Insight on Illinois

As Congress negotiates a COVID-19 relief package for the United States, the state of Illinois and cities across the state are hoping for additional pandemic relief. The next 48 hours will be key.

In Illinois, all eyes are on any leadership changes for the Illinois House of Representatives. The vote will occur next month, at the beginning of the new Session.

Here’s what we are watching:

Illinois Receives First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Illinois received their first shipment of Pfizer vaccines on Monday, and the State, as well as municipalities like Chicago, expect to receive 109,000 doses by Wednesday.
    • On Tuesday morning, the state’s first doses were administered to front-line medical workers
  • Amid controversy over who is at fault, the House Civil Judiciary Committee will be investigating a COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans’ home where over a quarter of the residents have died of Coronavirus since the beginning of November

Governor Pritzker Announces Proposed Cuts in 2021 Budget

  • The 2021 budget initially proposed by the Governor included revenues from the failed Graduated Income Tax Constitutional Amendment
  • To bridge the revenue shortfall, the Governor has proposed over $700 million in cuts, using budget-cutting tactics including furlough days for state employees, a hiring freeze, and proposed cuts to the Department of Corrections budget

Battle Over Speakership Continues

  • The Black Caucus of the Illinois House has announced their endorsement of Speaker Michael Madigan for re-election
  • State Representative Maurice West (D-Rockford) is the only member of the 22-person caucus who has announced he will not vote for the Speaker
    • Six Madigan loyalists in the Illinois House penned a letter to the 19 dissenting Democrats, urging them to “come together as a family” to re-elect the Speaker
    • The House Special Investigating Committee II met this week and the Democratic members voted “no” on a motion that Speaker Madigan engaged in conduct unbecoming of his office, effectively ending the committee’s investigation

Shake-Ups in the Illinois GOP

  • At a meeting of the Republican State Central Committee, IL GOP Chairman Tim Schneider, who has served as Chairman since 2014, announced he will be stepping down
  • Many potential names have been floated for his successor, including Lake County GOP Chairman Mark Shaw and Richard Goldberg, a former director with the White House National Security Council and chief of staff for former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Upcoming Meetings

Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. – Cook County Board of Commissioners

Wednesday, Jan. 13 – General Assembly Inauguration

News of the Week

Illinois delivers its 20 Electoral College votes to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in a meeting rooted in historical traditionsChicago Tribune

Illinois delivered its 20 Electoral College votes to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday in a meeting that mixed tradition and history. The electors to the state’s Electoral College, all Democrats as a result of Biden’s Nov. 3 victory in the state, convened for less than an hour in the ornate, chandelier-lit Illinois House chamber in Springfield — its 118 seats providing room for the 20 face-masked voters to maintain proper social distance amid the ongoing pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Illinois as state announces 7,214 new cases and 103 additional deathsChicago Sun-Times

Illinois on Monday received its first COVID-19 vaccine shipments and workers hit the ground running to begin distributing doses to hospitals around the state, with vaccinations beginning Tuesday for frontline health care workers. About 109,000 doses were expected to be delivered to Illinois between initial shipments Monday and another round of deliveries expected Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

House civil judiciary committee opens inquiry into LaSalle Veterans’ Home deathsState Journal-Register

A coronavirus outbreak at the veterans home in LaSalle that has killed a quarter of the residents over the span of a few weeks has prompted the chairman of a state House committee to open an investigation into the deaths. “I don't know what it is or who's responsible but something is wrong,” said Rep. André Thapedi, chairman of the House Judiciary-Civil Committee in a phone interview. “And that's why I consider this to be a legal matter. What occurred — when you have 32 of our heroes dying in our care – that's clearly a legal matter. So, I want to use all of my skills and all other resources that I have as a legislator to try to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Pritzker announces $711M in budget cuts, including for parks, schools, public safetyDaily Herald

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced $711 million in cuts to the 2021 budget to chip away at a $3.9 billion shortfall, caused partly by the pandemic. They include furloughs for state workers and freezing grants to local governments toward parks and school maintenance.

Mike Madigan is making lots of promises to win votes for House speaker, but can he keep them?Chicago Sun-Times

Outsiders may not get it, but it makes some sense that the majority of House Democrats still back House Speaker Michael Madigan’s reelection. He’s been a genius at getting things done for his caucus. He is loyal to his people and has infinitely more institutional memory and can pull more strings and push more buttons than anyone alive. In his nearly 50 years in office, Madigan has been heavily involved with four legislative remap processes and has been in the House for five of them.

Illinois House Black Caucus backs Michael Madigan’s reelection as speaker, says he’s best bet to ‘deliver on our priorities’Chicago Tribune

The Black Caucus of the Illinois House has endorsed embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan’s bid for reelection to the post, saying its members believe they are “in a more advantageous position” to deliver their priorities under his leadership. The move by the caucus was expected and came after Madigan appeared virtually before the group along with his only public challenger for speaker, state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, at a “candidate’s forum” on Saturday.

Six House Democrats urge unity in letter to 19 members who won’t back Madigan as speakerChicago Sun-Times

Six House Democrats have sent a letter to colleagues who’ve said they won’t vote for Speaker Michael Madigan to retain that position, urging them to “come together as a family” as they grapple with the question of who will lead them during the next General Assembly. “Commonwealth Edison’s deferred prosecution agreement and subsequent indictments have understandably caused many of us to consider the future of our Caucus, who should lead us, and the type of transition process we all wish would occur in the coming months,” the two-page letter reads in part.

Democrats vote to end legislative investigation of MadiganCapitol News Illinois

A member of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Democratic leadership team announced in a letter Monday that she will not support him for another term in charge of the chamber. State Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison, the majority conference chairperson, joins 18 rank-and-file Democrats in publicly opposing another term for the nation’s longest-serving state House speaker. Madigan, who’s been tied to a federal bribery investigation, is now facing opposition from more than one-quarter of his members.

Democrats Opposed To House Speaker Michael Madigan Say They Aren’t Budging – WBEZ

After just three hearings in four months, Democrats on the special committee probing House Speaker Michael Madigan’s alleged misconduct and role in a bribery scheme involving Commonwealth Edison voted Monday to end their investigation. Throughout the combative three-hour hearing, the three House Republicans and three Democrats clashed repeatedly over the rules of procedure, disagreed about the facts contained in the federal court documents, and levied accusations of political stunts and a “kangaroo court.”

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider says he’ll step down amid hard-liner push to replace himChicago Tribune

Tim Schneider told top Republicans on Saturday that he intends to step down as Illinois GOP chairman, setting up a search for a successor as early as next month. Schneider, a former Cook County commissioner and Hanover Township trustee from Streamwood, was installed as chairman in May 2014 as the choice of then-governor candidate Bruce Rauner after the wealthy private equity investor secured the GOP nomination en route to serving one term as governor.

Black Caucus Backs Madigan — Merry Vax-Mas! — Lightfoot Dings D.C. — GOP Eyes Goldberg — Durbins's Double DutyPolitico

Richard Goldberg is being recruited by some members of the Illinois GOP to become party chairman, according to a source close to the selection process. The position opened up over the weekend when Chairman Tim Schneider announced he was stepping down after six years. Goldberg most recently served as a director with the White House National Security Council and before that was chief of staff for former Gov. Bruce Rauner and deputy chief of staff to former Sen. Mark Kirk.