Insight on Illinois
The first three months of this new year have shown 2021 to be quite a year of change. Of course, President Biden has assumed the helm in Washington and is filling out his cabinet posts. The pace of change in Springfield has been brisk indeed. Not only have we seen a new House Speaker for the first time in decades, both the Illinois Republican Party and the Democratic Party of Illinois have chosen new leaders within the past month. In Don Tracy, the Republicans have chosen a downstate lawyer and businessman to take the party helm. And in Robin Kelly, the Democrats have chosen a suburban, African American woman (and Member of Congress) to succeed as the party’s chair. Each of these choices speak to the centers of power for each party and will have ramifications for this election cycle. As always, we watch these developments closely.
Here are the other events that we are watching:
New Illinois House Speaker
- New rules, including a 10-year term limit for the Speaker and House Minority Leader
- Republican House Minority Leader looked for more reforms to the rules to provide for more transparency
- Speaker seeks a re-map of the legislative districts that reflects the diversity of Illinois population
- Mass vaccinations have been administered. 7-day rolling average for vaccines administered is over 90,000, nearly 3.5 million vaccines doses have been administered
- Limited number of fans for the Cubs and White Sox will be allowed in the stands for opening day
- Chicago teachers who want vaccinations before returning to in-class teaching will have to use unpaid leave
- Chicago Public Schools is offering vaccines for staff members
Thursday, March 18th, 10 a.m. – Cook County Board of Commissioners
Wednesday, March 24th, 10 a.m. – Chicago City Council
Illinois General Assembly (House & Senate) are in Session
News of the Week
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, a top-ranking Democrat, reflects on 40 years in Congress. Nearly 40 years later  the 76-year-old Durbin, a Democrat, has won every subsequent election, first for 20th District House of Representatives and then from 1996 onward for U.S. Senate. – Illinois Times
After holding meetings exclusively by video conference for the past 11 months, the City Council could resume in-person meetings as early as April, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said...
The Chicago City Council – CBS Chicago
The Chicago City Council … approved Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to spend another $377 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, two days after a pair of aldermen used a parliamentary maneuver to delay the vote.
In just the last two months, Illinois Democratic leadership already is more diverse — Emanuel “Chris” Welch is the first Black House speaker, and new state party chair, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, is the first African American and woman to hold the post.
State tops 3 million vaccines administered; Pritzker announces awareness campaign – Capitol News Illinois
More than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered statewide as of Friday, and Gov. JB Pritzker announced a new $10 million public awareness campaign aimed at encouraging residents to get vaccinated.
Pritzker extends COVID-19 orders but eyes modifications ‘in the coming weeks’ – The Center Square
Comptroller hopeful outdoor events on track for summer, indoor events for fall – Capitol News Illinois
Mendoza said that the return to holding events would be gradual and based on a number of factors, including COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates.
Robin Kelly wins race to succeed Mike Madigan as state chair – Chicago Sun-Times
Choosing the first woman and person of color to lead them, Democrats named U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois on Wednesday — despite concerns over limits on her ability to raise and spend funds.
In a vote of the 36-member Democratic State Central Committee, with each member’s ballot weighted by the number of votes cast in the 2020 March primary, Kelly got 52% to 48% for Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th.
Husband-wife legislative duo from deep red Illinois grab state, national attention – The Southern Illinoisan
It was a whirlwind few days in Washington, D.C., in early January for U.S. Rep. Mary Miller and her husband, state Rep. Chris Miller, both Republicans from Coles County.
An advocate for Illinois’ hotel and lodging industry says while other states are opening up more fully, the lack of clarity from Gov. J.B. Pritzker on when Illinois will open up will have lasting consequences.
During [the] State of the State and budget address, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said passing legislation to create additional pot shop licenses is among the state’s “key priorities.”