Good Monday morning, Illinois. I’m Daniel Payne, a POLITICO reporting fellow who’s taking over for Shia Kapos while she is away recharging this week. Headsup: In her absence, Illinois Playbook will publish Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Endorsements are pouring in for secretary of state candidates. Alexi Giannoulias and Anna Valencia are locking in several key backers more than a year before the 2022 election.
First in Playbook: The Painters District Council No. 30 — a union influential in the collar counties — is endorsing Giannoulias in the 2022 race this morning. The union’s director of governmental affairs, Beth Penesis, highlighted Giannoulias’ “track record of keeping working families at the center of his thinking when setting policies and reforming processes” in a statement.
“I will advocate for [union members] and fight for all Illinois workers who want nothing more than the opportunity to earn a fair wage, receive affordable healthcare and build a better life for their families,” Giannoulias said in a statement in response to the union’s endorsement.
Giannoulias isn’t the only one racking up union endorsements. Anna Valencia, Chicago city clerk also running for secretary of state, has also been endorsed by unions and other officials, including two other PDC groups — No. 14 and No. 58. UNITE HERE Local 1 is also endorsing Valencia, along with Rep. Lauren Underwood.
Fellow SOS candidate, Illinois Sen. Mike Hastings, was endorsed by the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters in March.
It’s not just unions lining up behind Giannoulias. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García endorsed Giannoulias yesterday, along with other notable Latino leaders: 22nd Ward Alderperson and Committeeperson Michael D. Rodriguez, President of 22nd Ward IPO Vanessa Uribe, state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr. (D-21st) and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda.
“Alexi represents a new generation of progressive leaders in the Democratic Party and has proven himself as someone who will stand up and fight for progressive values,” García said in a statement.
Giannoulias took the opportunity of both endorsements to underscore his progressive credentials.
“I’m honored to have the support of the heart and soul of the State’s progressive wing and the leaders of the progressive movement because they speak truth to power and advocate for Illinois families and community investment,” he said in a statement responding to García’s endorsement.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to sign a law establishing electoral maps that will affect elections for the next decade is a big deal — but for different reasons, depending on who you ask.
Republicans said it was the harbinger of an Illinois without democracy — and proof of a governor who lied to his constituents. (Pritzker promised in his 2018 campaign to veto maps drawn by politicians, like the ones approved Friday, which were drawn by Democrats.)
Democrats heralded the maps as a boon to democracy and highlighted the diverse electorate that would have power under the new structure. Pritzker defended the decision, saying an independent process to create the map doesn’t exist, adding that he would have vetoed an “unfair” map, the AP notes.
This is just Round One. The new maps will redraw the districts for the General Assembly and Supreme Court, but leave congressional lines while Democrats hold out for delayed census data.
Republicans argued that all the maps should be drawn using the new data, in a bipartisan way.
Illinois Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie told reporters the maps are a “blatant effort to kill democracy in Illinois,” adding that “Pritzker proved that his unequivocal word means nothing.”
Pritzker held the line.
“Illinois’ strength is in our diversity, and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government,” Pritzker said of the newly approved maps. “These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts.”
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 37 additional deaths and 342 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 22,949 fatalities and 1,385,245 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from May 30 through June 5 is 1.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 1.8 percent.
— Illinois recorded the fewest number of new Covid cases in over a year on Sunday: “The state had 342 new cases — a number lower than any other day since March 25, 2020. Those cases were diagnosed among the 38,386 tests, bringing the average statewide positivity rate to a record low of 1.2 percent,” the Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney reports.
— Which congressional districts have the highest (and lowest) vaccination rate: In Illinois, the percent of fully vaccinated people varies, from 29.65 percent in GOP Rep. Mary Miller’s district to 45.84 percent in Democratic Rep. Sean Casten’s — via Harvard’s Geographic Insights. The statewide average of fully vaccinated people is 42.48 percent, according to recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, and that percentage is higher among those 18 and older (52.3 percent) and those 65 and older (75.41 percent).
— Chicago workers are going door to door to improve vaccination rates: “City officials and community groups are again teaming up to do hyperlocal outreach efforts in 13 neighborhoods, mostly on the South Side, to boost COVID-19 immunizations this summer,” via WBEZ’s Becky Vevea.
— The Sun-Times’ editorial board: If it takes a free beer or lottery ticket to get everybody vaccinated, we say ‘Cheers!’: “We were never among the vaccine hesitant. But for those who were and still are, we favor whatever incentives it might take to change their minds, especially if they are among those Americans who run the highest risk of serious illness from the coronavirus. If a free drink, a $25 discount card or a shot at the lottery is what it takes to get people to do what’s good for us all, no problem,” the editorial board writes.
— State lawmakers don’t have a plan for billions in federal rescue funds: Until lawmakers come up with a plan for how to use about $5.5 billion — over two-thirds of the federal funds the state is about to receive — it will remain in state accounts, the Center for Illinois Politics’ Daniel C. Vock writes.
The money has to be used to directly aid citizens, derailing plans to pay back a $2 billion loan the state took from the federal government earlier in the pandemic. Comptroller Susana Mendoza pushed the Treasury to reconsider its standing rules, which also prohibit saving the money in a rainy-day fund. She argued that the borrowing was “essential for the continued performance of government services during the most challenging times for the state’s cash flow during the pandemic, all directly related to the COVID-19 crisis.”
This all comes as the federal government is poised to hand over Illinois’ portion of the rescue package in a bigger chunk compared to other states because of its high levels of unemployment.
There is a plan for some federal money, though — U.S. Dept. of Commerce to pump $1 million into Illinois tourism and hospitality: Part of the CARES Act, the money will go to the Illinois Council of Convention and Visitors Bureaus — especially targeting small businesses, WCIA reports.
— Illinois could be first state to prohibit cops from lying to kids during interrogations: Pritzker is expected to sign a bill prohibiting deception during interrogations of people younger than 18, via WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— As many states restrict voting access, Illinois expands it: That’s the assessment from the AP’s John O’Connor, who noted the affirmation and expansion of voting rights in the state, including voting by mail and allowing jail inmates awaiting trial to cast ballots. The legislation has been sent to the governor, who is expected to sign it after it sailed through the assembly through partisan votes.
— Sen. Turner speaks out about ‘slave masters’ social media post: “I have no regrets about it,” Turner said in Jordan Elder’s ABC 20 story. “The problem and some of what’s gotten lost on that is, as you know, Twitter will only allow you to do a specific number of characters.”
— Prominent attorney wants full list of problem religious order priests in Illinois made public: “Attorney Jeff Anderson is calling on bishops across Illinois to end the ‘dangerous deceit’ and release a full list of religious order priests with credible sexual abuse accusations against them,” the Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito writes.
— Retrial begins of former St. Louis officers accused in colleague’s beating: “Jury selection begins today in the retrial of two former St. Louis police officers accused in the attack on an undercover colleague during protests against police brutality in 2017,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Robert Patrick reports.
— Summer school? Parents and teachers are just saying no, despite COVID-19 learning loss and federal relief funds to pay for it: “Despite the chance to tap into the roughly $8 billion in COVID-19 funds heading to Illinois schools, officials at the south suburban district — where more than 99% of students are from low-income families — are finding it tough to recruit exhausted teachers and students after a grueling school year like no other,” the Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta writes.
Back at it — The Rev. Pfleger returns to St. Sabina pulpit after accusations of abuse dismissed: “The long-tenured South Side priest famous for his activism had been sidelined from the pulpit as the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated complaints by two brothers who alleged in January that Pfleger sexually abused them in the early 1970s when they were minors,” the Tribune’s Maggie Prosser writes. “Pfleger was reinstated after the archdiocesan board that investigates sexual abuse claims found “insufficient reason to suspect” he is guilty of allegations of abuse dating back more than 40 years.”
— Chicago parking meter investors rake in $13M in profit despite pandemic: “A new audit shows the profit came out of $91.6 million in meter revenue in 2020, down 33% from the year before,” the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.
— 58 shot, 5 fatally, in Chicago since Friday night: “Five people were killed and at least 53 others wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday night, including an 11-year-old girl who was shot Sunday night in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side,” the Sun-Times reports.
— Chicago Sheraton Grand Hotel to reopen today: “The massive hotel and event space has been closed since March of last year, but with the state about to fully reopen, the Sheraton Grand will finally be welcoming back guests,” ABC 7’s Jesse Kirsch reports.
Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin will speak about her office’s role in the pandemic on Facebook Live today. Conyears-Evans notably created a diversity scorecard to help determine the firms with which the city will do business, as reported by Crain’s Business last month. Her address is today at 11 a.m. on her Facebook page.
Illinois State University to give students a choice — shot or test: Students will either have to show proof of vaccination or participate in the campus Covid testing program. That could change — if one of the vaccines is available and receives full federal approval (not just emergency use authorization), ISU would consider requiring all students to get the shot, the State Journal-Register’s Lenore Sobota reports.
— Black Americans lag in Biden’s vaccine equity push, by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn
— Biden’s foreign policy: Reverse the Trump agenda but hit one similar note, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar
Today: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Peggy Chiampas, former VP Mike Pence, philanthropist and financier Lester Crown, government consultant and lobbyist Julie Currie, Allstate Corporate comms exec Claudia Banks, social media wizard Tracy Schmidt, and Young Invincibles’ Midwest partnerships coordinator Caitlin Briody.
Tuesday: state Sen. Laura Murphy (28th), state Rep. Tom Bennett (106th), 40th Ward policy director Geoffrey Cubbage, Peoria Convention and Visitors Bureau president J.D. Dalfonso, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago associate VP Patti Frazin, and UIC News Bureau associate director Carlos Sadovi.
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June 7, 2021 at 07:22AM