Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. President Joe Biden gives his first address to a joint session of Congress today, talking bigly about his accomplishments and his plans for education and taxes. We’ll be watching.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker put to rest Tuesday the idea that an independent commission would redraw legislative and congressional districts. The governor had used the word “independent” back when he ran for office, and advocates and Republicans tried holding him to it.
But here we are approaching May, and the deadline to have maps drawn is June 30. An independent commission ain’t gonna happen.
The Sun-Times calls his position a flip-flop and Republicans are dubbing it “retrograde amnesia.”
Pritzker’s view is that only a constitutional change can take the process out of lawmakers’ hands and give it to an independent group. He’s banking on elected officials approaching the process fairly — even though Democrats run the show in Springfield. He called on Republicans to roll up their sleeves to embrace the process.
So far, there have been at least 30 public hearings, and some lawmakers have told Playbook that the public input has been invaluable. So that’s good news for all those seeking good communication.
But there’s still more to the process. What happens when it comes time to draw the maps? Will lawmakers go behind closed doors? Will they give the public a one-day peek before voting on the maps, as they did in 2011, asks Madeleine Doubek, executive director of Change Illinois.
“We have been asking for transparency and at least a two-week period between when final maps are unveiled and when they hold votes,” she told Playbook. Doubek has been championing the cause for an independent commission that uses census data instead of the less reliable American Community Survey numbers from 2019.
Republican state Rep. Tim Butler, who sits on the House Redistricting Committee, added: “If the public/press can’t be in the room as maps are discussed and drawn, that is the opposite of transparency.”
Doubek’s and Butler’s concerns aren’t going unnoticed. Lawmakers say the public will also be included in the map-making process. “That is the plan,” said state Sen. Elgie Sims Jr., who co-chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee. “We are planning to have ample time to present a map before final action on a vote.”
Column: In fairness, a shrinking Illinois should keep its ‘unfair’ political maps, writes Tribune’s Eric Zorn
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: State Rep. Kam Buckner is leading the newly created Lake Shore Caucus, a group whose General Assembly members represent the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Buckner says the caucus will look “to develop solutions” and stand as a seawall to help protect the lake’s shores. Lake Michigan is the third-largest body of water among the Great Lakes and in recent years has seen climate change cause water levels to drastically fluctuate, endangering beaches, bluffs, housing, parks, buildings and wildlife, including Blanding’s turtles.
Illinois has 63 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan between its borders with Indiana and Wisconsin, says Buckner, whose district runs all along the lake, from the Gold Coast south to the Chicago Skyway.
The Lake Shore Caucus “will have ongoing conversations to develop legislative solutions to erosion and flooding and other issues” related to climate change, Buckner said in a statement.
Along with Buckner, other founding members of the Lake Shore Caucus, all Democrats, include: Sens. Melinda Bush (Grayslake), Sara Feighenholtz (Chicago), Laura Fine (Glenview), Adriane Johnson (Buffalo Grove), Julie Morrison (Lake Forest), Robert Peters (Chicago), Mike Simmons (Chicago); and Reps. Kelly Cassidy (Chicago), Margaret Croke (Chicago), Curtis Tarver II (Chicago), Robyn Gabel (Evanston), Joyce Mason (Gurnee), Rita Mayfield (Waukegan), and Bob Morgan (Highwood).
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In Bronzeville at 9:30 a.m. for the groundbreaking ceremony for Neighborhood Opportunity Fund recipient Bronzeville Winery as part of the City’s INVEST South/West initiative.
At Heartland Community College in Normal at 10 a.m. to announce expanded training for high-demand manufacturing jobs and investing in downstate communities.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 23 additional deaths and 2,556 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 21,858 fatalities and 1,325,726 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from April 20-26 is 3.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.8 percent.
— CDC: Vaccinated Americans can go maskless outdoors in many situations: “CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the guidelines, saying the agency had made the changes after studying how likely vaccinated people are to transmit the virus,” by POLITICO’s Erin Banco and David Lim.
— Chicago looking at ‘Vax Pass’ for concerts and other events, public health commissioner says: “Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gave few details about the initiative, but said it will be dubbed “Vax Pass” and roll out in May as a means to encourage vaccination particularly in younger people in exchange for attendance at concerts or other events as the second pandemic summer begins,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Biden administration advances emergency Covid workplace safety rules after weeks of delay, by POLITICO’s Rebecca Rainey.
— TRIAL DATE SET FOR CULLERTON: “State Sen. Tom Cullerton, who was indicted in 2019 on charges of embezzlement, is set to go to trial in February next year, a federal judge said on Tuesday. Cullerton’s federal trial was previously set for July 2020 but that date was scrapped when the pandemic halted jury trials. The indictment, issued in August 2019, charges Cullerton with one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans, 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, and one count of making false statements in a health care matter. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges,” by Capitol News’ Sarah Mansur.
— Pritzker to appeal federal judge’s refusal to lift fed oversight of IL state government hiring practices: “Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has indicated he will appeal a federal judge’s decision refusing to allow his administration to get out from under federal oversight of allegedly corrupt state hiring practices. On April 26, the Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a notice in Chicago federal court, indicating their intention to appeal a decision from late March from U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang,” by Cook County Court Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
— Lawsuits dropped as Jackie Robinson West league admits having ineligible players, but coaches maintain they were in the dark: “Little League stripped the team of its title, revealing that it used ineligible players from outside its boundaries. Players and fans were devastated. The scandal touched off a rash of finger-pointing and lawsuits… Last week, Little League dropped its lawsuit against the team’s coaches, Darold Butler and Jerry Houston. The coaches in turn claimed vindication for their assertions that they didn’t know about the ineligible players,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— Convention shutdown costs city and state $233.8M in tax revenue, McPier board told: “McCormick Place held its last convention on March 6, 2020. Since then, the losses have been staggering: 230 canceled events that would have drawn 3.4 million attendees and a lost economic impact of $3 billion,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— City will have new rules on outdoor masking as it offers residents incentives to get vaccinated: “Dr. Allison Arwady also announced a $9.6 million vaccine outreach program and outlined several initiatives the city plans to try to get people who’ve not yet gotten a shot to take one. One initiative, dubbed ‘Vax and Relax,’ will partner with barbershops and salons to give people free haircuts and nail treatments if they’ve been vaccinated, according to Arwady,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea.
— Supreme Court won’t hear case against Obama Presidential Center: “[T]he high court denied a petition from Protect Our Parks, which had requested a review of an appellate court decision handed down in August 2020. In that ruling, appellate justices said Protect Our Parks lacked standing to sue the city of Chicago in the first place over its approval of the center’s construction on public land,” by WTTW’s Patty Wetli.
— Family of Anthony Alvarez views footage of fatal police shooting: “Though a COPA spokesman did not offer an exact timeline of when the footage would be made public, he said videos could be expected “well in advance of the city’s video release policy,” which typically gives COPA 60 days to publicly release footage of police shootings,” by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo and Sam Kelly.
— Chicago-area officials join multi-state effort to find gun-safety products: “We have to make them theft-proof, child-proof, and as accident-proof as possible. In an age of technological innovation, this is not an unsolvable problem,” said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain. Sun-Times’ Zinya Salfiti reports.
— Hate mail sent to DuSable Museum threatens Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Obama family, officials say: “The Secret Service is investigating six threatening letters sent to the DuSable Museum of African American History that mention President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Obama family, among others, according to the museum,” by Tribune’s Clare Proctor.
— Ald. Villegas says Chicago Fire soccer is eyeing Hanson Park, stadium, for training center: “The property in Belmont Cragin serves as a campus for three schools and as a host for prep sporting events,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Michelin’s Chicago Return Features 10 New Bib Gourmands: “International cuisine was the theme for the latest iteration of Michelin’s value-driven list,” by Eater’s Ashok Selvam.
Two stories by national outlets zero in on Chicago’s most prominent Black women leaders:
Carlson excoriates Foxx: Conservative TV host Tucker Carlson is out with a new edition of “Carlson Originals,” a 22-minute program that blames Chicago’s crime problem on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. The broadcast is loaded with graphic and sensational footage of crimes in progress, interviews with Ald. Ray Lopez and Chicago police officers, and a recap of two high-profile murder cases. Tucker introduces that segment saying, “Even murderers go free.” This isn’t real journalism. Foxx isn’t interviewed, though Carlson uses taped footage to put a spin on the story.
In a print story by The Appeal, Lori Lightfoot comes under scrutiny over police reform: “But in the three years since Lightfoot challenged [Rahm] Emanuel to a debate on police reform, few would claim that she’s drastically changed the culture or structure of the Chicago Police Department. Since taking the mayor’s office in 2019, she has failed to fulfill basic campaign promises regarding police reform.” writes Jerry Iannelli.
Metra’s new Edgewater station delayed yet again as city nixes transit agency’s green groundwater plan: “The project, originally announced in 2012, had construction start dates of September and May. It has been delayed once again,” by Block Club’s Joe Ward.
— New student safety helpline debuting ‘at a time kids need it most’: “After it was delayed for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an Illinois school safety helpline has been launched to give kids a safe and confidential place to report information that might prevent bullying, suicide and campus violence,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.
— A new Illinois law caps payday lenders — But what happens if they leave the state? “Rickie Keys with Renewal Financial lobbied against the measure. He agreed that payday loans are predatory, but said the fallout of the new law could unintentionally hurt communities of color because there’s nothing to take their place,” by WBEZ’s Araceli Gómez-Aldana.
— Study finds expanding Illinois renewable energy program would save consumers $1.21B over 10 years: “The study compared the additional funding needed to reach a 40 percent renewable energy goal with the impact the additional renewables would have on wholesale energy and capacity prices, and the direct savings realized by rooftop and community solar customers. It found that reaching 40% renewable energy will create a net benefit for Illinois consumers of $1.21 billion over 10 years,” according to Solar Power World.
— Pritzker signs bill that seeks to address racial disparities in health care: “Hospital closures could be put on hold in Illinois until the coronavirus pandemic ends under a measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Tuesday … The wide-ranging bill — the fourth and final piece of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ sweeping social justice agenda — also will permit workers to use their sick days to care for a parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent or stepparent,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— Illinois moves to lure crypto businesses: “A bill sailing through the Legislature would establish rules of the road for new companies safeguarding bitcoin and other digital currencies on behalf of investors,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— Lawmakers advance bill to replace toxic lead service lines: “Everyone should be able to drink clean water without any issue,” said state Rep. Lamont Robinson, a Democrat from Chicago and the bill’s lead sponsor in the House. The bill originally set aside $200 million from a new fee to help pay for replacements, but that was removed to secure enough votes. Instead, supporters are looking to the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan to fund the project — a move that left some Republicans skeptical. WTTW’s Nick Blumberg reports.
— Some Illinois campuses retaining more Chicago students — but data show declines at community colleges: “Overall, 40% of Chicago Public Schools’ graduates enrolled in four-year universities last fall, and 16% went to community colleges,” by Chalkbeat’s Mila Koumpilova.
— Loyola nearly doubles stipends for Ph.D. candidates but doesn’t recognize Graduate Workers’ Union: “Many private universities, including Loyola, maintain they aren’t obligated to bargain with graduate students who teach or conduct research because they’re not employees, though graduate student unions are recognized at public institutions,” by Tribune’s elyssa Cherney.
Robin Kelly names Abby Witt next executive director of state Democratic Party: “Kelly said she has seven transition groups at work, and wants to establish internships and fellows programs to ‘get younger people involved,’” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
Illinois lawmakers are hosting special guests virtually for President Joe Biden’s address to Congress tonight. Rep. Bobby Rush’s guest will be Verneda Bachus, CEO of Friend Health, located in Rush’s 1st Congressional District. Rep. Marie Newman (IL-03) invited Jesús Morales of UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers’ union. Rep. Chuy García (IL-04) is hosting Esther Corpuz, CEO of Alivio Medical Center, as his virtual guest. Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) will watch the address virtually with Mark Pfister, the executive director of the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. And Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) will host Audree Hall, a Lake County mom who was laid off last year and had to choose between affording her mortgage and going without health insurance, Underwood said in a statement.
— Inside Biden’s bubble: How an insular White House has kept drama and leaks at a minimum, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Daniel Lippman
— Democrats say Biden’s sweeping changes will be hard to undo, by POLITICO’s Megan Cassella
— How Trump’s renewed election rhetoric is complicating Capitol rioters’ legal fight, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein
— Biden’s Covid team split over decision to send vaccine doses abroad, by POLITICO’s Erin Banco and Adam Cancryn
— Bernarda ‘Bernie’ Wong, 77, trailblazing advocate for Asian Americans and ‘indefatigable force for good,’ by Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
— Businessman Martin (Marty) Ozinga III, has died. He was 71, according to a company statement.
Chicago Defender has announced its 2021 Women of Excellence Honorees: Among the honorees are Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and MWRD Commissioner Kim du Buclet.
— Caitlin Alejandrina Kovacs has joined Massey & Gail LLP, a law firm with offices in Chicago, D.C., and San Francisco. She joins as a partner based in Chicago. Kovacs previously was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. A new associate, Alethea Anne Swift, also recently joined the firm’s D.C. office.
— Becky Betts has been named chief marketing and external affairs officer of A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund focused on fighting poverty and promoting education. In 2016, Betts helped former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan launch Chicago CRED, which works to reduce gun violence.
— Today at 10:30 a.m.: First lady of Illinois M.K. Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, and author Susan Burton, headline a discussion by the Women’s Justice Task Force of Illinois. The topic: how to reduce the number of women incarcerated in Illinois prisons by 50 percent. This is a three-hour event that also features Deputy Gov. Sol Flores, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Registration is here or access to the webinar here, passcode wji.
— Today at 5:30 p.m.: City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado and Chicago State University President Z. Scott headline WTTW’s virtual panel discussion: Living in Poverty/Equity in Education.
— Thursday at 1 p.m.: The Mama Caucus kicks off with a virtual town hall addressing employment, child care, schools, and self-care. Speakers include state Reps. Margaret Croke, Avery Bourne, Kelly Cassidy, Janet Yang Rohr, and Lakesia Collins; Cook County Commissioners Bridget Gainer, Donna Miller, and Bridget Degnen; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Josina Morita, Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia. There will be break-out sessions for attendees.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to lobbyist Steve Brown, the longtime former House speaker spokesman, and Peg Mosgers, a consultant and former Senate staffer, for correctly answering that Gov. Jim Thompson’s inauguration parade had been scheduled to march down Fifth Street in downtown Springfield, but bitterly cold temps drove it indoors to the Illinois State Armory. Thompson and his wife, Jayne, made the most of it, reviewing each of the high school bands that marched around the track.
TODAY’s QUESTION: The office occupied today by House Deputy Majority Leader Mary Flowers was once the “nurses’ station.” What was it before that? Email to [email protected].
State Rep. Ann Williams (11th), businessman and political fundraiser Les Coney, Duckworth comms director Ben Garmisa, Kasper & Nottage public affairs consultant David Dring, and Jennifer Allison, district director for state Sen. Dave Koehler.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
April 28, 2021 at 07:21AM