Good Thursday morning, Illinois. Mark your campaign calendars: The Bud Billiken Parade returns Aug. 15.
Republicans say you can thank GOP state Sen. Jason Barickman for steering the Democrats’ $42.3 billion state budget to the governor’s desk.
That unusual legislative twist came about after a 3 a.m. battle on the Senate floor that had Barickman, the Senate GOP’s floor leader, debating a surprise, out-of-the-blue amendment to a Democratic redistricting bill that shifted the circuit courts in St. Clair County and Lake County — the latter of which Minority Leader Dan McConchie represents.
Sources said Republicans hadn’t received any notice about the late-night amendment and were angry they couldn’t get answers from Democrats.
Later in the morning, GOP members were looking at the amendment online when they noticed a separate action: Harmon’s brick on the just-approved budget.
Putting a hold on the budget would have allowed Harmon to gain leverage on Pritzker in negotiating the controversial energy bill — not, as we mentioned yesterday, leverage with the House.
Republican senators realized they could force Harmon to release the budget by challenging his motion to hold it. That would have prompted an immediate vote. Harmon’s caucus would have to choose to either override his hold or send it back to the floor for another vote. Talk about a wild scenario given both Harmon and Pritzker support the budget — and Barickman doesn’t.
Before that occurred, Harmon approached Republicans.
Barickman repeated to Playbook what he told the Senate president: “I was just trying to free the budget from the political game by which it was being held hostage.”
Harmon then pulled the brick, and most members were none the wiser.
His move, however, fuels buzz about tension between Harmon and the governor. Pritzker’s team says not so. Harmon’s team didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Some history: Harmon and Pritzker started their political careers in the early 1990s in the Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, or DL21C. It was a political organization that served as a pipeline for up-and-coming Democrats.
Fast-forward to 2017 when Pritzker ran for governor — Harmon backed former state Sen. Daniel Biss instead. Last year, Pritzker backed Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford for Senate president over Harmon. All that adds to a frayed relationship.
Neither Pritzker nor Harmon will talk about that. And those close to them say they are united on all major issues — except, apparently, the energy bill.
Pritzker visits Peoria, says the city will benefit from the new state budget, by WMBD’s Janie Bohlmann
POLL: 48 percent of Chicago voters approve of Lightfoot’s job performance, according to polling by WGN.
Highlights: “Mayor Lightfoot’s approval is highest among younger Chicagoans aged 18-34 (64 percent approval). Meantime, disapproval of the Mayor is highest among those aged 35-49 — (59 percent disapprove).”
“Despite much publicized run-ins with members of City Council, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Teachers Union, Chicagoans generally trust Lightfoot,” report WGN/9’s Tahman Bradley and Jordan Muck.
This will certainly surprise the loud critics of the mayor who roam Twitter.
Polling on the governor: “With a battle for re-election looming next year, 64 percent of Chicago voters approve of the overall job Governor J.B. Pritzker is doing and 24 percent disapprove. This poll did not cover the governor’s job approval statewide.”
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported nine additional deaths and 478 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,842 fatalities and 1,383,065 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 26 through June 1 is 1.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.0 percent.
— Pritzker hints at a vaccine lottery as daily inoculation rate plummets: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker has already offered up free Six Flags tickets and shooting clays to try to get more shots into arms. On Wednesday, he signed a law that allows bars to dole out a free drink as an incentive. Now he said state lawmakers ‘paved the way’ for a potential lottery when they approved his $42 billion budget this week,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— Pritzker signs 3-year cocktails-to-go extension that includes ‘shot-for-a (Covid) shot’ provision, by Tribune’s Rick Pearson and Dan Petrella
— SCOOP: BACK TO SPRINGFIELD? House lawmakers are being polled by Democratic legislative staffers about whether they can return to Springfield during the week of June 21 to take up the energy and elected Chicago school board bills that didn’t get resolved in the spring legislative session that ended this week. Stay tuned.
— Lightfoot knocks elected school board compromise as ‘having nothing to do with democracy’ but says it’s ‘not real yet’: “Lightfoot pledged to keep fighting for a negotiated resolution that reflects ‘the realities and the necessities of CPS’ and planned engagement with ‘a range of community partners’ that have been weighing in on the school board issue. She called on those involved to ‘get back at the table in a concerted effort to listen to each other’ and put students and parents first,” by Tribune’s Hannah Leone and Gregory Pratt
... The mayor argued the Senate bill “would virtually exclude parents from competing in school board seats because there are ‘no controls around how much money gets spent’ on those races,” reports Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— ANALYSIS: Welch’s first session wielding speaker’s gavel: “Democrats say he did it with a ‘refreshing’ collaborative approach. But Republicans say, for them the new boss is the same as the old boss,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Follow-up to criminal justice bill on police concerns is now on the governor’s desk: Sen. Elgie Sims’ amendment to HB 3443 would act as trailer legislation for the SAFE-T Act, a major criminal justice reform backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus that was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in February. “Sims’ new legislation has the support of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois State Police and amends some controversial portions of the act that were opposed by law enforcement,” reports Capitol News’ Raymon Troncoso.
— Bills that failed to pass in the final days of the session: Among them: Parental notification for abortions, licensing for midwives, and reclassfying small amounts of drugs from felonies to misdemeanors. Capitol News’ Sarah Mansur reports.
— State’s new ethics rules under fire from unlikely source: “City Council’s ethics chief says a reform package approved by state lawmakers is considerably weaker than Chicago’s current rules for local officials,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— For lieutenant governor, bill making Illinois 1st to require Alzheimer’s training in health care is personal: “When Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton’s mother began to forget things, Stratton didn’t know the signs of Alzheimer’s. Her mother was undiagnosed until three years before her death, leading Stratton on a journey culminating with a pioneering bill that makes Illinois the first state to require Alzheimer’s training for health care professionals,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— WTTW’s political team, led by reporter Amanda Vinicky, analyzes the big stories from the General Assembly’s spring session.
— Lightfoot, alderman break ground on AIDS Garden Chicago at the Belmont Rocks: “When it’s complete, the 2.5-acre site will be home to a series of gardens designed for ‘reflection, education, honor and pride.’ The focal point is the 30-foot-tall Keith Haring sculpture installed in late 2019 and titled ‘Self-Portrait,’” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— INVESTIGATION: Tribune documents the destruction of 2020 unrest: More than 2,100 businesses were “damaged or ransacked” throughout Chicago from May 29 to June 4, 2020. Damage estimates to just 710 of the impacted businesses “totaled more than $165 million, though the true cost is certainly much higher,” by Todd Lighty, Gary Marx, Christy Gutowski and William Lee.
— Lightfoot says police tortured ‘at least 100’ Black Chicagoans, but her Law Department tells a different story: “A WBEZ review of Burge-related wrongful-conviction lawsuits found five in which the Lightfoot administration has addressed whether there was a torture pattern during the Burge era. In all five cases, the city has refused to admit it,” by Chip Mitchell.
— OBAMA’s SURPRISE VISIT to a South Side coffeehouse: “Five business owners had been privately meeting with Obama Foundation president Valerie Jarrett at South Shore Brew, a coffeehouse on the corner of 71st Street and Yates Boulevard. Obama walked in to gasps from onlookers. He pointed out how important the neighborhood is to his family. South Shore is the neighborhood where Michelle Obama grew up, and across the street from the coffeehouse is the South Shore Cultural Center where the couple married in 1992,” by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore.
— New deal gives Lightfoot unique control over old Mercy Hospital: “WBEZ on Wednesday obtained a copy of an agreement that outlines the new stipulations for Insight Chicago to operate what’s now called Insight Hospital & Medical Center. The agreement requires Insight to keep the hospital running as a non-profit through 2029 and to resume accepting ambulances in the emergency room. That stopped earlier this year as Mercy had been preparing to close,” Kristen Schorsch reports.
— Can Loretto Hospital rebuild trust after vaccine controversy and news of questionable business ties? “Community organizer Elce Redmond believes the vaccine debacle, combined with the questionable business relationships, have further eroded the community’s trust in Loretto. The business arrangements should be investigated, he said, especially given the hospital’s importance in the neighborhood,” reports Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— With ban set to expire, advocates hope rental assistance will stave off evictions: “The Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance Program application window closes June 8,” by WTTW’s Blair Paddock.
— Meanwhile, Good times rolling again for downtown apartment landlords: “The downtown apartment market hasn’t recovered completely from a brutal 2020, but landlords had a stunningly strong first quarter,” by Crain’s Alby Gallun.
— Back-aching work. Low pay. No health care: Here’s why restaurant workers aren’t coming back: “As society inches toward normal and diners fill tables and booths once again, a question has hovered over the restaurant industry: Where are the workers? From white-tablecloth destinations to casual neighborhood spots, business owners have decried a labor shortage that has led some restaurants to scale back menus and hours. Some need servers and bartenders. Others need dishwashers and cooks. Some need all of the above,” by Tribune’s Josh Noel.
— CPS launching anti-bias initiative and joining Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation: “Chicago Public School’s departing CEO Janice Jackson says a new program expected to launch this fall that will make it easier for students and teachers to report bias-based incidents marks her final contribution to a slate of civil rights initiatives she described as among the proudest achievements during her tenure,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.
— How facial recognition for fish might benefit Lake Michigan: Scientists are “working on classifying fish that pass through the system now to create algorithms that will recognize and identify various species with the eventual goal of replacing that step with artificial intelligence,” writes Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
With eye on Red Line South extension, Lightfoot breaks ground on next phase of North Side overhaul: “Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr will be rebuilt. The new stations will have wider platforms, brighter lighting and elevators. The century-old track structure connecting the four stations will be rebuilt,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— State lawmakers change election code to allow felon Roger Agpawa to serve as mayor of Markham: “The Illinois General Assembly Monday approved changes to state election law. The changes revise qualifications to hold municipal office by amending the Illinois Election Code and await Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature to become law,” by Daily Southtown’s Ted Slowik.
— Naperville to hire IT administrator to support police body camera program: “The body camera mandate outlined in the state’s new criminal justice reform legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2023, for Naperville officers — a deadline set based on the city’s population. But getting the technology up and running requires significant preparation to ‘ensure reduced risks, high quality and on-time delivery,’ IT Director Jacqueline Nguyen said,” by Daily Herald’s Lauren Rohr.
— St. Charles sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified nearly 80 years later: “Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Leslie P. Delles was aboard the USS Oklahoma, which was anchored at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, when the battleship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
Blackhawks face a 2nd lawsuit that alleges the team mishandled 2010 sexual assault claims: “The lawsuit filed by John Doe 2 states that he played hockey for Houghton High School in Michigan in 2013 and alleges he was sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich, the former Blackhawks video coach, in March of that year at an end-of-season gathering. Aldrich had been helping coach the team at that time, according to the complaint,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
— Dramatic reduction in Covid cases in last 5 months allows for states to reopen: “Vaccinations are unsurprisingly playing a large role in the decision-making process of each state. Across the top 10 most populous states (of which Illinois is sixth), percentages of populations that are fully vaccinated have been slowly increasing, currently hovering around 40 percent. In that list, Illinois is about average, with over 41 percent of its population fully vaccinated as of June 1,” via Center for Illinois Politics.
— Illinois moves up on LGBTQ Business Climate Index, but more work needs to be done: “Illinois moved up two points to No. 14 from last year on the 2021 LGBTQ Business Climate Index. The report, released by Out Leadership this week, measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBTQ community. New York ranked first and South Carolina came in last. Indiana, previously at No. 26, had the largest drop of all states and moved down 11 points to No. 37,” by Tribune’s Maya Mokh.
Brendan Shiller, a Chicago attorney and founder of the Westside Justice Center, will serve as counsel to the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus during negotiations on the remp. State law says the city must file its revised map by Dec. 1. Unlike the challenges faced by state legislators, who had to draw maps using census estimates, the city will have actual census figures to work with to draw the new ward boundaries.
State urged to start awarding new pot licenses in next 30 days, with hopes shops could open by the fall: “The governor’s chief cannabis adviser said issuing the licenses for up to 190 new shops could be done quickly,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— GOP lawmaker’s Jan. 6 rhetoric ‘distasteful and not excusable’ — but allegations he helped spark riot ‘unfounded’: “State Rep. Chris Miller said the legislative inspector general ‘exonerated me of all of the accusations’ and called for Democrats to rescind their condemnation of him. But the Democratic sponsor of that resolution said the Illinois House ‘clearly stands by’ its condemnation,” by Sun-Times’ Andrew Sullende.
— A website that’s become a hub for far-right extremists is run by a suburban Chicago man: “With almost 30,000 registered users, MyMilitia has become a central social media hub for far right extremists drawn to the idea that civilians have a duty to take up arms against a ‘tyrannical’ government. On the site’s community forums, users regularly traffic in baseless conspiracy theories and unfounded claims about a stolen election,” by WBEZ’s Odette Yousef
— SCOOP: What Biden told Capito in their Oval Office meeting, by POLITICO’s national Playbook
— Sources: Dem lobbying firm under federal investigation for Burisma work, by POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan and Daniel Lippman
— New York mayor’s race turns vicious at first in-person debate, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin
Community Investment Corp. gets a new leader: “Stacie Young will succeed Jack Markowski as CEO of the affordable housing lender,” by Crain’s Steven R. Strahler.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to MK Communications’ Brian Berg for correctly answering that Rev. James Thompson helped administer the last rites to President John F. Kennedy. Thompson is buried in St. Stephen Cemetery near Flora.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What artifact from the Chicago 1933 World’s Fair found a new home in Indiana? Email to [email protected]
State Sen. Jason Plummer (54th), Ald. Derrick Curtis (18th), Future Founders CEO Scott Issen, and Crain’s Executive Director Jim Kirk.
June 3, 2021 at 07:27AM