Lawmakers pulled an all-nighter- POLITICO

Good Monday morning, Illinois. Congrats to the Steppenwolf ensemble for bringing “King James” to the stage and my teenager to the theater.

The final day of the legislative session always runs late, but state lawmakers said last week’s wrap-up was a little ridiculous. They barrelled past Friday’s midnight deadline and didn’t finish until 6:10 a.m. Saturday.

What they approved: A $46 billion-plus spending plan, $1.8 billion in tax relief measures — including $300 rebates for homeowners and $50 checks to residents, and a series of anti-crime measures. The Tribune has all the details in its four-bylined story.

Tension points: Republicans pushed back at every turn, calling Democrats’ proposals gimmicks to woo voters in an election year. “Let’s call this budget what it really is— an attempt to buy your vote,” Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie said in a statement. Their complaints were for naught in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Lee Enterprises’ political reporter Brenden Moore said the proposal, which was first presented April 1, “could have been mistaken as an April Fools’ Day joke.” See his full report here

What it means for regular Joes: Along with receiving direct checks of about $50, residents will see a message on their grocery store receipts saying Illinois is suspending the 1 percent grocery tax from July 1 through July 1, 2023. And a gas-tax increase that was scheduled to go into effect July 1 has been suspended for six months.

Powerful moment: Democratic Rep. Justin Slaughter addressing Republicans during a debate about crime-focused legislation: "We are literally in this crisis because of your failed ‘lock ’em up, throw away the key’ policies," Slaughter said at one point. VIDEO via WCIA’s Mark Maxwell

The speech people were talking about: House Majority Leader Greg Harris selling the importance of the budget.

Praise from Pritzker: After the session wrapped up, Gov. JB Pritzker spoke to reporters, praising “a terrific day” that saw “enormous and historic victories for the people of Illinois. Our bill backlog is paid off. Our pension liabilities are reduced. Our rainy day fund is recovering, and we are delivering $1.8 billion of direct tax relief to the people we serve.” No surprise he’s expected to sign the budget.

On the issue of public safety: The GOP tried to repeal the SAFE-T Act — the criminal justice package enacted last year. Republicans oppose key elements of the law, including eliminating cash bail next year, making electronic monitoring more lenient, and allowing anonymous complaints against police officers.

Democrats ignored the criticisms and instead came up with new measures designed to help police address smash-and-grab shoplifting, carjackings and expressway shootings.

What they didn’t finish: “The final package did not address a remaining $1.8 billion debt in the state’s unemployment insurance fund caused by the pandemic. The state had allocated $2.7 billion in federal pandemic relief funds to reduce the debt from its original $4.5 billion figure, but has put off until the end of the year scheduled employer payment increases and reductions in unemployment benefits. Labor leaders said negotiations with business, lawmakers and Pritzker had reached an impasse,” according to the Tribune.

Eyebrow raiser: Page 281 of the budget says the state will fund costs of a feasibility study of “projects under the Public-Private Partnership for Civic and Transit Infrastructure Project Act.” That may include one of the casino projects being considered in Chicago.

About the lateness: Legislators who spoke to Playbook said they couldn’t remember a session in the past 25 years "that ran so late/early," as Rep. Ann Williams put it. "There were many late nights over the years on the last day of session, but this was extraordinary." Legislators took cat naps in their offices or wherever they could find a spot without being noticed (too much). If you thought you saw Rep. Marty Moylan in his car playing Sinatra with his eyes closed, you were right.

What’s next: Legislators are now pivoting to the June 28 primary election, where the budget will be a point of campaign chatter.


All the details from padding their election-year resumes to $1.8B in tax relief, by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney

How lawmakers addressed crime, by State Journal-Register’s Andrew Adams

New legislation expands farmers market opportunities, via AgriNews

Lawmakers approve a bill limiting donations in judicial elections, by State Journal-Register’s Andrew Adams

They reject a bill written in response to Blue Cross-Springfield Clinic controversy, by State Journal-Register’s Andrew Adams

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Mayor Lori Lightfoot is ramping up her expected re-election campaign with three new political hires.

Eric Adelstein is media consultant. He’s founder of Chicago-based political media firms AL Media Strategy and Adelstein & Associates. He was 27 when he served as Illinois state director for the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign, consulted for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and has advised the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Governors Association. He and his firm also have advised Georgia Democrats, including Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock.

Deborah Cosey-Lane is political coordinator. She recently served as the financial secretary/ treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308. She has been a member of her union for 31 years. Last year, Cosey-Lane was elected as the first woman president of ATU Illinois Joint Council. She also is advising Jonathan Jackson in his bid for the 1st Congressional District.

Valerie Martin is general consultant. Martin co-founded Silversmith Strategies, a national political consulting and media firm that creates TV and digital advertising and develops campaign plans. She previously helped elect Congressman Brad Schneider and Congresswoman Robin Kelly, as well as managed out-of-state U.S. Senate races and fundraising for Claire McCaskill’s 2006 upset victory in Missouri.

The political announcements come as potential challengers start making moves on City Hall’s top job.

Rep. Mike Quigley just transferred $53,300 into his newly created Quigley for Chicago campaign fund to pay for polling conducted last month about a potential run for mayor. Creating the fund doesn’t mean Quigley is formally announcing, but he needs to have a campaign fund separate from his congressional fund to pay for the polling he did on the mayor’s race, explain Tribune’s Alice Yin and Gregory Pratt.

Paul Vallas, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO who ran for mayor four years ago, has filed with the State Board of Elections to create a Vallas for Mayor campaign fund. Vallas hasn’t formally announced either.

And Willie Wilson, a philanthropist who also ran for mayor four years ago, is expected to announce today that he’s running again for the seat.

So far, only Ald. Raymond Lopez has officially jumped in the race.

Others mulling a run: Chicago Alds. Roderick Sawyer and Brian Hopkins, state Reps. La Shawn Ford and Kam Buckner, Chicago Teachers Union VP Stacy Davis Gates, former city Building Commissioner Judy Frydland and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

No official public events.

At Foster Park Fieldhouse at 1:30 p.m. to announce summer opportunities and programming for Chicago’s youth.

No official public events.

— SCOOP from Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet | Pritzker’s camp grapples with Dem Party Chair Rep. Kelly and how to coordinate Dems’ November campaign: The governor’s camp organized a secret meeting in January of top Democrats but didn’t include Kelly, Sen. Dick Durbin or any officials from the Democratic Party of Illinois.

… Pritzker’s team “continues to have fundamental reservations about the role Kelly can play because, as a federally elected official, she is subject to strict fundraising rules and contribution caps that restrict her ability when it comes to raising and spending funds for non-federal candidates. Kelly’s allies said they have devised — using Federal Election Commission legal guidance they requested — various ways for Kelly to function as state chair while avoiding legal problems. They also say this is about Pritzker’s camp wanting to relitigate the DPI contest they lost.”

Pols are finding extra money to spread around — just in time for election season:From City Hall to Springfield to Capitol Hill, the candy man and candy lady are out in force,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones under federal investigation involving campaign funds: A 2017 complaint “outlined a series of questionable expenditures by Jones’ campaigns, including outings to Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs games, and nearly $7,000 spent between 2014 and 2016 at a south suburban Hooters restaurant. Payments to the Jones Foundation, a charity Jones founded and is currently headed by his wife, were also illegally reported, according to the complaint, by the Tribune’s Jason Meisner, Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner

Feds finally charge former Ald. Danny Solis — ‘Alderman A’ — with bribery:The bribery count leveled against Solis in a one-page, lightly detailed document at least confirms that Solis will face public charges. A lengthy investigation into his own alleged misdeeds prompted him to turn on some of the state’s most powerful politicians,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel

Illinois’ newest Latino congressional district brings heavy competition, divided Democratic visions: “Ramirez comes to the contest with progressive bona fides and the backing of liberal U.S. Rep. Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, 4th District, who currently represents a chunk of the new district. … City Council member Villegas touts his moderate political pragmatism and says he can find ways to collaborate in a closely divided, bitterly partisan U.S. Capitol rather than adhering to ‘an all-or-nothing approach,’” by Tribune’s John Byrne

State Rep. Tom Morrison cites family as reason for not seeking reelection to state House: “Morrison said redistricting and a possible primary battle against a fellow incumbent played only a small role in his decision,” by Daily Herald’s Maria Gardner

Pritzker taps two lawyers for Prisoner Review Board — one a former aide to past nemesis Bruce Rauner:Asked why the governor turned to a high-ranking former Rauner staffer for the appointment, Pritzker’s spokeswoman pointed to Rodger Heaton’s background,” by Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles

Lessons in Asian American history coming to schools this fall, by Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy

Women reassessed their careers during the pandemic, but for many, one goal remains unchanged: homeownership, by Tribune’s Joaanne Cleaver

— History: Harold Washington was elected mayor on this day in 1983, and his 100th birthday would have been April 15. Here’s how to celebrate

Their guns fueled Chicago crime. When they broke the law, the ATF went easy: “Chicago’s mayor identified gun stores whose wares consistently wound up in city crimes. ATF records show the agency had been lenient on them,” via The Trace, a nonprofit journalism outfit

— OOPS | Chicago Public Schools asked to repay $87M it got from ‘coding error’: The Illinois State Board of Education said 52 other school systems were also “overpaid by a total of $3,396 during the affected period, and it will try to recover funds from districts that received at least $10 more than they should have. …14 school systems are owed between $1 million and $5 million, while 565 are due up to $100,000 according to IBSE,” by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz, Dan Petrella and Karen Ann Cullotta

Judge rules CPS can’t take action against teachers who sued over vaccine mandate, by Sun-Times’ Katie Anthony

Chicago detective, retired prosecutor under investigation for possible overtime abuse, sources say:The officer has been reassigned to the city’s non-emergency call center as the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and police internal affairs investigate,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main

Are Columbus statues a free speech issue?Mayor’s concern over threats to police is not the best reason to keep them off city streets,” writes Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg

Standard Club sells its building but strives to survive:The storied membership organization could get the building back if the buyer can’t make use of it, perhaps as a hotel,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder

New outdoor exhibit at Navy Pier tells refugees’ stories through what they brought with them, by Sun-Times’ Cadence Quaranta

Oak Park pastor who urged a ‘fasting from whiteness’ for Lent gets worldwide attention:Pastor John Edgerton said he’s encouraged by the conversations his idea has sparked,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito

Kane County Board discusses eliminating auditor, recorder posts, by Shaw Local News’ Brenda Schory

Auction house sued over a ‘stolen’ duplicate of Ben Zobrist’s 2016 World Series ring, by Tribune’s Paul Sullivan

Former choir teacher charged with sexual assault with student at Aurora high school, by Tribune’s Shanzeh Ahmad

We asked for your favorite opening day memories: City Club’s Ed Mazur remembers 1958 when he was a junior at Roger Sullivan High School and cut school with three friends to go see the Cubs. “It started snowing on our way there on the bus. When we arrived at Wrigley, it was a real Chicago snowstorm. The gates never opened. No game. The next day, we were called to the assistant principal’s office and received our punishment: washing blackboards.”… Andy Shaw played hooky in 6th grade to attend the 1960 White Sox home opener with his dad at Comiskey Park “and got busted when a staged picture of ace pitcher Billy Pierce autographing a ball for me appeared on the back page of the Sun-Times.”

What will you do with the tax-relief check that state lawmakers approved as part of the budget? Email

Seven Point CEO proposes cannabis consumption lounge in Danville, via WCIA

— Zelenskyy: ‘This is not a movie. This is real life.’ In a "60 Minutes" interview, Ukraine’s president repeatedly challenged the world to stand up to Russia, by POLITICO’s David Cohen

Ukrainian defenders dig in as Russia lines up more firepower, by The Associated Press

2024 hopefuls are already in a dark-money arms race, by POLITICO’s Scott Bland

Cheney says Jan. 6 committee has enough evidence for a criminal referral for Trump, by POLITICO’s Myah Ward

— FOOD FAILURE: FDA is failing to meet American consumers’ expectations on food safety and nutrition, reports POLITICO’s Helena Bottemiller Evich

The real life story of a POLITICO reporter being bitten by the Capitol Hill fox, by Ximena Bustillo, Matt Wuerker and Krystal Campos

Longtime WGN weatherman Jim Ramsey dies at 69:Ramsey worked weekend broadcasts and backed up Tom Skilling for 30 years,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.

FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Freeport city manager Randy Bukas for correctly answering that Richard Nixon was the last Republican president to win St. Clair County in a general election. It was 1972.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Illinois county produces the most milk cows? Email

Illinois Policy government affairs VP Jim Long, comms consultant Jacob Marcos Peterson, AJ Capital Partners government affairs VP Pablo David, nonprofit exec and Gapers Block founder Andrew Huff, Vote Mama Illinois state chair Alexandra Eidenberg, and Legal Action Chicago staff attorney Dan Schneider.



April 11, 2022 at 07:49AM

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