Insight on Illinois

For better or worse, national political party conventions in the days of COVID 19 look nothing like the conventions of old. These events have long been about putting on a show for prospective voters, and for building momentum within the parties, but they also have traditionally been an excellent opportunity to network with elected officials from across the country. Not so this year. But we are now officially in campaign season, and the Presidential election will be front and center from now until November.

Locally, the fight over the proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would repeal the flat tax continues to intensify, as the proponents of the measure, led and fully funded by Governor Pritzker, hit the airwaves last weekend. We look for the opponents of the measure to weigh in soon.

Here’s what we are watching:

National Party Conventions

  • The Republican National Convention started on Monday, with limited delegates traveling to Charlotte, NC
    • The Illinois Republican Party is divided over President Trump
      • Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider expressing optimism on Trump’s chances in Illinois
      • Prominent former Republican Governor Jim Edgar said he would cast a vote for Vice President Joe Biden, calling the incumbent President a “disappointment”
  • The Democratic National Convention was held virtually last week
    • Due to the virtual convention, Illinois delegation managed to avoid heavy scrutiny of House Speaker Michael Madigan for his connection with a ComEd bribery scandal that broke in July
    • All Illinois Democratic delegates were united behind Vice President Biden

COVID-19 in Illinois

  • Due to increased Coronavirus spread, some regions of Illinois will have new restrictions beginning August 26th. They include:
    • No indoor service at bars and restaurants
    • Maximum gathering size will be 25 people
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved a Coronavirus test developed by the University of Illinois, which is cheaper and faster than nasal swab testing, although the University hasn’t yet scaled up the production to make the test widely available
  • Governor Pritzker issued an executive order to extend the eviction moratorium through September 19th, 2020

Lake County Tax Evasion Scandal

  • State Senator Terry Link will be resigning as Chair of the Lake County Democrats, following charges of tax evasion

Upcoming Meetings

Wednesday, September 9, 10 a.m. — Chicago City Council

Thursday, September 24, 10 a.m. — Cook County Board of Commissioners

State GOP chair: Republicans are party of law and order, Democrats a party of lawlessnessChicago Tribune

Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider used the first day of the GOP’s national convention to declare Republicans as a party of law and order and Democrats one of promoting lawlessness in citing incidents of violent protests and looting in Chicago.

As the RNC Kicks Off, A Look at the GOP in IllinoisWTTW

Leading up to and during his term as Illinois’ 42nd governor, Bruce Rauner spent some of his personal fortune to help boost the Republican Party in the state. He’s not only no longer doing that, Rauner’s not even registered to vote in Illinois anymore; he’s set to cast his ballot from Florida.

Madigan proving the very real elephant in the virtual room for Illinois Democrats during conventionChicago Sun-Times

Although an all-virtual Democratic National Convention has led to a few awkward moments as party leaders adapt to a new web-based format, there weren’t any technical glitches behind an uncomfortable pause Tuesday afternoon as top Illinois Democrats were asked a pointed question about embattled Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Gov. Pritzker Calls Trump 'Utterly Incompetent' At Pre-Convention RallyWBBM

Illinois delegates geared up for Monday’s start of the virtual Democratic National Convention, with an online rally of their own Sunday evening. With most participants meeting from their homes, embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan—who chairs the State Democratic Party and is under scrutiny by the feds —made a brief appearance, only welcoming the delegates.

Illinois scales back reopening in Will, Kankakee counties after COVID-19 positivity rate threshold reachedChicago Tribune

State officials announced Monday that a series of stricter regulations will be put in place this week in Will and Kankakee counties at restaurants, bars, and casinos to slow the spread of COVID-19 after that region reached a threshold for positivity rate that triggers the move.

Pritzker expected to extend evictions moratoriumChicago Sun-Times

Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to extend Illinois’ evictions moratorium before it expires at the end of the week, his office said Thursday. “The Governor will extend the moratorium when the current executive orders expire,” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in an email.

U of I gets approval for COVID-19 saliva test – State Journal-Register

The University of Illinois has won federal approval of a saliva test it developed to detect the coronavirus, something Gov. JB Pritzker said has “potentially game-changing implications” for controlling the spread of the virus. However, don’t look for the tests to be widely available soon. Pritzker said there is still work to be done. He said it could still be a couple of months before there is broader access to the test.

Lake County Democrats moving to oust Link ahead of his scheduleDaily Herald

Lake County Democrats, unhappy with party Chair Terry Link's plan to wait until Sept. 15 to step down in the wake of a federal tax evasion charge, have called a special meeting next week to remove him from the post sooner. The scheduling of the Aug. 31 meeting comes after more than a dozen top county Democrats last week demanded that Link resign immediately. Among them were U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, state Sen. Julie Morrison, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, and Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated-rate income tax: Here’s what you need to knowChicago Tribune

Illinois voters in November will be deciding on an issue that will impact both the state’s financial future and their own pocketbooks: an amendment to the state Constitution that would replace Illinois’ flat-rate income tax with a graduated rate structure.

Chicago has $2.7B shortage of infrastructure dollars, aldermen toldChicago Sun-Times

Chicago needs $4.4 billion over the next five years to put its streets, bridges, buildings, and vehicles on a maintenance-and-replacement cycle, but has funding for only $1.7 billion, aldermen were told Tuesday. During a virtual meeting of the City Council’s Committee on Capital and Economic Development, Budget Director Susie Park joined her counterparts overseeing three infrastructure departments in outlining the magnitude of the capital funding shortage.

‘Fort Lori’: Chicago police ban protests on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s block, order arrests for anyone who won’t leaveChicago Tribune

The Chicago Police Department has effectively banned protesters from demonstrating on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s block in the Logan Square neighborhood, ordering officers to arrest anyone who refuses to leave, the Tribune has learned. The directive surfaced in a July email from then-Shakespeare District Commander Melvin Roman to officers under his command. It did not distinguish between the peaceful protesters Lightfoot regularly says she supports and those who might intend to be destructive, but ordered that after a warning is given to demonstrators, “It should be locked down.”