TGIF, Illinois. As you read this, I’ll be boarding a plane to visit family, including my mom, who I haven’t seen in 18 months. Feeling emotional.
While I’m away all week, you’ll be in the capable hands of Daniel Payne, who’s spent the past four months as a POLITICO reporting fellow and West Wing Playbook contributor. Say hello and send a news tip his way at [email protected].
Gov. J.B. Pritzker isn’t ready to announce a re-election campaign. “I haven’t made any decisions. I’ve been focused on a lot of other things over the last year,” he told Playbook Thursday. “I need to sit down with my family and have a serious conversation about it.”
Some elected officials around the country have decided not to seek re-election in 2022, having felt wiped out by the toll of managing the pandemic. Pritzker said that’s not an issue for him. “I’m a pretty resilient guy.”
Illinois Republicans, meanwhile, are trying to figure out how to challenge the popular, first-term governor in 2022.
As the Tribune notes in this analysis piece: “The GOP is still reeling after the single term of former Gov. Bruce Rauner, whom Pritzker easily dispatched in 2018. And the party is trying to decide whether to cling to former President Donald Trump as its leader in a state he twice lost by a lopsided 17 percentage points.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger addressed the same issue during a call with reporters Thursday. He said Illinois Republicans have a “ginormous problem” for 2022 in leaning too far right in primary elections, which makes them unsuccessful in statewide races where Democrats hold a major advantage.
“We’ve enacted a purity test,” he said, acknowledging there are folks in the GOP “trying to push me out.” The irony, of course, is that he’s got solid GOP credentials. “I consider myself moderate to conservative. If someone like me doesn’t belong in the GOP for telling the truth,” that’s a problem.
Kinzinger also weighted in on his election plans. For now, he expects to run for re-election — it’s his preference — but he’s not ruling out a statewide run given how congressional redistricting is still up in the air.
Watch for the debate about the energy bill in Springfield to ratchet up today.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, municipal officials and labor leaders is planning to hold a splashy press conference urging that two coal plants be exempt from decarbonization rules in the bill, which is generally seeking to promote cleaner forms of energy.
The group says the current version of the proposal could lead to closure of not-for-profit plants operated by City Water, Light & Power in Springfield and the Prairie State Energy Campus in Marissa.
They also warn that such a move would “raise utility bills on consumers, eliminate jobs, place new financial burdens on communities” that would need to find new sources of power, according to organizers.
That view is facing stiff opposition, including from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who told Playbook he is “not open to exempting” the coal plants. “The leaders have expressed their support for decarbonization and that was the last remaining issue, so I’m very hopeful we can get legislators back to Springfield and finally vote on it,” he told Playbook Thursday. He expects Republicans and Democrats to approve the bill “because we’re keeping the nuclear fleet operating and those are mostly in Republican districts.” More importantly, he added, “We’re going to become a leader in the nation in many aspects in fighting climate change. Illinois being a leader in that is a leap forward that we have not seen ever.”
Before the coal plants became a headline, the debate centered on how to fund Exelon nuclear plants so they wouldn’t shut down. That was resolved.
But the coal-plant debate leads lawmakers back to square one trying to negotiate a bill and folks at Exelon on edge as they lose money on the plants.
In an interview with reporters Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said “hopefully Springfield can work out something and I can do whatever I can on the federal level.” Four nuclear plants sit in his district.
State lawmakers have a few weeks to hammer out a deal before they return to the Capitol to vote on it.
No official public events.
No official public events.
At the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office at 10:30 a.m. to all attention to Gun Violence Awareness Day. At 2 p.m., she’ll be at the county’s Blue Island Health Center with Congressman Bobby Rush to mark plans to expand access to care in suburban Cook County.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 24 additional deaths and 674 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,865 fatalities and 1,383,739 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 27 through June 2 is 1.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 1.9 percent.
— Chicago will fully open June 11 with rest of the state: “Restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses will no longer have capacity restrictions, as the state moves into so-called ‘Phase 5’ of Gov. J.B.Pritzker’s reopening plan. Masks will still be required in certain places and for unvaccinated people,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea.
— Is 60 percent fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the end good enough in Illinois? "I have a feeling that we’re approaching that saturation point here," said logistics expert Hani S. Mahmassani, a Northwestern University professor. "Vaccination results are lower than we were hoping at this stage, especially given the availability of vaccine." Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke reports
Diana Rauner, wife of former Gov. Bruce Rauner, has been appointed to the state’s Early Learning Council, an advisory group. She was tapped by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who earlier this week took a jab at his Republican predecessor for not passing a budget during his term in office.
In our interview, Pritzker said: “I’ve known Diana Rauner for many years. I was a supporter of Ounce of Prevention,” an early-learning advocacy organization that is now called Start Early that Diana Rauner led for years. “It’s hard to put together a council of leaders of early childhood education without including Diana Rauner.”
That doesn’t mean that Pritzker and Bruce Rauner are any closer to being friendly. Pritzker said they don’t talk.
— Welch predicts House passage of bill creating 21-member elected school board in Chicago: “I like the bill because it’s a move towards a fully-elected school board,” House Speaker Chris Welch told the Sun-Times. “I’m a product of an elected school board and believe that elections work.” Fran Spielman reports.
— Lawmakers pass bills to close ICE detention centers, enhance deportation protections: “The Illinois Way Forward Act, or Senate Bill 667, requires that the existing agreements between local jails in McHenry, Pulaski and Kankakee counties and Immigration and Customs Enforcement must end by Jan. 1, 2022. The bill also prohibits any future agreements between ICE and local governments to ‘house or detain individuals for federal civil immigration violations,’” by Capitol News Sarah Mansur.
— "No Exit Bonus" bill means legislators will get only 1 day’s pay for 1 day’s work: “Legislators of both parties exploited a loophole in state law that allowed them to resign on the first day of the month and collect the whole month’s pay or get sworn in at month’s end but claim a whole month’s pay, according to Illinois State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. That ends with this legislation. ‘Waitresses and factory workers don’t collect a month’s pay for a day’s work, and legislators don’t deserve that luxury on the back of taxpayers,’ Mendoza said,” via WIFR.
— Class action suit seeks back raises for all legislators: The same day legislators finished voting for the budget, retired GOP Rep. Mike Fortner filed a class-action lawsuit on their behalf seeking back raises he and hundreds of other current and former legislators voted to decline. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza blasted him: “I respectfully suggest that this Professor of Particle Physics has sued the wrong person — he should sue himself. HE is the one who voted to deny himself a pay raise — not the Comptroller’s office. It’s not rocket science, Professor,” by WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.
… Political side note: Fortner is leading the remap for the Illinois House GOP.
Chicago automatically funnels some Black and Latino students into military-run courses: “Data obtained from the district show a clear pattern: automatic enrollment occurring at smaller high schools on the city’s South and West Sides that serve a mostly low-income student body. The city’s larger North Side high schools, where more students are white, have significantly lower percentages of freshmen enrolled in the program,” by Alex Ruppenthal in Chalkbeat.
— Black teen whose death sparked 1919 race riots set to receive grave marker 102 years later: Eugene Williams died at the hands of a white stone thrower at a segregated lakefront beach, sparking Chicago’s worst race riot. A group of concerned citizens has raised nearly $5,000 for a stone half ledger to be placed atop his grave in Lincoln Cemetery, by Tribune’s William Lee.
— Stadium authority lets city taxpayers off the hook, refinances $21.4M in Soldier Field debt: “The $660 million in bonds that funded Soldier Field’s renovation are paid off with city hotel tax revenue — but it was assumed that revenue would grow 5.5 percent a year. If not, Chicago taxpayers are supposed to make up the difference,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Some elected school board supporters push back on compromise effort: “Seven community organizations that backed an elected school board bill oppose the hastily passed bill that the Senate approved in an overtime session. The bill requires action from the Illinois House, which has adjourned for now but could reconvene in the coming weeks,” by Steve Hendershot for Chalkbeat.
— Prominent attorney wants full list of problem religious order priests in Illinois made public: “Attorney Jeff Anderson says the Archdiocese of Chicago has released the names of only two such priests. Anderson said there are more than 100,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— Breaking the cycle: “For three decades, the city has failed to cope with the loss of mental health clinics. The pandemic revealed the wounds of this disinvestment,” by F. Amanda Tugade in the Reader.
— Laquan McDonald’s uncle, Pastor Hunter, calls on Pelosi to convene hearings on police killings in Chicago: “In a letter dated May 25, 2021, Hunter, who is pastor of the Grace Memorial Church on Chicago’s West Side, briefed Pelosi on the murder of his 17-year-old great nephew” and the police officer’s conviction in the case, writes Chinta Strausberg in the Crusader.
— South Side home of blues legend Muddy Waters a step closer to city landmark status: The home in North Kenwood where the blues lived was granted preliminary landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks on Thursday. A great-granddaughter is converting the property at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. into The MOJO Muddy Waters House Museum, by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— How Stephen A. Douglas put Chicago on the map (and ruined his career): “Most famous for getting beat by Abraham Lincoln, the senator’s other local legacy is making Chicago the railroad hub of America — at immense cost,” by Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine.
— The Dovetail Project, an organization that supports young Black fathers and their children, has received an early Father’s Day gift: $100,000 from the Glasser and Rosenthal Family foundation. The gift goes toward a $600,000 matching challenge. So far, Dovetail has raised $350,000. If it can raise $250,000 more, it would receive an additional $150,000 from the match.
Cook County’s new public defender seeks more visibility — and money — for his office: “Mitchell said he wants to use his new position to make the case that a more powerful public defender’s office is just as important to structural change in the criminal justice system as ending cash bail or reducing the police department’s budget,” by Injustice Watch’s Josh McGhee.
No standard route from h.s. diploma to college degree. And the pandemic has added many detours: “For many CPS graduates, the college experience is far less straightforward than going to a four-year university or transferring from a two-year school. While many graduates enroll in two-year colleges as a ‘steppingstone,’ that’s not always how it works out. More than three-quarters of students in the CPS class of 2011 who went straight to a two-year college reported that they planned to complete at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the UChicago report. But only around one-fifth transferred to a four-year school,” by Tribune’s Hannah Leone
The latest on a new bill that will lead to a bunch of new pot shops opening in Illinois: “Your questions answered: How many new pot shops could open in Illinois? When? Who will own them?” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Republicans dive into politically fraught push for Covid’s origin story, by POLITICO’s Melanie Zanona and Andrew Desiderio
— How former government officials boost Amazon’s cloud computing unit, by POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman and Emily Birnbaum
— What makes Caitlyn Jenner run? Michael Kruse write in POLITICO magazine
— Jay Bhatt, a geriatrician and doctor of osteopathic medicine, has been awarded the Alumni Public Service Award by the Harvard Kennedy School. Bhatt previously served as managing deputy commissioner and chief strategy and innovation officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, LISC National President Lisa Glover and LISC Chicago Executive Director Meghan Harte headlined the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards held virtually and live Thursday at the Salud Center, Lathrop Homes and the 75th Street Boardwalk. The event celebrated community development projects and architectural achievements in Chicago. Honorees included the Cook County Land Bank Authority, We’re Steel Here!, Esperanza Brighton Park, 4400 Grove, Project FIRE, The Miriam Apartments Preservation Project, #CopsOutCPS, 75th Street Boardwalk on Restaurant Row, Williams Park Fieldhouse, Lathrop Homes and Oso Apartments.
José Luis Torrez, chair of the 14th Ward IPO and Rep. Marie Newman’s campaign chairman, and Yanira Vianey Solano, a constituent liaison for Newman, tied the knot June 1 at Zoe’s Patio (in the 14th Ward, of course). In attendance, along with Newman, were Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, state Rep. Edgar Conzalez, Ald. Michael D. Rodríguez and MWRD Commissioner Eira Corral Sepúlveda as well as Berto Aguayo. The wedding was performed by newly elected Cook County 14th Subcircuit Judge Perla Tirado. Another pic
Editor of JAMA leaves after outcry over colleague’s remarks on racism: “Dr. Howard Bauchner will step down after another editor suggested ‘taking racism out of the conversation’ on a journal podcast,” reports the New York Times. The Journal of the American Medical Association is based in Chicago.
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Rina Ranalli, event strategist and former editorial director at Chicago Ideas, for correctly answering that the Century of Progress homes were brought by barge to the Indiana Dunes, where they are a tourist attraction anew. h/t Mary Beth Hoerner for the question!
TRIVIA PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’re taking a break from trivia until Shia returns June 14.
Today: retired water commissioner Frank Avila, attorney and former City Hall insider Kevin Fanning, Good Realty Group President Sheldon Good, and PR pro Lynda O’Connor.
Saturday: Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, SPAAN Tech CEO Smita Shah, and Becky Hooper, constituent services representative for Rep. Lauren Underwood.
Sunday: Pritzker Organization Chairman and CEO Thomas Pritzker, CPS CFO Miroslava Krug, Schuld Bushnell Tank Co.’s Dave Stuaan, comms strategist Sally Duros, and Rev. Brian Smith of Chicago Theological Seminary.
June 4, 2021 at 07:36AM