Happy Wednesday, Illinois. We’re still catching up on sleep and the lingering effects of a legislative session gone wild.
It seems clear that Senate President Don Harmon is juggling some power dynamics in his Democratic caucus. The Senate held up three big bills in the final hours of the legislative session, showing how complicated it is to get a deal done.
Harmon put a brick on the budget plan that had been approved by his chamber and the House, preventing it from going to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. And he delayed getting the energy and Chicago elected school board bills across the finish line, too.
The budget maneuver was an apparent effort to pressure House lawmakers to return for some outstanding legislative business, some insiders said — mainly the energy and school board bills. It worked: Harmon lifted the brick, and lawmakers are already talking about returning to Springfield in a few weeks.
About the energy bill: Harmon frustrated lawmakers Monday when he put the brakes on the bill after an agreement was finally reached on how to help pay for Exelon’s nuclear power plants.
It turns out several members of Harmon’s Democratic caucus expressed concerns that the energy bill would jeopardize the Prairie State Energy coal plant under decarbonization rules set out in the bill.
Numerous towns finance the plant with municipal bonds, allowing them to own a share. They’re worried about bankruptcy if Prairie State can’t pay off its bonds.
Rather than Harmon and his team being pro-coal or anti-coal, the Senate president appears to have held up the bill to address those financial fears before the Senate approved it Tuesday.
The energy bill will go before the House when lawmakers return to Springfield.
The elected school board bill will be up, too.
The compromise measure came together over the weekend when Harmon, Welch, Senate sponsor Robert Martwick and House sponsor Delia Ramirez sat down and hammered out a deal. Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, who’s been representing the city of Chicago’s interests, wasn’t part of that discussion because she wasn’t carrying either of the main bills.
The Senate voted Tuesday 36 to 15 in favor of Martwick’s compromise bill. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s team is expecting to be part of negotiations in the lead-up to the House voting on it.
The bill calls for a 21-member board that starts as a hybrid (elected and appointed group) before evolving into a fully elected board.
It’s not what the city wanted. Lightfoot has said she wants more eligibility for undocumented people and more fiscal controls on Chicago Public Schools since the city pours some $500 million into it every year. Sen. Cristina Castro told Chalkbeat that the argument that undocumented immigrants would be excluded was “disingenuous.”
FROM THE TRIBUNE: Martwick called the passage about time, saying, “In 1995, when the full authoritarian control of the Chicago Public Schools was granted to one person, the mayor of the city of Chicago, their first act was to skip pension payments for a decade…This is what’s been done by a board that was not accountable to the voters.”
What Martwick left unsaid is that “it was state lawmakers who passed legislation giving then-Mayor Richard M. Daley permission to skip pension payments to teachers,” writes the Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart.
COUNTERPOINT: Lightford gave an "impassioned speech on the Senate floor, asking ‘what’s the rush?’ when advocates have already been pushing for an elected board for 15 years. She questioned the late addition of three elements of Martwick’s amended bill,” the Sun-Times reports.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker started his victory tour Tuesday after lawmakers finally sent the $42 billion state budget his way.
He’s planning to several stops around the state to talk about how the budget will affect average people.
“The budget, which was balanced with the help of more than $655 million in revenue raised by closing what Pritzker and his fellow Democrats call ‘corporate loopholes’ — changes Republicans label as tax hikes on businesses — also would spend roughly $2.5 billion of the more than $8 billion the state will receive from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan,” according to the Tribune’s legislative wrap-up by Dan Petrella, Bill Ruthhart and Rick Pearson.
Watch for that phrase, “closing corporate loopholes,” to pop up a lot as Pritzker eventually transitions his media stops from talking about the budget to talking about re-election.
What’s in the budget that lawmakers passed at 2 a.m., by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock
Republicans tired of the late-night budget passage trend, reports ABC/20’s Jordan Elder
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At Belmont Harbor at 10 a.m. for the groundbreaking of AIDS Garden Chicago, then at the Bryn Mawr Modernization track at 11:30 a.m. to kick off reconstruction of the Red/Purple Line improvement project.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported eight additional deaths and 401 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,835 fatalities and 1,382,587 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 25 through 31 is 1.6 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.0 percent.
THE FIFTY: Evanston fired up reparations talk with $25,000 checks. So who’s next? Your Playbook host talked to cities across the country about where they are in achieving reparations. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says Evanston “can be the model for other cities that want to step into the national debate.”
— Lightfoot logged some wins: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t getting exactly what she wants in the elected-school board legislation, but she did notch a few other successes in Springfield. A big priority was to see funding for a transit deal that will help fund the extension of the Red Line. The measure would extend the Red Line from 95th to 134th streets and streamline financing for the TIF to make sure the project can be funded. HB0417, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Burke and Sen. Robert Martwick, would strengthen the fiscal solvency of the Chicago Park District’s pension fund. And the mayor joins other municipalities in cheering that the state budget doesn’t cut the Local Government Distributive Fund, which helps direct money to cities and towns.
— A good roundup of bills that affect public school students, by WBEZ’s Susie An
— Bill seeking to ban sale of puppy mill pets in Illinois shops heads to Pritzker’s desk: “The bill would allow pet shop owners to offer cats and dogs for sale only if they are obtained from animal control facilities or shelters that comply with state regulations,” by WGLT-FM’s Christine Hatfield.
— RECAP: 6 measures lawmakers passed in final days of the session, by NBC/5
— Bill limiting immigration detention in Illinois advances to governor’s desk: “If signed into law, Illinois jails with existing contracts to house immigrants facing deportation would have to end the agreements with the federal government,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— Illinois on verge of removing carveout for sports betting on in-state schools: “Rita’s bill, though, would only allow for pre-game wagers made in person at retail sportsbook,” by SportsHandle’s Chris Altruda.
— Dramatic debate as lawmakers defeat bill that would have added officials to Capital Township: "With just hours left in the legislative session, House Democrats called a bill for debate that would add three elected positions to Capital Township. Over 20 minutes of debate followed, ultimately resulting in the bill failing to pass. Under House Bill 826 pushed by state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, and Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville, the township would get its own supervisor, assessor and clerk. Those roles are currently handled by the Sangamon County officials. The bill was defeated in a 52-46 vote with many Democrats voting present on the bill,” by State Journal-Register’s Ben Szalinski.
— Watch for Congressman Danny Davis to announce in the coming days that he’ll be running for re-election in the 7th Congressional district.
— John Cabello, David Vella to run for election in re-drawn Illinois districts, reports Rockford Register Star’s Jeff Kolkey
— Twin-Cities state Rep. Dan Brady mulling bid for statewide office, by Week.com’s Howard Packowitz
— Lightfoot accused of trying to lower the bar for City Council approval of a new ward map: “A map receiving at least 10 ‘no’ votes from aldermen triggers a referendum in which Chicago voters choose the map. Late in the spring legislative session, mayoral allies tried to reduce that approval threshold from 41 votes to 26,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Remap power play: Democrats are considering redrawing the 17th Congressional District "even more aggressively" in light of Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos’ exit, in a bid to save their House majority," Cook Political’s Dave Wasserman tweeted.
— City’s travel order has no restricted states for first time since July 2020: “Visitors to Chicago will no longer be required to quarantine or obtain a negative test result before arriving in the city due to reduced spread of the coronavirus across the country, public health officials announced Tuesday,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Alderman says mayor’s office put community at risk in new Mercy Hospital agreement: “A spokeswoman for the hospital’s new owner disagreed, saying Mercy will continue as a full-service community hospital through 2029, ‘and no one will ever be denied service because of their inability to pay,’” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos and Fran Spielman.
‘Incredibly unfun’ pot industry in Illinois is missing out. Here’s how that could change: “People want to smoke marijuana in places that they couldn’t before because it was taboo and illegal,” a cannabis consultant told the Sun-Times. “Just like a bar, just like coffee, this is a huge experiential thing.” By Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba
Madigan’s inner circle challenges bribery indictment, points to ‘fatal’ gaps: “Lawyers for the four close to Michael Madigan say their indictment fails to allege a necessary “quid pro quo.” Instead, they argue it’“loosely strings together an assortment of events over a ten-year period of time,’” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
Judge agrees to end Rod Blagojevich’s supervised release early following commutation: “A spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s office had said it would not oppose the request,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— How Cory Booker is wielding newfound Senate power, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine
— Infrastructure day: What to watch for in Biden’s one-on-one with Capito, by POLITICO’s national Playbook
— Biden allies urge Facebook to review spread of election fraud claims, by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima
— Her great-grandmother survived the Tulsa Race Massacre. She wants Biden to embrace reparations, by POLITICO’s Eugene Daniels
— SCOTT SIMON LOVES TRIVIA: The NPR reporter interviewed your Playbook host on his “Open Books” show. He’s a fan of the Trivia contest — he’s even won a few times — and wanted to know how we come up with questions. Answers were not revealed!
— TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas for correctly answering that Harry Leinenweber beat then GOP House Speaker Bob Blair in the general election under the three-member state house district configuration. Leinenweber is now a federal judge (and the husband of Lynn Martin, who was subject of trivia earlier this week).
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the priest that had an Illinois connection to the last rites of President John F. Kennedy and where is he buried? Email to [email protected]
State Rep. Delia Ramirez, finance associate Hannah Botelho, business consultant Sonya Jackson, attorney Pejman Yousefzadeh, syndicated columnist Clarence Page, and PR pro Lauren Pulte.
June 2, 2021 at 07:33AM