Happy Wednesday, Illinois. Lots to celebrate this month. Along with Juneteenth coming up (Illinois Playbook won’t publish this Friday to honor it, by the way), the state Capitol has raised a flag for Pride Month.
Labor leaders and environmentalists couldn’t agree on a few points of the clean-energy bill, so the state Senate adjourned without taking a vote. That’s created a domino effect, with Exelon standing by its threat to start closing nuclear plants — the legislation included a nearly $700 million bailout of three facilities operated by Commonwealth Edison.
“We are disappointed that a comprehensive climate and energy bill that would preserve Illinois’ largest source of clean energy failed to pass… Absent quick passage of legislation, Exelon has no choice but to proceed with retiring Byron in September and Dresden in November, as previously announced,” Exelon said in a statement to Playbook.
It’s a warning of what’s at stake. The clean-energy bill is legislation that if/when passed will fund renewable energy, improve labor and equity standards, and potentially create thousands of jobs in wind, solar and energy efficiency. Exelon’s role in all that is to keep nuclear plants running as the state builds a bridge to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
So if waiting a few extra weeks to resolve how to step down the use of natural gas and coal plants, then supporters are willing to wait.
“We’re this close to reaching that agreement, and I’m confident that we will get that done,” Senate President Don Harmon said after the working group failed to come to an agreement on a bill put forward by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and a separate one by Harmon’s team. Lawmakers were driving home from Springfield in time for dinner.
As close as they are, disappointment by leaders of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition was palpable. In a statement, the umbrella group of environmentalists, solar companies, faith-based leaders, health organizations and others said: “Thousands of union workers and solar installers may now lose their jobs, while the climate crisis worsens, and Black and Brown communities continue to struggle. We are deeply disappointed that the Senate adjourned without taking action on a carbon-free energy future — but stand ready to enact the governor’s plan as soon as possible.”
Harmon said environmentalists and labor folks would jump back into negotiations to hammer out the natural gas stepdowns (the final sticking point in reaching a deal), and lawmakers could return as soon as that’s settled.
His words echoed comments he made June 1, after the General Assembly adjourned, unable to reach an agreement. But sources familiar with the talks expect they could return for a vote within a few weeks.
Tribune’s Dan Petrella reports: The inability to land a deal for Pritzker’s goal of 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050 is seen “as a sign of a growing disconnect between the legislature and the Democratic governor.”
— LAST TRY TO DELAY ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD BILL: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot met with members of the House Black Caucus on Tuesday, hoping to convince them to hold off on supporting a bill that will allow an elected school board in Chicago. Lawmakers were sensitive to her concerns, though the bill is expected to get more than the 60 votes it needs today to pass. The Senate has already approved a bill that would allow a hybrid elected/appointed board starting in 2025 and then a fully elected board by 2027.
House Black Caucus leader Kam Buckner is already working on a trailer bill that could be filed by week’s end to address some of Lightfoot’s concerns — including the absence of caps on campaign financing and the current “citizenship test” that she said would disenfranchise undocumented Chicagoans. “This is about equity and bringing Chicago up to snuff with the rest of the state. We’re the only city that doesn’t have an elected school board. If democracy is good for a child in Elgin or Elmhurst, it should be good enough for a child in Englewood,” said Buckner.
— ALSO FROM SPRINGFIELD: Pritzker uses amendatory veto on state’s budget: “State senators voted Tuesday afternoon to agree with Pritzker’s changes. Members of the House will also need to agree to the changes before the bill can go into effect,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Senate fails to pass in-state college sport betting bill but could still come up for a vote during a veto session in November, via WEHT TV.
An official from the White House called Mayor Lori Lightfoot shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday after seeing a report about the mass shooting that killed four people. It’s the third such shooting in Chicago in a little over a week, according to the Sun-Times.
During an unrelated press conference, the mayor acknowledged getting the call. She said the discussion centered on how the federal government can “step up” to help Chicago and other cities that have seen an increase in violence.
The mayor also repeated her plea for more federal gun legislation and federal gun reform. Lightfoot has repeatedly expressed concern that much of Chicago’s gun problem stems from illegal guns coming from Indiana, which has lax gun laws.
The White House call wasn’t completely out of the blue as the new administration has been in regular contact with Lightfoot’s office — and city halls around the country — wanting to offer help and assistance when possible.
A phone call is always nice, but Lightfoot is hoping it leads to action.
The mass shootings have businesses, community concerned as city reopens from pandemic, report ABC/7’s Craig Wall and Sarah Schulte
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At the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library to make what the governor’s office said is "a historic announcement on Juneteenth in Illinois."
No official public events.
At Daley Plaza at noon with Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Martinez and Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans for a Juneteenth celebration.
— The Illinois Department of Public Health says the number of Covid-19 cases in the state are continuing to drop, and the state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests remains under 1 percent. Going forward, IDPH will offer detailed data only on Fridays. Chicago’s positivity rate on Tuesday was at 1.0 percent.
POSITIVE ENERGY: Senate Democrats on Tuesday showed their support for Sen. Laura Ellman, who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in late March. She’s been undergoing chemo, which compromises her immune system and requires her to participate remotely in legislative action. Each time she votes, lawmakers hear: “Ellman votes yes.” Sens. Tom Cullerton, Chris Belt and Ram Villivalam all had a hand in the idea for the Democratic caucus to wear T-shirts in her honor. Cullerton’s wife, Stacey, designed it. Ellman told Playbook she was “completely surprised.” Though it wasn’t the first gesture from her fellow lawmakers. “Dozens of senators have sent warm wishes, flowers, food, generosity and warmth,” she said.
Tiffany Moy has been named chief of staff to House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. Moy has served as issues development director since January and was the unit’s deputy director before that. She is the first person of color in this position. In a statement, Welch said Moy’s appointment shows his office’s “continued commitment to uplift a new generation of leadership that reflects the diversity of our state.” Welch said Moy “understands the legislative process, but even more so, Tiffany knows the issues that matter most for working families throughout the state.” Moy replaces Jessica Basham, who served as chief of staff to Welch and former Speaker Michael Madigan.
— Mayor agrees to a midnight cutoff on liquor sales after pushback on 10 p.m. curfew proposal: “Lightfoot introduced the new regulations as part of a package of initiatives she said was designed to help Chicago businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Lightfoot and city’s top cop trash Kim Foxx for challenging CPD’s gun arrest priorities: “A data presentation from Cook County’s top prosecutor raised apparently unwelcome questions about who CPD is arresting for gun crimes,” by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
— Black life expectancy gap in Chicago continues to get worse, report finds: “From 2012 to 2017, the life expectancy gap between Black residents and non-Black residents grew from 8.3 years to 9.2 years, a report released Tuesday found,” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramow.
— Lightfoot to Chicagoans: Pick up that trash: “Chicago’s coming-out party left its mark on beaches and in parks. ‘I’m an old Girl Scout,’ the mayor said. ‘I believe when you’re out there, you leave the environment better than when you found it. And that means picking up trash,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— UIC receives $40M donation, the largest single gift in school history, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, according to the university.
… And Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art gets $8M: The unrestricted money came from the philanthropist and her husband as part of their well-publicized donations of $2.74 billion, given to hundreds of organizations their charity team identified as equity-oriented, nonprofit projects working in areas that have been neglected. Tribune’s Doug George reports.
— Nearly half of CPS students are Latino. Should the next CEO be? “The City Council Latino Caucus urged Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a letter Tuesday to choose a Latino for the position,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa and Fran Spielman.
— Affordable-housing deal picked for city-owned land near Harold Washington Library: “The team will build 207 units, provide space for minority-owned restaurants and kick in $2 million for Pritzker Park,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
— Alligator Records celebrates 50th anniversary in ‘home of the blues’: “The Edgewater-based record label has a roster of blues legends including Koko Taylor, Lil’ Ed Williams, Shemekia Copeland and former CTA bus driver Toronzo Cannon, among many others,” by Sun-Times’ Evan Moore.
— Politics of murals: Chicago Sun-Times editorial board member Ismael Perez talks to City Cast host Jacoby Cochran about Chicago murals and the politics around them. Perez recently wrote an editorial “Chicago should take such pride in its wealth of murals, and yet, they are being defaced." He and Cochran tour two of those defaced murals in Pilsen. Their discussion starts 2:35 into the podcast.
— House music heading back to ‘hoods where it all began, as city announces new summer series, by WTTW’s Patty Wetli
— Rockton chemical fire could take 7 days to burn out: “As the fire at Chemtool Inc. in Rockton continued to burn Tuesday, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency cited violations by the company of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations related to the fire and the release of pollution into the atmosphere,” by Tribune’s Navya Gupta and Sarah Freishtat.
— Data shows pandemic’s impact on Kane County commuting, transportation plans: “The Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning compiled the data, which Kane County Division of Transportation officials shared with county board members Tuesday. It shows truck traffic is up nearly 20 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Board member Drew Frasz pointed to a high volume of what appear to be Amazon and FedEx package deliveries streaming from facilities on Route 38,” by Daily Herald’s James Fuller.
— Churchill Downs: ‘Strong proposals from numerous parties’ to buy Arlington Park: “The brief statement from Churchill Downs Inc. came just minutes after a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for developers to submit initial plans and offers for the 326 acres of prime real estate at Euclid and Wilke roads,” by Daily Herald’s Christopher Placek.
— Cicero man seeks answers after brother detained by ICE: “Carmelo Martinez, 34, of Cicero, said that even with a change in the White House, it seems like the immigration laws have remained the same,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— Wives of Chicago twins who helped convict El Chapo charged in money laundering case: “The former head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Chicago said the women betrayed the U.S. government, which got them out of Mexico after their husbands agreed to cooperate against Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel and Frank Main.
— Illinois man brings suit against rum maker for fraud: “Mike Tedeschi filed a class action complaint on June 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York again Diageo North America, which manufactures Ron Zacapa 23 Centenario Rum. The suit alleges consumer fraud, deceptive business practices and breaches of express warranty and implied warranty of merchantability,” by Legal Newsline’s Christina Heath.
Once-in-a-decade plan aims to tackle equity gaps and reverse ‘financial trauma’ at Illinois colleges, universities: The Illinois Board of Higher Education’s goals include revamping state funding for public universities, improving graduation rates for students of color and retaining top talent to feed the state’s workforce needs. “The pandemic certainly laid bare the inequities that were underlying some of the issues that were driving our focus of the plan anyway — these lagging completion and attainment rates, particularly for Black, rural and low-income students,” IBHE Chair John Atkinson said. Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney reports.
Ken Griffin, the Chicago billionaire and campaign donor, is teaming up with former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, but it’s not for anything political.
Griffin is lead funder of Data Science for Everyone, a national initiative to advance data literacy in K-12 schools.
"In the 21st century, data science literacy is a foundational building block of a well-rounded education. It unlocks our ability to see and understand the world," Griffin said in a statement about the project. "This pathbreaking initiative will equip generations of students with the analytical skills they need to compete in any field they choose.”
Co-funded by Schmidt Futures, Data Science for Everyone was created by the University of Chicago Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change and inspired by economist Steve Levitt’s Freakonomics podcast on high school math.
Levitt and Duncan, whose name often pops up as a potential mayoral candidate, are among more than 160 education leaders, policy makers and industry partners who have urged the Biden administration to make data literacy education a national priority.
THE FIFTY: Our headline says it all: "The year that broke America’s mayors." The unprecedented confluence of Covid-19 and racial strife that touched nearly every aspect of human life has made city leaders across the country think twice about staying in politics, reports POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky.
— Bipartisan support for Lincoln’s Home: Republican Reps. Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Democratic Rep. Chuy García (IL-04) are introducing legislation to expand the boundaries of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield and improve area infrastructure, according to a statement from LaHood’s office. The legislation would expand the boundary of the Lincoln Home National Historic site to include a replica 1844 Lincoln cottage and the Elijah Iles home. The bill would also require the National Park Service to increase the height of the road in front of the Lincoln home and at the intersection of 8th and Jackson to provide greater accessibility within the existing Lincoln Home site.
— Rep. Brad Schneider says he won’t try to censure Greene after her public apology: “Marjorie Taylor Greene addressed reporters outside the Capitol on Monday after visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum. She said that she was sorry for offending people and ‘there’s no comparison and there never ever will be,’” via Fox News.
— Sen. Tammy Duckworth dines with the VP and all the women senators: Vice President Kamala Harris hosted all 24 of the nation’s women senators at her Washington D.C. residence yesterday — 16 Democrats and eight Republicans. We caught a glimpse of Duckworth on Twitter. Pic!
— 5 things to watch for during the Biden-Putin summit, by POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi
— ‘Shocking failure’: Pentagon and FBI come under fire for Jan. 6 response, by POLITICO’s Nicholas Wu, Nick Niedzwiadek and Josh Gerstein
— How a Trump ally rode Trump’s election fraud lie to political prominence, by POLITICO’s David Siders
Eric Zorn leaving the Tribune: “Eric Zorn, a mainstay of the Chicago Tribune for more than 40 years and one of its most prominent progressive columnists, just became the latest to join the exodus of top talent from the newspaper,” reports Robert Feder.
Zorn announced his exit in his newsletter, saying, “I’ll miss not weighing in on the trials of Jussie Smollett, Ald. Ed Burke, Kyle Rittenhouse and, I hope, ex-president Donald Trump. I’ll be like an old firehorse at the sound of the bell not having a pulpit during what promises to be wild elections in 2022, 2023 and beyond. But there will always be more to say, and there will be a new generation coming along to say it.”
Buona sera: Lissa Druss got the big applause during Monday’s fundraiser for Los Angeles mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino: Druss, a public affairs consultant and member of the Milan Chicago Sister Cities program, greeted Buscaino and his son, Matteo, with a welcome speech spoken in Italian. Also attending: Gibson’s Restaurants czar Steve Lombardo, Walgreen’s exec Donovan Pepper, strategic adviser Kevin Conlon, architect Joe Antunovich, Democratic committeeperson Dean Maragos and Rev. Leslie Sanders. Co-hosts: Ald. Gil Villegas, former Ald. Joe Moore and public affairs specialist Fred Lebed.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Lori Cowdrey Benso, attorney with McClain & Canoy, and Luis Narvaez, project manager for Chicago Public Schools, for correctly answering that former Ald. Joe Moore was the longest-serving alderman in 49th Ward history, having served 28 years. Runners up, clocking in at 15 years, were Frank Keenan and Paul Wigoda, both of whom ended their political careers in jail.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which statewide constitutional office has Pat Quinn not (yet) run for? Email to [email protected]
Businesswoman and former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate Willie Wilson, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Griselda Vega Samuel.
June 16, 2021 at 07:30AM