Happy Monday, Illinois. If your house was like mine last night, the NBA dunk contest was competing with the duke and duchess doing the same on the royals.
Illinois stands to receive $13.5 billion from the pandemic relief bill passed by the Senate over the weekend. The funding will go to unemployment aid, schools, business loans, individual payments of $1,400 for most adults, and more generous aid for children and child care.
The House is expected to pass the bill on Tuesday, clearing the way for President Joe Biden to give state and city governments the support they’ve been clamoring for to help shore up pandemic-hit budgets, jobs, and infrastructure projects.
But the stimulus money won’t be a blank check: no paying off pension debt. The cash going to city and state governments will be earmarked.
Because it’s another one-time infusion, Illinois and its municipalities will be looking for ways to stretch every dollar.
Watch for the Pritzker administration to use a portion of those billions to pay off borrowing debt that the state incurred during the pandemic. There will likely be an effort to reduce some of Illinois’ bill backlog that’s grown with 12 percent interest payments. And the state could pay off Medicaid bills, which would bring more federal dollars to the state.
“Figuring out how to use the money in the most fiscally responsible way is where we’ll be coming from,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said.
All those efforts could in turn help stabilize the state budget.
But first: The General Assembly will vote on how to appropriate the funds.
— The state Senate is returning to Springfield for session on Tuesday.
— Biden rides a ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ strategy to early success: “Biden kept Democrats from splintering and barreled ahead without Republican support. He didn’t need them in the end, as the bill that passed the Senate only required a simple majority. But keeping his party in line was a feat itself. And in doing so, Biden managed to accomplish something that former presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton could not in early bills before Congress: hew closely to the original proposal without having to give much up in return,” by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago.
— Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin lashed out at Sen. Ted Cruz on Saturday for falsely claiming undocumented immigrants would receive stimulus checks under the $1.9 trillion recovery package passed by the Senate. Cruz said that taxpayer money was being given to “every illegal alien in America." Durbin pushed back, saying, “Undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers. And they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks, period. And just in case you didn’t notice, they didn’t qualify in December… To stand up there and say the opposite is just to rile people up.”
— Unemployment breakdown by ethnicity and gender: Unemployment among Black residents in Illinois was higher than the rest of the population since the pandemic began, reports Jeremy Gantz in Center for Illinois Politics. “Looking back to the four months leading up to April 2020, the first full month of the pandemic, you can see how the crisis has exacerbated pre-existing disparities in the labor market. African Americans on average accounted for about 20 percent of all continuing [unemployment] claims in Illinois for the months of December 2019 through March 2020.”
Republican Catalina Lauf has hired GOP political consultant Alex Bruesewitz to help run her congressional campaign challenging Rep. Adam Kinzinger in IL-16.
Bruesewitz, who heads the conservative X Strategies consulting group in Washington, D.C. (and Palm Beach, Fla.), spoke at a Stop the Steal rally the day before the attack on the Capitol. He has criticized the violence, saying it allows Donald Trump’s critics to paint him as a threat.
Bruesewitz is now supporting Trump’s efforts to target Republicans who have opposed him, and it’s no surprise that one of the first to be identified in that vein is Kinzinger.
The congressman was one of 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kinzinger has formed a “Country First” political action committee and movement focused on steering the Republican Party away from Trumpism.
Lauf is all in for Trump. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 14th District in 2020 and spoke at the GOP national convention last summer.
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
At Kehrein Center for the Arts at 1 p.m. to talk about the city’s INVEST South/West initiative.
At Proviso East High School in Maywood at noon with members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to make an announcement on education.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 14 additional deaths and 1,068 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 20,763 fatalities and 1,198,335 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 28 through March 6 is 2.3 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.8 percent.
— Biden team plots the country’s first national Covid testing strategy: “The Biden administration is preparing to launch the first of several Covid-19 testing hubs to coordinate and oversee a $650 million expansion of testing in K-8 schools and congregate settings like homeless shelters,” by POLITICO’s David Lim.
… Vaccine-skeptical Trump country poses challenge to immunization push, by POLITICO’s Joanne Kenen
— United Center limits vaccinations to only Chicagoans: “Guidance on who can register for the United Center mass vaccination site is changing to focus on Chicagoans after the majority of early appointments were made by those who live outside the city, officials said Sunday,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
… Uber says it will be providing 20,000 free rides to Chicago residents facing transportation barriers to ensure they get vaccinated, according to a spokeswoman.
— 3rd more transmissible Covid-19 variant discovered in Chicago, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
— Balking at baseball… for now: Outside seating at spectator events is limited to 20 percent of capacity, according to the state’s Phase 4 Restore Illinois guidelines. Still, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot must sign off on that before Cubs and White Sox can allow fans back in the stadiums. The mayor and her office “have been in constant communication with Chicago’s sports teams,” Lightfoot spokesperson Jordan Troy told Playbook in a statement. She said both Cubs and Sox have been “refining reopening plans” based on public health guidance and information from the national leagues. “We remain hopeful that fans can safely return to stadiums sometime this season,” Jordan said. The Cubs open their season at home April 1. The White Sox home opener is April 8.
— ‘Dedicated and decorated’ Chicago police officer dies by suicide on Far Southwest Side: “Jeffrey T. Troglia, 38, died Friday after shooting himself inside his home in the city’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the Far Southwest Side, authorities said. He had about 15 years on the job and was assigned to a gang team,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and John J. Kim.
… CPD promises action on mental health after two officers die by suicide in one week, by WGN/9’s Jenna Barnes
— CPS suspends partnership with Young Chicago Authors after group accused of doing little about sexual assault allegations: Rebecca Hunter, who resigned as executive director, understands why some believe the group that started Louder Than a Bomb instilled a culture of silence, saying leadership “fell short” in handling sexual assault complaints, report Sun-Times’ By Madeline Kenney and Nader Issa.
— Chicago libraries to pull 6 Dr. Seuss books after company opts to to stop publishing them: The Chicago Public Library system are pulling the books after a decision by the business that preserves the author’s legacy to no longer publish those works. “That decision was made because of depictions of characters with stereotypical imagery, according to the business,” reports NBC/5.
— Loyola returns to NCAA tournament, where it knows how to create unforgettable moments, writes Tribune’s Shannon Ryan
Public defender not in line for second term: “Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli is not among the finalists for the six-year term that begins at the end of the month, sources told the Sun-Times. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle opened up the option of picking a new public defender in December, forming a selection committee to review resumes, interview candidates and recommend three candidates to Preckwinkle for a final decision,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Chicago Medical Society has taken out an ad in media outlets urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto House Bill 3360, a measure approved in the waning hours of the last day of January’s veto session. The measure calls for trial lawyers to collect 9 percent interest on personal injury cases from the time lawsuits are considered, not when verdicts are decided. The point of the bill is to make sure defendants, oftentimes big companies, don’t skip out on paying their bills.
But critics say the measure benefits trial attorneys at the expense physicians whose practices have been hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic. The medical society says that in turn would hurt hospitals and patient care. “This legislation is no way to thank a medical profession that has been caring tirelessly for patients and their communities during the pandemic,” Dr. Tariq Butt, president of Chicago Medical Society, said in a statement. “The irony is that when this legislation passed at three in the morning, it wasn’t while the health care heroes slept, it was while they worked.”
— Bailey paper ballot proposal would affect voters with disabilities, election board says: “In addition to requiring hand-marked paper ballots, Bailey’s bill would also ban election authorities from using any internet-connected electronic device to tabulate the vote totals. However, the state’s election officials already use air-gapped tabulators that are ‘not programmed by machinery that is connected to the internet,’ Dietrich said. Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from the 13th District and the ranking Republican on the House committee that oversees American elections, warned against making modifications that might make the election counting system less efficient,” by WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.
Ex-nonprofit leader sentenced for stealing more than $400K form organization: “The former national president of Project Linus, Carol Babbitt, 61, was sentenced to more than two years in prison for stealing money from the not-for-profit organization. Project Linus provides handmade blankets for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or in need. Babbitt, currently of Asheville, N.C., was ordered to serve 30 months in prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $410,250 to Project Linus and $7,856 to the Illinois Department of Revenue. Babbitt was ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on May 11, to begin serving her prison term,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
— ‘Where do we go from here?’ Illinois counties prep for massive changes to courts and jails: “Getting rid of cash bail will fundamentally change justice systems throughout Illinois, by taking money out of the equation and giving judges only two choices: release someone pre-trial or keep them locked up,” reports WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— ANALYSIS: Pritzker lost battles over the party chair and tax reform, but it’s Covid that matters: “Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar said the key issue is Pritzker’s handling of the coronavirus. ‘The trouble sometimes I found was you can win nine things, but if you lost the 10th thing, people remember the last thing,’ Edgar said. ‘There’s a lot of things that are going to happen between now and election time, but nothing’s probably going to be as big as the virus and how people perceive he dealt with that.’” Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton reports.
— Teamsters union reaches tentative agreement with Jewel, averts strike: “The situation was not looking good yesterday, and we were literally 15 minutes away from going on strike when the employer finally realized just how serious the situation was,” Local 710 Secretary-Treasurer Mike Cales said. By Sun-Times’ Sam Kelly.
— Some Illinois towns could lose their metro status: Kankakee, Danville and Decatur are among 144 cities that the federal government is proposing to downgrade from the “metropolitan” statistical area designation. Officials in some of the affected cities worry that the change could have adverse implications for federal funding and economic development, reports The AP.
— Student mental health struggles intensify as high schools remain closed year into pandemic: “Students are suffering from more intense symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, and a higher percentage of emergency room visits for teens are mental health-related, experts said,” by Sun-Times’ Clare Proctor.
— Republicans say some local health departments have concerns about the vaccine rollout: “A spokesperson for the Governor’s office refuted all six claims, saying many of the problems are national challenges, and not easily fixed by the state alone,” reports WICS’ Jakob Emerson.
— Lincoln library names new director: “Christina M. Shutt, the director of the African American history and culture museum in Arkansas, has been selected to lead the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the ALPLM’s Board of Trustees announced Friday. Shutt has been executive director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock since 2016 and guided it through the complex process of earning national accreditation, making it only the ninth Black culture museum in the United States to earn such a designation,” via RiberBender.com.
— Congresswoman Robin Kelly isn’t the first Democratic Party chairman to be taken by surprise about party operations. Kelly found out last week that Democrats no longer have a Chicago office. Its lease ran out in December and wasn’t renewed. Back in 1990, newly elected party Chairman Gary LaPaille found out party bank accounts “were drained” and he was left with “no funds, no offices and no staff,” he told Playbook. LaPaille said Ron Brown, the Democratic National Committee chairman at the time, gave LaPaille $50,000 to get the Illinois office up and running. “Illinois began turning blue two years later in the November 1992 general election when we carried Illinois for Bill Clinton,” the first time Illinois backed a Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon Johnson, said LaPaille. That was the same year Illinois elected the nation’s first Black woman, Carol Moseley Braun, to the U.S. Senate.
— Democratic state Sen. Mike Hastings, who announced his candidacy last week for Illinois secretary of state, has tapped Liz Nicholson & Associates to lead fundraising efforts for the campaign. Nicholson is a longtime Democratic fundraiser who in 2019 went out on her own as a political consultant, lobbyist and fundraiser. She was finance director in Illinois and the Midwest for Joe Biden’s Unite the Country super PAC.
— How Biden is betting on Buttigieg to drive a new era of racial equity, by POLITICO’s Sam Mintz
— Biden issues voting access executive order on anniversary of Bloody Sunday, by POLITICO’s Eugene Daniels
— Cuomo leans on crisis management playbook as walls close in, by POLITICO’s David Siders and Anna Gronewold
— Former state Rep. Ann Hughes, 77, has died: The former Woodstock District 200 School Board “fully participated in life and was never afraid of a challenge,” reads her obituary.
— Ed Judge, a dentist who chose tending bar at Petterino’s instead, is dead at 55: “If you were an exhausted actor straight from the dressing room, Ed Judge would know your drink and have it waiting. If you were a suburbanite looking for some New York Sardi’s-style retro glamour as you prowled Chicago’s Loop after hours, Ed would play that part. And if you were a visiting celebrity wanting a quiet high-top in the corner and no fuss or bother, Ed would gently guide your way there, and others in the opposite direction,” by Tribune’s Chris Jones.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Mark Swartz, executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, and MWRD Commissioner Kim DuBuclet for correctly answering that the Chicago flood of 1992 was so disruptive that Chicagoans were allowed to get extensions on filing their income tax returns. Chicago magazine explains how the flood was blamed on Transportation Commissioner John LaPlante, though it was really the responsibility of General Services Commissioner Ben Reyes.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Why do two states claim to have been first to ratify the 19th Amendment? Email to [email protected].
State Sen. Steve McClure, attorney and former Ald. Bob Fioretti, Hyde Park Hospitality CEO Marc Brooks, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace VP for studies Evan Feigenbaum, former Democratic Committeeman Aaron Goldstein, UIC John Marshall Law School government relations director Judith Hamill, Northwestern adjunct professor Bob Rowley former deputy digital director for the Underwood campaign Ridgley Knapp, and former House candidate Kina Collins.
March 8, 2021 at 07:56AM