his current term, he will tie which politician as longest-serving Illinois senator? Email to email@example.com.
Arctaris Impact Investors managing director Ben Bornstein, and PBS Newshour’s John Yang.
via POLITICO https://ift.tt/2i74uEb
February 10, 2021 at 07:11AM