PRITZKER’s dinner party diplomacy — RABINE joins the race — NO LAWSUITS over Covid rules

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PRITZKER’s dinner party diplomacy — RABINE joins the race — NO LAWSUITS over Covid rules

Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. So what do your brackets look like now? Michigan out.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has resumed entertaining at the governor’s mansion, hosting small dinner parties with new and veteran Democratic lawmakers. Chief of Staff Anne Caprara and Deputy Governor Andy Manar attended at least one event.

“It’s important to the governor to get to know people and have a personal connection. He likes to know where their interests align and what’s important to them,” spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh told Playbook when we asked about the schmoozing.

The conversation at a dinner party last week, for example, was about “politics, not legislation,” acknowledged Democratic Sen. Bill Cunningham.

He attended the small gathering with Sens. Rachelle Crowe and Mike Simmons, who’s new to the General Assembly and was surprised by Pritzker’s accessibility.

“The governor has an open, unguarded style that you wouldn’t typically expect to see from someone running a big state during a once-in-a-century pandemic,” Simmons told Playbook.

Reps. Jonathan Carroll and Marcus Evans have also had sit-downs with Pritzker.

Though legislation isn’t (always) on the menu, the get-togethers are integral to the legislative process. Pritzker wants to know who he’s working with, what their pet projects are and what their views are on various issues. It’s information useful for legislative horse-trading.

Officially, Pritzker’s team says it’s focused on balancing the budget, paying down debt with Covid-relief funding, paying off the backlog of bills and spurring economic recovery. The last issue is one Pritzker will prod lawmakers for ideas during his meetings.

It’s a page right out of Michael Madigan’s handbook. The former House speaker’s super power was knowing his caucus and keeping them on the same page.

For Pritzker, it’s a matter of wanting to know “where do our interests align with lawmakers to make sure we’re moving in the right direction,” said Abudayyeh.

That communication was noticeably lost during the worst of the pandemic when Pritzker was making decisions without the General Assembly on hand.

Some lawmakers grumbled about not being part of the decision-making, but they also didn’t want to take the heat for the tough calls to wear masks or shut down businesses.

Businessman Gary Rabine, who refuses to say clearly that the 2020 election was not stolen, launched his bid for the Republican nomination for governor Tuesday with friends and family on hand.

In his messages to supporters, Rabine, the CEO of Rabine Group paving and roofing company, pitched himself as a political outsider who wants to create jobs, reduce property taxes and improve public safety.

Speaking to reporters, he “repeatedly” dodged questions about whether he believes President Joe Biden fairly won last year’s presidential election, the Sun-Times’ Andrew Sullender reports.

Rabine acknowledged he’s an ally of Donald Trump, saying the former president’s four years in office proved to be “the strongest job creation administration in the history of my lifetime.”

From the Tribune’s Rick Pearson: “Rabine was an early financial supporter of one-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. But in 2018, he shifted his backing to former state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, a controversial conservative who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Rauner. Rabine also donated to Ives’ failed bid for Congress in the west and northern suburbs last year.”

Rabine also describes himself as a social conservative. He’s supported groups opposed to abortion rights, for example. But he “believes in the laws of the land” and is “not going to be able to change Roe v. Wade” as governor. Rabine also supports fellow Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s right to vote his conscience on impeachment.

Rabine is the third GOP candidate looking to take on the Democratic governor. State Sen. Darren Bailey and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf also are in the race. Rabine urged the GOP challengers to vow to support the Republican nominee, whoever it may be.

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

At a 9:30 a.m. ribbon cutting of the new firehouse Engine Company 115.

At South Elgin High School to announce support to renew K-12 learning.

At South Suburban College to deliver donations provided by local companies to National Guard members.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 17 additional deaths and 2,404 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus. That’s a total of 21,273 fatalities and 1,241,993 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from March 23-29 is 3.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.5 percent.

State’s ‘Bridge Phase’ stalls, but vaccine hunters find second doses closer to home: “Illinois Department of Public Health officials announced the mid-April start of that phase was being pushed to May at the earliest because of rising Covid-19 hospitalizations,” by the Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin.

Organized labor steps in to convince immigrant workers to get vaccines: “Organizations involved with industries where immigrants are concentrated — such as service, agriculture and domestic jobs — are holding webinars in as many as a dozen different languages, launching texting programs, circulating fact sheets and running phone banks to raise awareness about coronavirus vaccination. Some are even running their own inoculation sites,” by POLITICO’s Eleanor Mueller.

— NEW: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 100% effective in teens: "Pfizer said it will seek permission in the coming weeks from the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency to market the vaccine for teens,” by POLITICO’s Lauren Morello.

Amid confusion, Chicagoans traveling to downstate Quincy, elsewhere to get early inoculation access, reports the Tribune’s Steve Johnson

Wrigley Field campus, Chicago State University to host COVID-19 mass vaccination sites, reports the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt

Chicago’s first opening day in two years will see changes aplenty at Wrigley Field: "The Cubs’ opening day will be one of Chicago’s first mass events in more than a year, and everyone from beer vendors to CTA platform workers will have new ways of doing things. That’s true for the surrounding businesses as well, which are hoping for robust but manageable crowds as the season begins,” by the Tribune’s John Keilman and Abdel Jimenez.

With $847M raised, mid-fall groundbreaking set for Obama Center: "Officials give an update on plans for a development they hope will change the South Side—and promise the Obamas will be here a lot,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

Riverwalk businesses start reopening in days, unsure if customers will return: "In 2020, vendors along the Riverwalk generated $7.6 million in revenue, down 54 percent from 2019, according to the city. Downtown office workers who once spent lunch hours on the path worked from home and international travelers never materialized. Neither did the local and suburban residents who visit on weekends,” reports the Tribune’s Kim Quillen.

As son undergoes cancer treatment, Chicago Ridge man pushes for U.S. to allow Yemen-based wife to travel: "Mohsin Omer has balanced his family living in two different continents. But after his 12-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer, he’s pushing for the U.S. to allow his wife to travel to Chicago,” by the Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.

— COVID ORDERS: Business owners can’t sue Pritzker over shutdown orders: "U.S. District Judge Franklin U. Valderrama ruled such lawsuits are barred by the U.S. Constitution’s Eleventh Amendment…The lawsuit, filed in Chicago federal court, centered on executive orders issued by Pritzker last spring, including the statewide stay-at-home order, in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” by the Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.

— Opinion: Let automakers sell cars directly to consumers:"The outcome of dealers’ suit against Rivian and Lucid will have far-reaching implications for the Illinois auto market,” writes Crain’s Joe Cahill.

Lake County officials announce expanded vaccine eligibility as site soft opens:"With COVID-19 vaccinations ramping up across the area, Deerfield’s recreation department is hoping to soon see 1,000 doses per day administered at the Patty Turner Center,” by WGN/9’s Julian Crews.

Modified Ribfest planned this year in new Romeoville location: "National rib vendors, musical concerts and a fireworks show will remain mainstays of the 33rd annual festival, scheduled for July 1-4 at Romeoville’s Deer Crossing Park, 1050 W. Romeo Road, the Exchange Club of Naperville announced Tuesday,” by the Daily Herald’s Lauren Rohr.

Republicans propose plan they say will put the ‘people’ in driver’s seat for new legislative maps: "The measure would allow members of the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint 16 “independent citizen commissioners” to an independent redistricting commission, state Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie said,” by the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

Illinois’ law protecting biometric — fingerprinting — privacy could be changed: "Following hundreds of class-action lawsuits filed against employers for allegedly violating the law, the proposed Illinois House Bill 559 makes biometric agreements less public and gives employers a 30-day deadline to ‘[cure] the noticed violation,’” by WTTW’s Evan Garcia.

Senators hear concerns about rise in Opioid deaths: "Last year, more than 2,800 Illinoisans died from an overdose. The Illinois Department of Public Health says that’s a 30 percent increase from 2019. Dr. Leslie Wise explained IDPH is currently working to increase Narcan availability to first responders, hospitals, and other emergency departments. She says this drug can save anyone overdosing on fentanyl,” by WGEM’s Ali Rasper.

Bill makes Covid-19 vaccine requirements illegal, via WIFR

Illinois leads in criminal exonerations for third straight year: Report: "According to the report, 17 of those 22 exonerations were tied to Chicago Police Department Sgt. Ronald Watts, who led a tactical team that has been accused of manufacturing dozens of drug cases over the course of several years against residents and guests of the Ida B. Wells housing project in the Bronzeville neighborhood,” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.

‘Unlawful’ underfunding leaves thousands with developmental disabilities waiting in line for services: "Governor Pritzker’s budget proposal would add another $77 million in funding for community based programs, but advocates say that isn’t nearly enough,” by WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.

Republican legislators take measured stances in Bloomington-Normal LGBTQ town hall: One of the discussion points centered on the Responsible Education for Adolescent and Children’s Health Act, which would mandate sex education for public schools starting in kindergarten. WCBU’s Christine Hatfield reports

State’s moratorium on shutting off utilities ends today, via ABC/7

House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch has received more big donations, including $25,000 from Illinois Pipe Trades PAC, $12,000 from BetMGM online betting company and $70,000 from various law firms and trial attorneys, according to the State Board of Elections.

State Sen. Michael Hastings has raised an additional $90,000 from individuals and organizations, including $10,000 from the Auto Retailers Association PAC and $10,000 from Associated Beer Distributors.

THE FIFTY: POLITICO’s Renuka Rayasam examines how a “radical” Southern mayor ran up against reality. Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba came into office with a grand progressive vision, but it hasn’t always succeeded.

— BOOK EXCERPT: The day Tammy Duckworth’s Black Hawk went down: Chicago magazine is out with an exclusive excerpt from Duckworth’s new book, in which she recounts the dramatic downing of her helicopter in Iraq — and the early stages of recovery from her devastating injuries.

Underwood tackles maternal health: Before the pandemic, outlining health-care disparities such as Black women being much more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, was an unfamiliar topic for lawmakers. Rep. Lauren Underwood says that’s changed now that the nation has seen headlines about pregnant women’s exclusions from trials and increased risk of severe illness should they contract Covid-19. Tribune’s Alison Bowen reports.

— Bipartisan effort: Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider and Republican Rep. Darin LaHood have ntroduced legislation to encourage private investment into the freight railcar manufacturing industry. Their bill —the Freight Rail Assistance and Investment to Launch Coronavirus-era Activity and Recovery (Freight RAILCAR) Act — would provide tax credits for railcar leasing and manufacturing companies for the cost of replacing two existing railcars with new more fuel-efficient railcars or refurbishing existing railcars.

The measure would also offer additional tax credits for capital expenditures to modernize equipment and technology to meet environmental standards, the lawmakers said in a statement.

Dems could dethrone Iowa, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Holly Otterbein

Biden looks for an infrastructure win where Obama and Trump failed, by POLITICO’s Megan Cassella and Tanya Snyder

After Capitol riot, Congress eyes bipartisan reform of its own protectors, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney

Rep. Matt Gaetz denies relationship with minor, by POLITICO’s Benjamin Din and Matt Dixon

Witnesses: Onlooker anger increased as Floyd stopped moving, by The Associated Press

G. Gordon Liddy, Watergate mastermind, dies at 90: "I’d do it again for my president,” he said years later, via the AP

Rabbi Robert J. Marx, visionary Jewish leader who spoke up for justice, dies at 93: "Rabbi Marx founded the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) in 1964 …and worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement and joined him at the 1966 march in Chicago to protest the city’s segregated housing policies,” according to the JCUA.

Obama family matriarch dies in Kenya at 99: "Mama Sarah, the step-grandmother of the former U.S. president promoted education for girls and orphans in her rural Kogelo village,” via the AP.

Today at 11 a.m.: Rep. Lauren Underwood headlines a health forum on “Women’s Economic Security.” POLITICO’s Joanne Kene moderates.

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to consultant Roberto Cornelio for correctly answering that Vilma Colom was Chicago’s first Latina council member.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which state representative has repeatedly introduced legislation to separate Chicago from Illinois? Email to [email protected].

State Sen. Terri Bryant, former state Rep. Josh Harms, former state Rep. Charles “Chuck” Jefferson, Ariel Investments founder John Rogers Jr., Illinois Census Director Oswaldo Alvarez, Planned Parenthood of Illinois Director Advocacy and Campaigns Rianne Hawkins, author Alex Kotlowitz, federal Projects and Grants Director Philip P. Lasseigne, Chicago Architecture Foundation CEO Lynn Osmond, and arts entrepreneur Richard Weinberg.

-30-

via POLITICO

March 31, 2021 at 07:47AM

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