Happy July, Illinois. A nice amount of humor and schmaltz in the Budweiser ad promoting Independence Day.
NEW THIS MORNING: “Top Trump Executive Allen Weisselberg Surrenders to Face Charges,” by The New York Times’ Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Jonah E. Bromwich
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook will not publish Monday, July 5. After the brief hiatus, we’ll be back on our normal schedule on Tuesday, July 6.
Illinois’ cannabis industry is still on hold.
A bill passed by the General Assembly in May that would correct discrepancies in the lottery process is sitting on the governor’s desk waiting for him to sign it. The national accounting firm KPMG continues the meticulous process of checking applications for dispensaries. And the manufacturing end of the cannabis industry is on hold, too: licenses for craft grow, infusion and transportation, which were supposed to have been distributed July 1 last year, have yet to be handed out.
So here we are again on July 1, and you have to wonder whether minority operators will be operational before the end of the year. By the time all the kinks are worked out, more established firms in the industry will have had a two-year head start compared to any Black or brown operators starting up a dispensary.
It’s a point recognized by the Pritzker administration. “It’s a lengthy process because we are giving applicants multiple times to submit corrections [to their applications] so we have as many social equity applicants as possible when we have a lottery,” a Pritzker administration source said. “It’s a long process but at the end of the day, we want as many people as possible to be able to take part.”
That’s just to get into the lottery. Those who win licenses then must raise capital, work with zoning officials and build a facility.
“I echo the frustration of applicants across the state who thought they’d be breaking ground on their facilities by now,” said Ron Holmes, a cannabis lobbyist and co-founder of Majority-Minority Group consulting firm, which has advised applicants for new licenses.
In spite of the rancor that KPMG caused in the first lottery process, the accounting firm is still on contract to oversee the applications for subsequent lotteries. It’s going through “deficiency notices” — corresponding with applicants who need to fix their applications to be eligible.
So the waiting game for the lotteries continues. “At this point,” Holmes said, “there is no clear timeline as to when Black and brown folks will be able to start growing and distributing their own products.”
The divisions among Illinois Republicans were on full display yesterday, and Donald Trump was at the center.
In Washington, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger voted with Democrats to create a 13-member panel to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection that will likely shine a light on the role the former president played in inspiring the rioters.
Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming were the only Republicans to vote for the investigative committee that will examine the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.
“We need a full accounting of what happened,” Kinzinger said in a statement. “We need answers on who was involved in the insurrection and who played a role in orchestrating it.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will make recommendations on which Republicans might sit on the committee, but it’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has the final say. Democrats are concerned that far-right Trump acolytes will get a seat on the panel just to hijack the process.
Speaking of acolytes: Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller was a no-show for the vote. Instead, she joined Trump for his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
The trip was meant to call attention to the Biden administration’s immigration policies, but of course, Trump spent a good deal of time making false assertions that the 2020 election as stolen from him, reports POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers.
Still, it offered the Republicans a first-hand look of life on the border. Miller “looked visibly upset” as she heard the story of an 8-year-old traveling by himself to meet his mother and brother in the United States.
“I want to cry,” Miller told The Hill as she surveyed the growing crowd of children around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. She took a moment to blame the situation on Biden but then acknowledged, “The world wants to come to our great country, the land of freedom and opportunity. True, we have warts, we’re not perfect, there’s no utopia.”
The trip was a dry run for 2022 and, maybe, a future Trump campaign. It also signals the challenge that Republicans will have trying to manage a force in the party that continues to promote conspiracy theories about 2020 while much of the GOP hopes to move on. In Illinois, that has Kinzinger and Miller at odds.
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At Painters District Council #14 at 1:30 p.m. to celebrate the historic raise to $15 an hour minimum wage in Chicago.
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Biden admin redoubles Covid testing efforts as Delta variant spreads: “Federal health officials are weighing how to implement the lessons they have learned from this pandemic to prepare for the next one,” by POLITICO’s David Lim.
— BIG SUN-TIMES TAKEOUT: Lightfoot’s troubles put her under harsh spotlight — as mayor’s office becomes shadow of what it was: “Mayor of Chicago once was all-powerful job that made Richard J. Daley a kingmaker. But Lori Lightfoot is losing her absolute control over Chicago Public Schools and, possibly, over the Chicago Police Department,” writes Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
… Spielman also lists the names of potential challengers to Lightfoot: former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Rep. Mike Quigley, CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, and City Clerk Anna Valencia, who’s now running for Illinois secretary of state.
… Lightfoot says criticism of her temperament is ‘about 99%’ because she’s a Black woman, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt
— Aldermen call special City Council meeting to pressure Lightfoot, Brown on crime spike: “It is the second time this year that alderpeople have called an emergency meeting of the City Council over Lightfoot’s objections. It will be held virtually. Members of the City Council have had ample opportunity to hear from Brown and his team on efforts to reduce violence, including three formal briefings since April, Lightfoot said in a statement,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Chicago-based FreightCar America got a $10M PPP loan, then moved manufacturing jobs to Mexico: “Many American businesses received millions in federal pandemic aid intended to protect workers, but exploited loopholes and rule changes to lay off those employees anyway,” by ProPublica’s Lydia DePillis.
— Interim CPS CEO to be paid 12% more than Janice Jackson with subsidized housing, relocation stipend: “If Jose Torres’s stay at CPS lasts one month as intended, he’ll have made $28,000 in salary by the start of August,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— Ida B. Wells monument is unveiled in Chicago and a neighborhood turns out, admiring, wondering, embracing it as their own, writes Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli
— Asteroid Day is a celebratory one for the Field Museum, whose scientists just classified a rare meteorite, by Tribune’s Mariah Rush
— Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proceeding as though he’s Tokyo-bound, reports POLITICO’s Tina Sfondeles in West Wing Playbook. “He has been meeting with Ivo Daalder — president of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO — who has organized briefings for him with experts on Japan’s economy, military, national security and U.S.-Japan affairs. And he’s met with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.”
— Debra Shore, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, is a finalist to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chicago-based Midwest office. “I am honored to be considered,” she told Playbook. The race for the Region 5 job, which does not require Senate confirmation, “has been unusually public, with Democratic lawmakers, union officials and even rank-and-file EPA employees openly lobbying for either of two contenders,” reports Alex Guillén in POLITICO’s Morning Energy newsletter. Shore and Micah Ragland, comms director at DTE Energy in Detroit, are finalists. EPA Administrator Michael Regan revealed he “spent time with two top candidates” this week, though he did not confirm they were Ragland and Shore. “I don’t have a specific timeline in terms of how we navigate the personnel process, but we’re pushing as fast as we can,” he said.
— Parts of criminal-justice reform law, drafted after George Floyd’s death, take effect: “Beginning Thursday, police in Illinois must track and report to the state when they respond to incidents involving mental-health crises, shoot their guns at people or use force that results in death or serious injury,” by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.
… Foxx says more education needed to push back against critics of new law that ends cash bail in 2023, by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— All-elected Chicago school board cleared for Pritzker’s signature: Though sponsoring Rep. Delia Ramirez and Mayor Lori Lightfoot met last week to discuss the possible trailer bill, “no immediate action on that front is expected. According to Luis Carrizales, Ramirez’s chief of staff, ‘We do not expect language to be ready before the fall veto session,’” reports Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Illinois overpaid millions in unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Now there’s a way for people to keep the money, reports Tribune’s Robert Channick.
— Lawmakers ‘horrified’ and calling for action on Illinois prison abuse: “Lawmakers and advocates are calling for outside oversight of the Illinois Department of Corrections after a WBEZ investigation revealed a pattern of alleged beatings by guards in an area of Western Illinois Correctional Center where there was no video camera coverage,” by WBEZ’s Shannon Heffernan.
— Morris mayor says officials were unaware battery business was operating in building that’s still on fire: “Fire Chief Alicia Steffes said it quickly became apparent Tuesday that typical firefighting efforts to extinguish the blaze would not work because the warehouse was being used to store lithium batteries, which explode when exposed to water….Rain showers Tuesday night only made a bad situation worse,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Mattie Prosser and Sarah Freishtat.
Rep. Dan Brady continues to explore run for Illinois secretary of state: He’s “traveling the state and networking with activists, county party chairs and donors to see if it’s possible to put together a winning coalition first in a GOP primary and, if successful, the general election against a Democrat that’d likely be favored in deep blue Illinois,” reports Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore.
— The only Trump-era achievement Democrats are eager to replicate: “As police reform talks edge closer to collapse and Democratic priorities from gun control to immigration stall, the Senate is chugging ahead on an overhaul of the U.S. criminal justice system that advanced under Trump. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described criminal justice reform as a “personal priority” for himself and his GOP counterpart, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley,” by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Rep. Bobby Rush is introducing legislation that would encourage primary care doctors to work in medically underserved communities (including his 1st District) by instituting full loan repayment for professionals who practice in those areas. The bill goes farther than the federal aid that’s offered now, with the goal being to cover the cost of medical school.
… Rush also is introducing a measure that would make insulin free for Medicare and Medicaid recipients. His proposal comes on the heels of a bill passed in the Illinois General Assembly that caps insulin costs at $100 per vial but only applies to Illinoisans with state-regulated insurance plans. Rush’s bill would provide relief for some of the most vulnerable populations of diabetics, he said in a statement.
— How much is a Cabinet post worth? “The bribery trial of Paul Manafort’s [Chicago] banker could hinge on a debate about the value of top federal jobs,” writes POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.
— Illinois high court reinstates speedy trial rules effective this fall, ending pandemic allowances: “In addition, the higher court ordered Wednesday that individual county court systems are now able to determine their own social distancing guidelines or eliminate them entirely, as the pandemic appears to wane. But it is the speedy trial issue that has caused much uncertainty among attorneys, judges and defendants alike. The restored deadlines will again give defendants significant leverage to take cases to trial,” reports Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.
— Lawsuit accuses Evanston/Skokie School District 65 of discriminating against white teacher through race-based policies: “Stacy Deemar, who is white, says in her complaint the district has used teacher training sessions to segregate and impugn white people, calling them inherently racist and privileged, and has compelled teachers to pass on those lessons to children,” by Tribune’s John Keilman.
— NCAA lifts athlete endorsement rules as states scramble to court players, by POLITICO’s Juan Perez Jr.
— Powell and Biden link arms for America’s inflation summer, by POLITICO’s Victoria Guida
— ‘Not a healthy environment’: Kamala Harris’ office rife with dissent, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago, Daniel Lippman and Eugene Daniels
REMEMBERING RUMSFELD: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies at 88: “The Illinois native launched a campaign for Congress in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, winning in 1962 at the age of 30 and getting reelected three times. He was a leading co-sponsor of the Freedom of Information Act… Rumsfeld served as Pentagon chief under both Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush,” by POLITICO’s Paul McLeary and Myah Ward.
Images of Rumsfeld through the years, from the Daily Herald
Opinion | The Don Rumsfeld the obituaries won’t write about: “They loved him when things were going well. They blamed him when things went bad. And he never complained,” writes Matt Latimer for POLITICO. “He never forgot the type of people who looked down on the kid from suburban Illinois who got into Princeton on an ROTC scholarship.”
Secretary of State Jesse White took center stage Tuesday for his annual fundraiser for the Jesse White Scholarship Fund, which benefits current and former members of the Jesse White Tumblers. White started the team in 1959 to veer inner-city kids away from gangs and drugs. More than 250 attended at Carmine’s on Rush Street for the event that poured out into the street to watch the tumblers perform. Along with Ald. Walter Burnett, who played host, Ald. Pat Dowell and former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, were seen in the crowd. They’re both running for White’s seat. He’s retiring from government, but not the tumblers.
— Brian Kaissi is now chief of staff to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi. He previously was deputy chief of staff and senior adviser.
— Mark Schauerte is director of the Speaker Series at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He previously was Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s chief of staff.
— Rachel French is joining Health Care Service Corp. As lead Public Relations and Media Affairs consultant. HCSC is the umbrella company for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois. She most recently was manager of Community Relations and deputy press secretary for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
— Ashlee Jordan is joining the Georgetown Institute of Politics. She will be assistant director of programming and previously was civic engagement program coordinator for the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
— Cooley, a “Big Law” firm, has added three litigation and privacy partners to the 10 partner launch team that opened its Chicago office last month. Matthew Kutcher arrives at the firm from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and will focus on white collar defense and investigations, securities and general commercial litigation; Bobby Earles’ business litigation practice will focus on private equity, venture capital and M&A‐related disputes; and Lei Shen has joined the cyber/data/privacy practice where she will counsel clients on a range of global data privacy and security issues
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to comms consultant Jim Bray and Erikson Institute Associate professor Jon Korfmacher for correctly answering that Mother Bickerdyke sometimes deliberately ignored military procedure, and when Ulysses S. Grant’s staff complained about her behavior, Union Gen. William T. Sherman reportedly threw up his hands and exclaimed, “She outranks me. I can’t do a thing in the world.”
TODAY’s QUESTION: Helmut Jahn is well known for his architectural work in Chicago, the suburbs and around the world. But what are the two designs he constructed downstate, south of I-80? Email to [email protected]
Lori Roper, an attorney supervisor with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.
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July 1, 2021 at 07:29AM