GOP’s VAX CULTURE CLASH — EXELON: ‘THIS IS NOT A BLUFF’ — CASTEN CHANNELS FERGIE

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GOP’s VAX CULTURE CLASH — EXELON: ‘THIS IS NOT A BLUFF’ — CASTEN CHANNELS FERGIE

Happy Thursday, Illinois. It really is infrastructure week.

Tweets and videos are putting the vaccine culture wars on full display. Some elected Republicans are speaking up in favor of getting the vax, while three GOP gubernatorial candidates say they haven’t been vaccinated — and probably won’t be.

Congressman Rodney Davis tweeted “Please, get vaccinated. They’re safe and effective. Do it to protect your health and that of those around you so we can finally end this pandemic.” And just to be totally frank, he added, “Don’t give @JBPritzker an excuse to shut the economy down again.”

State Rep. Avery Bourne tweeted a picture of herself getting the vaccine, saying “I’m vaccinated & I encourage others to get vaccinated too.”

Meanwhile, a video surfaced (h/t Mark Maxwell) of a GOP campaign forum where gubernatorial candidates were asked if they had been vaccinated. Only former Republican state Sen. Paul Schimpf said he had been. The others — state Sen. Darren Bailey, businessman Gary Rabine, and attorney Max Solomon all said no.

The Illinois Republican Party didn’t mince words on its opinion about getting the vaccine. “We encourage people to get the vaccine to put the pandemic behind us,” a spokesman told Playbook.

The vax clash comes as the debate and discussions about masks heat up. Republicans are united in not wanting to see Gov. J.B. Pritzker issue any more mandates.

At a news conference Wednesday, Pritzker recommended it: “You should be wearing a mask if you are in an enclosed environment or if you’re bunched up with a lot of other people, even if you’re vaccinated. It is the smartest thing to do.”

And starting next week, masks will be required in Illinois driver’s license facilities as Covid-19 infections hit 12-week high, reports Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout. Unfortunately, it looks like this all over the country and, in many cases, worse.

RELATED

Chicago Covid cases could trigger mask mandate return, mayor says, while St. Louis reinstates its mask mandate, via ABC/7’s Jessica D’Onofrio

DuPage and McHenry counties now under indoor-masking-for-all guidance: “State health officials on Wednesday reported 2,082 new confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19, the highest one-day total since 3,321 cases were reported May 7. Over the past week, the state has averaged 1,587 new daily cases,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.

Fear and loathing in the House over mask mandate: “It’s pretty bad,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in an arguable understatement of the chamber’s mood as Covid cases spike,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, Olivia Beavers and Heather Caygle.

Illinois Federation of Teachers urges universal masking in schools, by WGEM’s Avery Reed

Exelon is standing by its threat to close two of its Illinois nuclear power plants unless it receives state subsidies, a move that could jeopardize the clean energy bill that’s stalled in the General Assembly. Or maybe it will nudge lawmakers to reach an agreement.

“For the people who think that this is a bluff, this is not a bluff,” state Sen. Sue Rezin told the Tribune. “This is very real, and you’re playing with people’s livelihoods here.”

Rezin, a Morris Republican whose district is home to Exelon’s Dresden and Braidwood nuclear plants, said residents in her district are on edge about the potential plant closures and lawmakers need to act with urgency.

“With no signs of a breakthrough on clean energy legislation in Springfield, we have no choice but to take these final steps in preparation for shutting down the plants,” Exelon Generation’s chief nuclear officer Dave Rhoades said in a statement in the Tribune. “We will never stop fighting for policies to preserve Illinois’ nuclear fleet, knowing that the minute these plants close our customers will experience dirtier air and higher energy costs. But with time running out, we must plan for the future and do everything we can to prepare our employees and the communities they serve for what lies ahead.”

State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) said Exelon’s announcement follows with the timeline the company laid out earlier this year for closing the plants, according to the Sun-Times.

“I’m not sure it changes anything,” Cunningham told the Sun-Times. “We’re hopeful that stakeholders are going to continue to work through the rest of the summer, reaching an agreement that will lead to the drafting and passage of an omnibus energy bill, and that desire existed before Exelon put out that statement today, and it will exist tomorrow as well.”

A deal proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker would have power customers cover nearly $700 million that Exelon says it needs to keep the power plants from closing.

State lawmakers appeared close to reaching a deal during the regular session — and then during a special session — but to no avail. There are lots of moving parts to the legislation, along with creating a timeline for phasing out natural gas-fired plants, the measure would overhaul the state’s emissions policies while coal-fired power retires and new renewable energy sources are put into service.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

At Hope Manor II on South Halsted Street at 10 a.m. to sign legislation that expands housing stability and affordable housing across Illinois.

At City Hall at 10:30 to highlight recent successes in protecting Chicago’s workers.

At the Cook County building at 10 a.m. to preside over a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot officiated at the wedding of Chris Kennedy Jr. and Erin Daigle. Kennedy is the grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and son of Chris Kennedy, and his wife, Sheila. The elder Kennedy and Lightfoot have been friends since his run for Illinois governor. The Daily Mail reports that it’s the second ceremony for Kennedy and Daigle. Lightfoot officiated their first small courthouse wedding in Chicago in December during the pandemic. Pic!

City Clerk Anna Valencia is building a coalition of women supporters in her bid for secretary of state. Her campaign says “Women for Valencia” has secured endorsements from state Sens. Melinda Bush and Laura Fine, state Reps. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Robyn Gabel and Lisa Hernandez, Cook County Commissioners Donna Miller and Bridget Degnen, Evanston City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza, MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita, and attorney and Dem activist Tracy Katz Muhl. They join Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, among others.

626 groups now qualify for upcoming lottery to win marijuana store licenses in Illinois after applications are rescored: “The number marks a huge increase from the 21 applicants who were given perfect scores to qualify for a license lottery last year,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Today’s drawing could mark the beginning of the end of a lengthy imbroglio that has marred Pritzker’s first term, reports Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba

Illinois seeks Ben & Jerry’s divestment over Israel stance: “Illinois regulators plan to warn the owner of Ben & Jerry’s to reverse the company’s decision to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank and east Jerusalem or face divestment by the state, an official said Wednesday,” by the AP’s John O’Connor.

Decision on monuments should be a “teaching moment,” historians tell state lawmakers: “This isn’t just about politics, it’s about people connecting their own lives and identities to these stories, these myths or these histories,” said Smithsonian curator Aaron Bryant. “This is a lot more complicated — you can’t just legislate this stuff out of people. You have to take a very humanistic approach.” Tribune’s Maggie Prosser reports

Illinois schools can no longer pull students with special needs out of classes when they turn 22: “Another new law allows students who aged out during the pandemic to return to school. They hope this can help students regain any learning time they lost,” by Quincy Media’s Mike Miletich.

Illinois American Water makes pitch to buy Rock Island’s water system, and protests erupt: Mayor Mike Thoms said “if the city wanted to move forward, Illinois American Water would have to go through an RFP (request for proposal) process,” reports Quad-City Times’ Sarah Hayden.

State Journal Register to auction off its building after being on the market 10 years, according to the paper

— Opinion: Illinois needs batteries to power ahead in electric vehicles:The state should try to win plants for Rivian and other manufacturers,” writes Crain’s Joe Cahill.

U. of C. Crime Lab analysis shows violence spike of 2020 widened familiar safety gap between neighborhoods: “The lab’s analysis of Chicago Police Department information shows that the pain and harm caused by a crime spike that began in 2020 is more acute in some of Chicago’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, echoing what has been concluded in other reports and in the experience of residents alike: Those Chicago neighborhoods have borne the disproportionate brunt of gun violence,” by Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova and Annie Sweeney.

Budget breakdown: How governments spend to prevent gun violence in Chicago: “Chicago, Cook County and Illinois spend about $4.5 billion per year on law enforcement and incarceration, including the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff, the Cook County Jail and the Illinois Department of Corrections. Some of the spending targets violent crime, but it also includes policing and punishing nonviolent crimes and offenses not related to shootings or homicides,” reports WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.

CPS will get more than $2B in Covid-19 relief. But a financial ‘cliff’ looms: “It’s basic math that if we take those federal dollars, and we use those federal dollars to create full-time positions at high numbers, that within a couple of years, when those federal dollars are gone, we will not have the funds to pay for those positions,” Board President Miguel del Valle said before issuing a warning: “The cliff is going to be there. And so as a board, it’s our obligation to make sure, as I said, that we mitigate it, that we try to lessen the blow that’s inevitable.” Tribune’s Tracy Swartz reports

City expands eligibility for lead service line program amid slow start: The change “will allow any household with children younger than 18 that meets the income eligibility requirements to participate in the program, regardless of whether their home has an elevated level of lead in its drinking water, officials said,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.

Cook County moves out of ‘stone age’ with tax software: “The county, which includes Chicago, is now using Revenue Solutions Inc., a tax and compliance software company from Massachusetts, to process collections of local taxes on a range of products, including tobacco, motor vehicle sales, gambling machines and firearms. The software’s expected to save tens of millions of dollars and improve efficiency over the next several years, according to Ken Harris, the county’s deputy director of revenue,” via StateScoop

Harvey hires Loop Capital in step toward debt restructuring: “The Chicago-based firm is acting in an investment banking capacity to ‘guide us through any offering, exchange or other possibilities and alternatives’ the city is exploring to restructure debts to help stabilize its finances, said Bob Fioretti of Roth Fioretti LLC, which represents the city in the bondholder lawsuit,” reports Bond Buyer’s Yvette Shields.

— FERC-ALICIOUS: Rep. Sean Casten channeled his inner Fergie (and Megan Thee Stallion) on Wednesday to draw attention to legislation relating to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I rise to continue our celebration of ‘hot FERC summer,’” Casten said before launching into a spoken song. “As climate activist Fergie would certainly say, the FERC-alicious definition is to make our planet cooler.” Check out the video.

“Having a well air-conditioned home when it’s ‘hot, hot,’ that’s FERC-alicious, getting your electricity from the lowest cost reliable source — FERC-alicious — an electric transmission system that keeps everything from electric vehicles to steel mills running with zero-carbon electricity, FERC-alicious,” he added, referencing Fergie’s “Fergalicious.” (While he had some props, he did not jump out of a cake.)

— Rep. Chuy García will testify before the Senate Banking Committee today at 10 a.m. ET: He’ll speak during a hearing titled: “Protecting Americans from Debt Traps by Extending the Military’s 36% Interest Rate Cap to Everyone.” García introduced the bipartisan Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act in the 116th Congress and plans to reintroduce it soon, according to a statement. The bill extends the protections of the Military Lending Act to veterans and all consumers, establishing a national maximum of 36 percent APR for all consumer loans. The bill’s goal is to better protect consumers from predatory lending practices.

— The House Freedom Caucus is meeting today to discuss whether Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney should be expelled from the House Republican Conference, according to Punchbowl News.

— INFRASTRUCTURE: Biden ignores the ‘shiny objects’ and nears a bipartisan win, by POLITICO’s Laura Barrón-López and Christopher Cadelago

Jan. 6 select-panel Dems confident they can corral ex-Trump aides, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and Nicholas Wu

Appeals court deals setback to Trump in fraud suit, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and former EPA regional administrator Heather McTeer Toney are joining the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago as visiting fellows in policy practice.

— Caitlin McCrory is now VP of industry relations at Realogy. She most recently was head of industry relations at Redfin.

Aug. 6 at 1:20 p.m.: House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Democrats for the Illinois House will host a Cubs v. Sox fundraising outing on Wrigley Rooftops (Welch is a die hard Cubs fan, so dress accordingly). The event is sponsored by the Health Care Council of Illinois. Tickets range from $500 to $2,500. Questions or RSVP to questions or to RSVP to Laurie at [email protected].

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to MWRD policy aide Richard Greenfield, NPR’s Scott Simon and recent law school grad Thomas Leinenweber for correctly answering that Heisman Trophy winner John Lattner ran unsuccessfully for the Cook County Board in 1986.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the Democratic state rep who flipped parties to run as a Republican in the late 1980s, only to lose the election. Email to [email protected]

Highland Park Councilwoman Kimberly Stone, Chicago State University assistant comms director Sam Brief, and Tony Brown, the Washington Wizards assistant head coach and pride of Chicago.

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Feeds,News,Politics

via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq

July 29, 2021 at 07:31AM

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