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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

COVID-19

  • 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

Upcoming Meetings:

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 [1982] 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

Chicago City Council Could Resume In-Person Meetings as Soon as AprilCBS Chicago

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 CouncilCBS 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.

Is Mike Madigan's departure an end to Chicago's machine politics, or a change of players? – Journal Star 

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.

How Michael Madigan’s departure accelerates a shift in Chicago politics from old-school machine to new-era progressivesChicago Tribune

State tops 3 million vaccines administered; Pritzker announces awareness campaignCapitol 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 fallCapitol 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 chairChicago 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 electing U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly to succeed Michael Madigan as state party chair, Illinois Democrats make a move to decentralize powerChicago Tribune

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 attentionThe 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.

Hotel and lodging group: Illinois’ lack of clarity on reopening will have long term consequencesThe Center Square

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.

Addressing troubled cannabis licensing rollout among state’s ‘key priorities,’ Pritzker says Chicago Sun-Times 

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.”