REP. FORD’s WEED TWEAK — COOK COUNTY’s IRISH ‘MURPHYIA’ — REMEMBERING COVID DEAD — FIRST REDISTRICTING HEARING!

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REP. FORD’s WEED TWEAK — COOK COUNTY’s IRISH ‘MURPHYIA’ — REMEMBERING COVID DEAD — FIRST REDISTRICTING HEARING!

With help from Maria Carrasco

Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. I’m planning a Clubhouse gathering Friday afternoon (exact timing TBD) to talk about Illinois politics. As I gather my thoughts, send your suggestions for issues to discuss: [email protected].

A year after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order delaying the submission date for new cannabis license applications, there have been no new licenses issued.

Three bills have been introduced in the state Legislature to correct a scoring problem that shut out qualified cannabis entrepreneurs, many who are social equity applicants, from securing a spot in the lottery for a dispensary. And all three failed miserably.

Rep. La Shawn Ford hopes the fourth bill is a charm. He’s introducing a compromise measure that was crafted with equity applicants and the governor’s office. “I’m looking forward to the final language that the General Assembly can pass and the governor signs to have Black and brown people included in this industry,” he told Playbook.

Ford’s draft legislation would create two lottery drawings to dole out 110 licenses to sell recreational weed. The bill also calls for a separate lottery to add five licenses to sell medical marijuana.

To move forward with any lottery, the state is required to fix the scoring process and create an additional competition that would address lawsuits filed because of the flawed scoring in the first lottery. It’s complicated!

What’s simple to understand: Illinois saw $1 billion in weed sales last year and has potential, especially with more dispensaries, to double or triple that in the coming years.

Meanwhile, waiting applicants have been paying leases and fees to hold on to properties where they hope to build cannabis dispensaries.

Pamela Althoff, who heads the Cannabis Business Association, wants to see a bill that focuses specifically on the applications for the lottery and avoids tacking on other cannabis issues. That’s what led the previous bills to fail.

“Let’s fix the scoring and the lottery. Let’s pass it and move forward,” she told Playbook. “We can deal with other issues subsequent to getting licenses out the door.”

RELATED: Minority cannabis applicants say Ford’s bill is key to gaining equity, reports Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba

The influence of the Irish political machine may have waned, but Irish eyes smile in Cook County, which ranks first among all U.S. counties for the number of residents with Irish ancestry, according to the U.S. Census.

Cook County counts 461,589 residents of Irish descent, some 9 percent of its 5.2 million population. People of Irish ancestry make up 19 percent of the population in Middlesex County, Mass., but the county’s total population is a wee 1.6 million. Cook County tops the list on sheer headcount.

Of course, Cook County’s ranking doesn’t surprise residents. “There’s a reason so many judicial candidates over the years have changed their names to sound Irish,” says Abdon Pallasch, the comms director for the state comptroller and one who wears his Irish pride on his sleeve.

There was a time it was called the Irish “Murphyia.” House Speaker Michael Madigan, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (and before that, his dad, Richard J. Daley), and Ald. Edward Burke were the bosses.

Some say it’s changed. But over the weekend, the Chicago River turned green, a Harmon leads the state Senate, and there’s even a Welch running the Illinois House.

“Everybody likes to be Irish in Cook County,” former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn told Playbook. “Everybody in and no one left out.”

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

No official public events.

At Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln at 10 a.m. to address vaccine equity and plans to partner with hospitals focused on rural communities. At noon, he’ll address the same issues at Crossing Healthcare in Decatur.

No official public events.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 19 additional or new cases and 1,997 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 20,973 fatalities and 1,212,110 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from March 9-15 is 2.3 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.9 percent.

Pritzker to direct flags be returned to full staff one year after they were lowered to honor Covid-19 victims: “For one month beginning [yesterday] — a year after the first known Covid-19 death in Illinois — a memorial for those who lost their lives to the virus will be on display at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield, Pritzker and his wife, M.K., announced. Tribune’s Jenny Whidden reports.

Flashbacks and night terrors: How the pandemic has affected refugees in Chicago: “Melva Spahic, a 45-year-old manager of supportive services at Hamdard Health Center in Chicago, is among those refugees who struggled with traumatic memories during the pandemic’s first year. When she was 17 years old, her family was forced to leave their home in Teslić, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” reports WBEZ’s Odette Yousef.

Allison Arwady has a plan: “As a surging pandemic gives way to a rocky vaccine rollout, Chicago’s top doctor has been trying to hammer home a simple message: Keep calm, carry on, and trust the system,” by Kim Brooks for Chicago magazine.

Announcement on Chicago’s Phase 1C of vaccinations expected today: “Chicago is slated to move to Phase 1C, which opens up eligibility to people with certain underlying health conditions and other essential workers, on March 29, the city’s top doc said,” via NBC/5.

Five Illinois educators on a year of disrupted learning — and what students need now, by Chalkbeat’s Cassie Walker Burke

Manny’s Deli offering free sandwiches if customers wear masks for 30 days, reports ABC/7.

REDISTRICTING HEARINGS BEGIN TODAY: ”It’s a process marked by blatant self-interest, with lawmakers looking for politically favorable district boundaries, and partisan power. Since Democrats control both chambers in the legislature as well as the governor’s office, they have the ability to draw new maps without any Republican input,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

What makes a legislative map ‘fair?’ For Harmon, equity, not district shape, is key, reports NPR Illinois’ Hannah Meisel.

Speaker Welch holds the gavel, but he’s not looking to wear a crown, he says in speech: “Welch laid out his top four legislative priorities, a list that he said ‘kind of set’ itself,” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

No. 1 consumer complaint to NBC 5 Responds is Illinois’ embattled unemployment system: “Illinois residents reached out to NBC 5 Responds more than 700 times over the past year,” report Lisa Parker and Courtney Copenhagen.

— Opinion: Alternatives to predatory lenders: Postal Service banking and public banks: “The payday and auto title loan industry exists only because vast swaths of the United States lack even one traditional bank in the community. It is that simple,” write University of Michigan associate professor Terri Friedline and former Ald. Ameya Pawar.

Trump Tower workers got vaccines from West Side Hospital — Whose COO owns a condo in luxury highrise: “Chicago Department of Public Health officials said they are investigating the March 10 vaccination event. It’s unclear why workers at former President Donald Trump’s namesake, luxury hotel were prioritized for vaccines — where one of Loretto’s chief executives owns a condo — while similar hotel workers have not been allowed to get the shot,” by Block Club Chicago’s Kelly Bauer, Stephanie Lulay and Bob Chiarito.

Massive re-write of Chicago’s home business ordinance stalls in committee: “With many Chicagoans working from home, Ald. Gilbert Villegas wants to relax rules on home businesses. His revised ordinance deletes some things he called ‘outdated and not relevant’ — but city regulators want them restored,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Chicago sets April 19 ‘target’ return date for high school students: “In a statement on Tuesday, district leaders described talks with the union as ‘productive’ so far and said the April 19 reopening was a ‘target’ date. But later in the evening, the union responded, saying it had yet to agree to any reopening date for high schools and that its negotiating team lacked critical data, including numbers on teacher vaccinations,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Yana Kunichoff.

CHA contract clears the way for $51M affordable-housing deal: “New York investor Jonathan Rose plans a major rehab of the Barbara Jean Wright Court apartment complex in University Village,” by Crain’s Alby Gallun.

Chicago parish fiercely backs Father Pfleger after sex abuse allegations, reports the AP’s Sophia Tareen.

Sister Jean, at 101, will join Loyola team in Indianapolis for March Madness, by Sun-Times’ Satchel Price.

After nearing a deal for probation, ‘serial stowaway’ is arrested again at O’Hare: “Hartman, who has a long history of trying to sneak onto flights in Chicago and around the country, was arrested at O’Hare in October 2019 just as she was trying to pass the second of two security checkpoints, prosecutors have said.” This time, she was arrested after an alarm went off on her electronic ankle bracelet, report Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Megan Crepeau.

Video released of suspects wanted in Chicago officer shooting on South Side, via WGN/9’s Julian Crews

THE FIFTY: Chicago isn’t the only city where the police reform weighs heavy. A year after George Floyd’s death, police reform is still top-of-mind and shaping mayoral contests in Minneapolis, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit and Seattle, reports POLITICO’s Stephanie Murray.

Remains found in Kane County identified as those of Aurora woman missing for almost 18 years: “Tyesha Bell, 22, had stepped outside of her West Side apartment in Aurora after receiving a mysterious phone call, leaving her two young daughters inside, and was never seen again,” by Tribune’s Megan Jones.

— ALL IN GOOD FORM: Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (15th), the first openly LGBTQ Cook County Board member, introduced the Gender Inclusive Documents and Forms Ordinance, which would expand gender identity options available to residents on Cook County forms. The ordinance would add “transgender woman/transfeminine,” “transgender man/transmasculine,” and “nonbinary/gender nonconforming” to county documents as gender identity options when a person’s sex must be identified, Morrison said in a statement.

Ravinia to return in July for the 2021 season: “The full season schedule — including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s six-week residency — is due to be announced in late April,” reports Daily Herald’s Brian Shamie.

— Evanston gets national treatment: What happens when a slogan becomes the curriculum: “A curriculum inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is spreading, raising questions about the line between education and indoctrination,” by writes The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.

Expenses exceed revenues by nearly $2M in Berwyn city budget: “Berwyn begins the year well over a quarter of a billion in the red,” by Shaw Media’s Catey Sullivan.

Illinois universities aim to reopen completely this fall. But, but but: “Though schools are eager to share their plans, especially as the admissions deadline looms for prospective students, many variables could throw expectations into flux. It’s still not known when all college students and faculty will receive the vaccine, though President Joe Biden has pledged that every resident will be eligible by May 1. And other critical questions, such as whether new coronavirus strains will derail progress and what state health officials will allow, could also complicate projections. Is that a post-pandemic pipe dream or a realistic goal?” By Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney.

UIS planning for more in-person fall classes: “UIS surveyed both students and faculty this semester to help guide planning for the fall semester. The school said both groups indicated that increasing the number of on-campus courses is a top preference,” by NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford.

Northwestern won’t dump billionaire Uihleins for bankrolling Jan. 6 event: “The school maintains there is no evidence Richard and Liz Uihlein participated in the Capitol riot, though they funded a group with ties to the rally,” via the Daily Beast.

Replacing state’s lead service lines could cost up to $14B: “State Rep. Lamont Robinson, D-Chicago, has introduced the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, a bill creating a plan, funding, and timeline for all lead service lines to be identified and replaced. State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, will file a Senate companion version. Jeremy Orr, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Illinois has between 800,000 to 1.4 million lead service lines delivering drinking water to residents, far more than any other state,” reports Center Squares’ Kevin Bessler.

— Progressive push forward: The Illinois House Progressive Caucus has laid out a six-point priority list for 2021. It includes advancing comprehensive energy legislation that will “electrify the transportation sector, decarbonize the power grid this decade, and lead to equitable green investments in communities of color,” according to the group. Also on the list: relief for renters and homeowners in wake of the pandemic; a law guaranteeing paid sick and family leave for all Illinois workers; “ending tax giveaways to big businesses;” an equity-focused second-round lottery for cannabis dispensary licenses; and health equity provisions. In a statement, Progressive Caucus co-chair Carol Ammons (D-Champaign) said passage would bring “much-needed relief and equitable economic growth” to Illinois families.

— Bishops push back: Catholic bishops in Illinois have sent a letter to parishes expressing opposition to two bills that would repeal the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires minors in Illinois to notify a parent or guardian when they end a pregnancy. The law has been in effect since 2013. The bishops say repealing the law “would lead to tragic and irreversible outcomes,” according to their letter provided to Playbook.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Rod Blagojevich is getting back into politics — but not as a candidate. He appears in a new digital ad to support Orland Township Supervisor Scott Kaspar, who’s running against Democrat Paul O’Grady in the April 6 consolidated election. The former governor takes a dig at O’Grady, by calling him a “Madi-goon,” a reference to being an ally of former House Speaker Michael Madigan, who butted heads with Blagojevich while in office. Blagojevich, who has appeared on “The Apprentice,” also had a bit of self-deprecating humor. “I’m the only guy in American history to have ever been fired and freed by the same guy.”

Rodney Davis on running for governor: ‘You never say never’: Rep. Rodney Davis said “it sucks” to be a Republican in a Democratic-controlled Congress. And with redistricting expected to remove one U.S. House seat in Illinois, putting his own seat on the line, “Davis didn’t shoot down rumors that he’s considering a run for governor in 2022,” reports the News-Gazette’s Ben Zigterman.

DUCKWORTH’s NOD TO EMMETT TILL: Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced bipartisan legislation to designate the church that held Chicagoan Emmett Till’s pivotal funeral in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood as a national historic site. “Till’s funeral was held at the neighborhood’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ after the 14-year-old was brutalized and lynched in Mississippi in 1955. His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, made the decision to hold a public, open-casket wake to make sure the world couldn’t ignore his vicious treatment at the hands of murderers who, after being acquitted by an all-white jury, admitted their crimes. The wake was attended by thousands and sparked international discourse over his killing and racism in America,” Duckworth explains in a statement.

— SCOOP: GOP to accuse Biden of ‘unlawful’ border actions, in national Playbook

Republicans on Biden’s Covid bill: We bungled this one, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr, Christopher Cadelago, Meredith McGraw and Natasha Korecki

Trump urges Americans to get Covid-19 vaccine: ‘I would recommend it,’ via CNN

Wisconsin Senate approves a Limbaugh resolution, and Dems object, via the AP

Jesuits to raise $100M for descendants of slaves, via the Hill

Shelly Bateman has been named associate executive director of Governmental Relations at the Illinois Association of School Boards. Bateman most recently worked as Senior Director State Government Affairs at March of Dimes, where she provided oversight and management of advocacy and government affairs efforts in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and D.C. Prior to joining the national office at March of Dimes, Bateman was the Illinois director for state government affairs.

Former CME leader Jack Sandner dies at 79:He was a giant of the Merc who helped lead the organization as it became the first U.S. exchange to go public,” by Crain’s Steven R. Strahler.

U.S. District Court Judge John A. Nordberg of Northbrook, and longtime resident of Golf, Illinois, and Green Lake, Wisconsin, died March 12 at the age of 94.

K2 & Co. public affairs VP Nick Klitzing, who previously headed the Illinois GOP, and his wife, Brittany Ladd Klitzing, chief of staff at the early childhood education nonprofit Start Early, welcomed son JD to the world March 12. Pic! And another.

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Illinois Department of Employment security manager Marco Morales for correctly answering that former Ald. Miguel Santiago erupted in anger at a City Council meeting when another alderman threatened to “hold his feet to the fire.”

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who’s the campaign manager for Richard M. Daley who went on to become chair of the Democratic National Committee? Email to [email protected].

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, state Sen. Darren Bailey, former state Rep. Randy Ramey, Durbin senior policy adviser Joe Bushong, lobbyist Mark Peysakhovich, political consultant Chris Shaffer, and Gavel Public Relations president Larry Farnsworth.

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Feeds,News,Politics

via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq

March 17, 2021 at 07:34AM

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