Insight on Illinois
In Springfield, the Illinois Legislature is meeting this week for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in a “special session” that will consider only a very limited number of topics. The State budget and COVID-19 response will be front and center, but matters with statutory or programmatic urgency such as the hospital assessment program and 2020 election administration issues will also be on the table. Missing out on consideration this spring are many ideas, including legislation authorizing a Chicago casino, data privacy legislation, and a new renewable energy bill. We will surely see these ideas that did not make the cut this spring in the fall veto session. Here is a snapshot of what’s happening now:
Illinois General Assembly Reconvening on Wednesday
- This will be a “special session” that will be limited to formal consideration of only the following items:
- The state’s budget and its implementation
- COVID 19 response issues
- Infrastructure and economic recovery funding
- The hospital assessment program
- Producing the official explanation, arguments for and arguments against the proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow for the adoption of a progressive income tax
- Election administration issues pertaining to the 2020 General Election
- Laws or authority scheduled to sunset
- Any legislation passed after May 31st will require a 3/5 majority vote
New Consequences for Disobeying Restore Illinois Restrictions
- Madison County, IL has begun reopening in defiance of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s orders
- Gov. Pritzker announced on Friday that any businesses that reopen could face misdemeanor penalties for violating state orders
- Establishments that are state regulated could put their state licensing in jeopardy by reopening early
Financing Problems Facing Chicago
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has raised concerns about a potential billion-dollar budget shortfall due to stalled Springfield legislation and obstacles to proposed tax increases
- Mayor Lightfoot has three items on her Springfield agenda. It is unclear whether these items will receive consideration in this special session
- Chicago casino
- Renewed authorization for a $5-month-tax on telephone bills
- Maintaining city’s share of the state sales tax
Cook County Health PSA
- President Preckwinkle suggests better terminology for what constituents are asked to do is “Physical Distancing”. She writes in her public letter that “We want residents to remain socially connected even as we must continue to stay physically apart.“
Chicago City Council Agenda – May 20, 2020
Cook County Board of Commissioners Agenda – May 21, 2020
News of the Week
Legislators back to Springfield next week — with faces covered, COVID-19 tests taken and temperatures checked – Chicago Sun-Times, May 13, 2020
Speaker Mike Madigan on Wednesday called for a special session of the Illinois House to take up the state budget and other pressing issues next week in Springfield – but not at the state Capitol because “these are not normal times.” “A pandemic is not swayed by our speeches, by our desire for normalcy, or by political expediency,” Madigan wrote in a letter to Republican House Leader Jim Durkin. “But as we all acknowledge, social distancing and medically guided precautions have saved lives.”
What to expect when legislature returns Wednesday – State Journal-Register, May 18, 2020
The Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield Wednesday through Friday for the first time since March 5, taking up legislation long delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. With more than two months to catch up on, but only three days to meet, lawmakers will hope to pass essential bills while minimizing the risk of spreading the novel virus.
Gov. Pritzker fumbles rollout of ‘Restore Illinois’ – Chicago Sun-Times, May 15, 2020
For many weeks after the beginning of this COVID-19 crisis, Gov. J.B. Pritzker proved adept at telegraphing his every move. Pritzker waited until people practically begged him to shut down the schools on March 15. He talked about issuing a stay-at-home order for days, and then acted on March 21 only after California jumped first.
Business owners now face misdemeanor charge if they reopen in spite of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order – Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2020
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday sought to downplay a new enforcement tool he quietly filed last week that allows the state to cite nonessential businesses with a misdemeanor for opening up to customers in violation of his executive orders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madison County Begins Reopening in Defiance of Stay-at-Home Order – NBC Chicago, May 13, 2020
A downstate Illinois county has voted to allow businesses and places of worship to reopen in defiance of the statewide stay-at-home order. Madison County's Board of Health voted 26-2 to approve a four-phased reopening plan that begins Wednesday.
'Reopen Illinois' rallies held as Anti-Defamation League condemns Nazi imagery on signs – Fox 32, May 17, 2020
Men and women, their ages varied, but they carried the same message to Springfield and Chicago – that coronavirus is a scam-demic. They mistrust what’s being released. Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League responded to imagery and signs comparing Gov. JB Pritzker to Hitler by saying in a statement, "The comparison of Illinois's democratically elected governor to Hitler is antisemitic – period. Such vile comparisons trivialize and dishonor the memories of the millions killed by Nazi Germany."
Downstate legislator cites 2001 letter from then-AG Jim Ryan in amended lawsuit contesting Pritzker’s stay-at-home order – Chicago Tribune, May 13, 2020
Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey has filed an amended lawsuit in a downstate court challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, contending that a 2001 Illinois attorney general document contradicts the state’s position on why the order could be extended beyond the initial 30 days.
Federal judge moves up petitions deadline for third-party and independent candidates but rejects call to require more signatures – Chicago Tribune, May 17, 2020
A federal judge has modified her ruling that gave third-party and independent candidates for Illinois’ Nov. 3 election until Aug. 7 to submit petitions, instead ordering a deadline of July 20 to allow time for challenges and for the ballot to be printed.
While state remains shut down, Illinois residents head to neighboring states to shop, eat out – Chicago Sun-Times, May 17, 2020
In the first weekend that Indiana and Wisconsin largely were open for business, many Illinois residents, feeling confident they won’t get sick, crossed state lines to patronize stores, restaurants and bars. As protesters stood in front of the Thompson Center downtown Saturday calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to “reopen” Illinois, Chicagoans Roberto Mangione and Giovanna Gianfortone trekked 90 minutes northwest to browse the shops and grab a bite to eat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Data breach in new Illinois online unemployment system exposes private information – Chicago Tribune, May 17, 2020
A glitch in a newly launched state system for processing unemployment claims for gig workers publicly exposed personal information, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday.
Lightfoot: Chicago staring down another $1 billion budget hole – Crain’s Chicago Business, May 15, 2020
One year into office and more than two months into the COVID crisis, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is sounding the alarm about city finances, saying she's staring into a billion-dollar budget gap, and the city is in "a world of hurt" without help from the federal government.
Lightfoot outlines Springfield agenda for Democratic lawmakers – Chicago Sun-Times, May 7, 2020
Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Democratic lawmakers Thursday she has three items on her Springfield agenda: a Chicago casino; renewed authorization for a $5-month-tax on telephone bills; and no cuts to the city’s share of the state sales tax. Extending the $5 tax added to monthly telephone bills — both cell phones and land lines — “came out of the blue,” according to State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), who ran for against Lightfoot in the first round of mayoral balloting.
Lightfoot plan to give O’Hare, Midway airport businesses rent breaks advances – Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2020
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan advanced Friday to give rent breaks to businesses at O’Hare International and Midway airports that have seen their revenue plummet because people are reluctant to fly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The holes in the airports’ budgets as the rent goes uncollected would be plugged using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money specifically earmarked for the air travel network, Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee said. Local tax money will not be used, she said.