Happy September, Illinois. Shana Tova and a sweet year to all those celebrating Rosh Hashanah!
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Illinois House of Representatives is returning to Springfield on Thursday, likely to vote on the clean-energy bill that’s had everyone in knots all summer.
House Democrats will first caucus Wednesday, presumably to nail down support for the compromise legislation that’s emerged from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, according to a memo sent to lawmakers from Tiffany Moy, the House speaker’s chief of staff.
“We’re close,” Assistant House Majority Leader Marcus Evans told Playbook.
The legislation, Amendment 1 to SB 1751, calls for a 45 percent reduction in carbon emissions in coal plants — the primary focus is the Prairie State Energy Campus — by the year 2035 and then full closure by 2045. It differs from the Senate bill by including a reduction in carbon emissions a decade before the closure date.
The governor’s office says the legislation “puts consumers and climate first.” A spokesperson said the goal remains to “save jobs, gradually put Illinois on a path to clean energy in the years ahead, and foster job growth in clean energy industries.”
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which represents labor interests, “strongly supports” the amended legislation, saying in a statement it represents “the reasonable path forward to a true climate and equitable jobs bill."
And Rep. Ann Williams, who’s aligned with environmentalists, said the measure “strikes the right balance between all of our goals but also ensures this is a climate bill, not a utility bill.”
Reducing carbon emissions has been the sticking point in the legislation that has pitted the governor and environmentalists against labor and business interests. The amendment follows last month’s Senate passage of an energy bill.
The clock is ticking to get House approval without a veto. The legislation includes funding for nuclear plants operated by Exelon that have struggled economically for years. The company has set Monday “as the day it pulls the plug on the Byron nuclear plant” in northern Illinois unless the General Assembly passes legislation to rescue it, according to E&E News.
But plowing money into a site run by Exelon, which has been the center of a corruption scandal, hasn’t sat right with some lawmakers. The thinking is that the legislation will be more palatable if a provision is added that reduces carbon emissions from coal plants.
Evans reiterated how close they are to a deal: “Our governor wants real action on clean energy and we’re going to get that. He wants those plants in central Illinois to take some action to clean them up a little bit. Labor wants jobs protected. We want a path for our solar, clean energy developers to continue their important work and minority members want strong diversity language,” Evans said. “I think we’re going to get there. We’re inching there.”
“It’s a complicated issue,” Evans acknowledged, “but we are all pushing in the same direction and for that reason we can come up with a compromise.”
OTHER LEGISLATIVE NEWS
Republicans upend Democratic efforts to show they’re serious about ethics reform in Springfield: “The ethics package, crafted in response to an ongoing federal corruption probe that has swept from City Hall to Springfield, now faces long odds of becoming law. And Democrats who control state government risk losing a chance to show they are taking steps to root out corruption,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has encouraged Ald. Jim Gardiner to publicly apologize for using the “b” word to describe some Chicago politicos, including the mayor’s adviser, Joanna Klonsky.
“I’m very concerned about the language that was used. Women take way too much abuse in public and in the workplace and otherwise. I know that firsthand, and it’s not acceptable,” the mayor said in answer to Playbook’s question during an unrelated press conference Monday. “I think he understands that. I need him to make sure he is very public that he has apologized but that some of the words that were used should never be used in public or private.”
The mayor was referring to leaked text messages where the 45th Ward alderman referred to Ald. Scott Waguespack’s chief of staff, Anne Emerson, as a “bitch," Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the city’s first openly gay alderman, as a “bitch,” and Klonsky as a “dumb bitch.”
Gardiner released a blanket statement, saying, “I am sorry for my comments; they do not reflect my values. I have reached out to my colleagues and others to express my sincere regrets. I respect all people and apologize to those I may have offended.”
Tunney said Gardiner called and apologized to him, according to the Sun-Times. And Waguespack said Gardiner called him, too, though he said Gardiner should be apologizing to Emerson.
She and Klonsky have yet to speak with Gardiner directly, though he did text Emerson asking that she call him.
In a statement, Klonsky said Gardiner “has a disturbing habit of degrading women. In my experience, this pattern is often a red flag for other abusive behavior. An apology won’t cut it at this point. The alderman needs to seek counseling to understand the impacts of his misogynistic behavior, clean up his act, and make amends.”
The texts were first made public by the anonymous People’s Fabric blog and confirmed by news organizations.
Klonsky put some perspective on it all: “It’s been quite a week to be a woman in this world.”
Lightfoot took issue with another text alleged by the People’s Fabric blog that had Gardiner threatening to withhold services from a constituent who donated to another candidate. The “suggestion that someone is going to be deprived of city services because of who they supported or didn’t support in an election [is] never, ever acceptable,” Lightfoot said. Gardiner told the Sun-Times in an email that he has “never withheld, nor have I ever instructed or condoned my staff to withhold city services from any resident.”
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— Chicago doctors battle vaccine misinformation: No, the shot won’t make you infertile, and other myths: “It’s a race against time to get the vast majority of the population vaccinated and misinformation is causing hesitancy for getting shots,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— Jacqueline Jackson released from hospital after being treated in ICU with coronavirus: “Her husband, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., was still undergoing occupational and physical therapy at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, his son said in a statement,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— New variant mu has a toehold in Illinois. Should you be worried? Tribune’s John Keilman reports
— Spring break caused Covid outbreak at a Chicago university, CDC officials announce, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
— Interior Secretary Deb Haaland headlines Pullman National Monument dedication along with Pritzker, Lightfoot, Durbin: “The book of American history has many important chapters with Chicago at the forefront,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a speech Monday. “And with the opening of this visitor center, another important chapter in that book is being written.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Dick Durbin, Reps. Robin Kelly and Chuy Garcia, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and Ald. Anthony Beale all attended the official opening. Tribune’s Talia Soglin reports.
… National monument is just the beginning: “Ald. Beale said it will take $90 million to finish other proposed projects to make Pullman a major Chicago tourist destination,” by ABC/7’s Sarah Schulte. WITH VIDEO
… Full program on video here, thanks to The Pantagraph.
— 4-year-old among 6 killed in shootings between Friday evening and this morning; 59 others wounded: “Eight children 17 years old and younger were shot over the Labor Day holiday weekend,” according to the Sun-Times Wire.
— Aldermen are up for their biggest raises in 15 years. Will any of them turn it down? “Each alderman has until Sept. 15 to decline the 5.5 percent pay raise, or else it takes effect automatically on Jan. 1,” reports Tribune’s John Byrne.
— CPS mandates return to in-person school council meetings, irking some representatives: “If there was a pandemic silver lining at CPS, it was the increased engagement that some LSCs saw when their meetings moved online,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— As federal unemployment benefits end, Chicago businesses hope employees will return: “We just don’t have the employees, especially in the kitchen to fill those hours," said [Wrigleyville business owner] Korina Sanchez. "We’re already paying the employees way above minimum wage, up to about $20 an hour and we’re still struggling to find people." ABC/7’s Michelle Gallardo reports.
— City treasurer determined to reverse lending inequities by depositing tax dollars in smaller, local banks: “Banks designated as “municipal depositories” have long been accused of investing far more in majority white neighborhoods than they in communities of color. City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin is trying to change that,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Chicagoans rally to help New Orleans victims of Hurricane Ida: “The call for help came in the wake of the Category 4 hurricane that slammed Louisiana last weekend, leaving at least 12 dead, a million without power and 600,000 without water,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— Chicago’s summer 2021: It was hot, wet and full of severe weather, by Tribune’s Kori Rumore reports.
Feds seek delay in Daley Thompson case to sift through new documents: “In a court filing Saturday, prosecutors claimed newly provided documents “were not disclosed in a timely manner” despite a grand jury subpoena served in December 2018,” by Sun-Times’ By Tom Schuba.
— 10 ‘senior tax freeze’ homeowners will have to pay $273,000 more this year in the wake of Sun-Times investigation: “Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi has slashed their property tax breaks and is going after seven of them for $371,000 in back taxes he says they should have paid,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak, Lauren FitzPatrick and Caroline Hurley.
— Des Plaines Theatre set to reopen, after $6.6M restoration, with live shows in October, by Pioneer Press’ Jennifer Johnson.
— Shortage of anesthesiologists at Sherman tied to hospital’s decision not to renew contract with Elgin doctors, by Elgin Courier-News’ Gloria Casas
Illinois to hold an extra license lottery for applicants unfairly kept out of chances for marijuana retail shops: “The applicants were wrongly denied chances in the first of three lotteries held this summer to award 185 new licenses, officials said. The additional licenses are to be authorized by state law that allows up to 500 new licenses in all. The applicants aren’t guaranteed licenses, but the digital lottery is supposed to re-create what their odds of winning should have been originally,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
— Four takeaways from last week’s General Assembly meeting, which saw legislative maps tweaked now that final census numbers are on hand (lawsuits against the remap process are still pending):
Trumpster Reps. Chris Miller and Adam Niemerg have been drawn together in the same district.
Republican Reps. Tony McCombie and Andrew Chesney will no longer be running against each other. They’ve been mapped into different districts since the first version of the maps in May. Chesney could, however, face Republican Rep. John Cabello for the same seat. McCombie says she’s leaving her options open about where she’ll run (Senate or House) until after the lawsuits are settled.
Republican Reps. Dan Ugaste and Keith Wheeler, who also had been drawn in the same district back in May, are now in different ones. But Wheeler, who is a member of House GOP leadership, faces a heavily Democratic district.
Congressional remapping is next and if it’s anything like what’s happened with legislative maps, Republicans can expect Democrats to show no mercy.
— Opinion: Dislike gerrymandering? Then the proposed map from Illinois Democrats should be appalling: “The new map is so brazen that progressive elections analyst Drew Savicki found it would create up to 85 districts expected to be Democratic in the 118-seat state House, even though only 69 Democrats would be elected in a map that fairly reflected the proportional strength of each party. So while Democrats would naturally win a majority because they dominate the state, the Democratic plan would net them nearly 80 percent of the seats from less than 60 percent of the votes,” writes the Washington Post’s Henry Olsen.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Watch for Republican tech entrepreneur Jesse Sullivan to throw his hat in the ring to run for governor this week. He’s notified friends that he’ll be announcing Thursday. Sullivan lives in Petersburg but is also founder of the Alter Global venture capital firm in San Francisco. He’s been reaching out to potential donors, telling them he has $5 million in commitments, according to a fundraising booklet obtained by Playbook. Sullivan also has pulled together a campaign team, including campaign manager Noah Sheinbaum, a management consultant who worked for Bain & Co., and Eric Wilson, a digital strategist who also worked on Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign. Sullivan would face state Sen. Darren Bailey, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, and business owner Gary Rabine, in a June 2022 primary.
— Ald. George Cardenas, who is running for the Cook County Board of Review District 1 commissioner seat now held by Tammy Wendt, criticized a tweet Wendt posted related to the U.S. exit from Afghanistan. Wendt had responded to a post by The New York Times that said, “The U.S. military has departed Afghanistan… ending a 20-year occupation and leaving the country in the Taliban’s hands.” Wendt posted: “Cowards.” In a statement, Cardenas, who served in the Navy from 1984 through 1988, called Wendt’s tweet “shameful.”
— Ken Griffin, Bruce Rauner are among wealthy Republicans flocking to DeSantis, according to NBC.
— Failed challenger to Michael Madigan asks SCOTUS to consider lawsuit alleging political chicanery in 2016 election: “In an appeal to the high court filed Thursday, Jason Gonzales argues that lower court judges incorrectly tossed the matter on grounds that voters knew about the alleged sham candidates from pre-primary publicity and Madigan still won with 65% of the vote,” by Tribune’s Ray Long.
— Effort underway to free Christopher Vaughn 9 years after conviction for murdering wife, kids: “A new attorney on the case says he is ‘looking down a number of avenues, all of which lead to actual innocence.’ There are also plans to seek clemency from Gov. J.B. Pritzker,” By Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel
— Abortion fight adds to Biden’s growing policy backlog, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar and Christopher Cadelago
— Why Trump’s steel tariffs are now Biden’s political headache, by POLITICO’s Steven Overly
— Trump builds ‘turnkey’ campaign operation for 2024, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw and Marc Caputo
— Justice Department will ‘protect’ abortion seekers in Texas, by The Associated Press
— Portland considers banning Texas travel and trade in protest of abortion law, by The Associated Press
— Paul Alivisatos is now president of the University of Chicago. Alivisatos is a scientist and also serves as chair of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory and chair of the Board of Directors of Fermi Research Alliance, which operates Fermilab. Prior to joining the U. of C., Alivisatos was executive vice chancellor and provost of the University of California at Berkeley.
— Jill Zwick, director of the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office for 22-and-a-half years, has retired. She’s been with Jesse White’s team since he was first elected to the office. Before that, Zwick was state director for six years for then-Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun. Zwick also was a state Rep from 1981 to 1987.
— Jim McDonough, executive director of Alphawood Foundation, is retiring Oct. 1. He has headed the foundation since 2012. McDonough will continue as legal counsel until next year to assist in the transition to new leadership. In a statement, Fred Eychaner, chairman and president of Alphawood Foundation, praised McDonough for addding "immeasurably to the scope and nature of Alphawood’s impact over the course of his tenure.”
— Cristina Villarreal has joined the Cook County State’s Attorney Office as chief of External Affairs. She previously served as director of Public Affairs at the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation and supported the City’s Covid-19 response. Before that Villarreal, who holds a law degree from DePaul University, worked for Morreale Communications.
— Adam Newman has also joined the Cook County State’s Attorney Office as a communications officer. He previously was chief of staff to Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.
— Kara Spak is now director of Media Strategy at 120/80 MKTG, which represents innovators in the digital healthcare industry. Spak was a manager at media relations at Northwestern Medicine, representing the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Prentice Women’s Hospital. Before that she was a reporter at the Sun-Times. (Highlight: She’s a five-time Jeopardy champion, too.)
— Neal Aizenstein is now partner in Cooley’s Chicago office. He previously was head of DLA Piper’s corporate group in Chicago.
Kirsten Hartman, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), and Lucas West, senior policy adviser for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), got married at Sequoia on the Georgetown Waterfront in D.C. on Sunday. Pic
August 27’s ANSWER: Congrats to Scott Burgh, the former chief law librarian for the City of Chicago Law Department, for correctly answering that Daniel Boone was a great uncle of Chicago Mayor Levi Boone.
TODAY’s QUESTION: How many Illinois governors have been charged with crimes and impeached? Email to [email protected]
Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller, former state Rep. Peter Breen, public relations exec Maureen Schulman.
September 7, 2021 at 08:40AM