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Afternoon roundup

Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* All branches of government have revolving door issues, including the US Attorney’s office

John Lausch, who stepped down as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in March, is headed to Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm announced today.

Lausch began his legal career at Kirkland in 1997 as an associate and will return to the firm as a partner in the government, regulatory and internal investigations practice group.

* Civic Federation

SB1629 would change the calculation of final average salary [for Chicago firefighters] from the highest 8 consecutive years within the last 10 years of service to the highest 4 consecutive years during the last 10 years of service. SB1630 would change the limitation on pensionable salary to one that increases based on inflation from one that changes by the lesser of 3% or [deleted because of an amendment] the inflation rate. The legislative sponsors and supporters of these proposals argue that the benefit enhancements are needed to preemptively solve the concerns about Tier 2 benefits failing to meet Safe Harbor rules. But there has been no comprehensive, statewide evaluation done to determine if or when Tier 2 benefits will violate Safe Harbor rules.

SB1629 passed the Senate 55-0, but hasn’t yet received a House floor vote. SB1630 also passed the Senate 55-0, and cleared the House today 88-24-2. The Tribune editorial board has railed against both bills, to no avail. Mayor Lori Lightfoot was opposed to the bills, but Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s new deputy chief of staff, is a co-sponsor of both bills.

* A last-minute move to add punitive damages to the Wrongful Death Act is criticized…

A coalition of business groups has issued the following statement in opposition to HB219, which will add punitive damages to select court cases and stifle job creation and growth in Illinois:

“Two years ago, in the waning hours of the lame duck session, Democrats in the General Assembly imposed pre-judgement interest on lawsuits adding immense pressure to defendants to settle cases regardless of the merits of the case. And now, with only days remaining in the spring legislative session, it’s déjà vu with a last-minute amendment adding punitive damages to certain, select court cases. Lawmakers should not upend decades of legal precedent in order to tilt the playing field even more in favor of wealthy trial attorneys. This will further solidify Illinois’ reputation as a poor place to do business and make job creators take a second look at expanding or investing in Illinois.”

The measure is scheduled to be heard this morning in the House Judiciary-Civil Committee. The groups opposing the measure include:

    Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
    Illinois Retail Merchants Association
    Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
    Illinois Chamber of Commerce
    National Federation of Independent Business Illinois
    Illinois Railroad Association
    Illinois Life & Health Insurance Council
    Mid-West Truckers Association
    American Property Casualty Insurance Association
    Illinois Trucking Association
    Illinois Movers and Warehousemen’s Association
    Chemical Industry Council of Illinois
    National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
    Rockford Mutual Insurance Company
    Zurich North America

* Rep. Ammons will run for reelection instead of vying for the Senate

Discretion is the better part of valor. Look before you leap.

Those thoughts, among others, must have been running through state Rep. Carol Ammons’ mind as she contemplated following through with her January announcement that she would challenge appointed state Sen. Paul Faraci for the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Senate’s 52nd District seat.

After weighing the pros and cons, Ammons filed papers Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections amending a previous filing declaring her Senate run. The new filing by the Friends of Carol Ammons stated her intent to seek “re-election to the 103rd Illinois House seat that comprises Champaign-Urbana.” […]

Faraci accepted the news with equanimity.

“I really do look forward to working with Representative Ammons,” he said. “This (decision) allows us to focus on that, and I think it’s great.”

Her new D-1 is here.

…Adding… From what I was told, Tracy won a super-majority

Attendees of the Illinois Republican Party took a vote Saturday on whether they had confidence in GOP Leader Don Tracy.

It happened at a regular meeting of the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee in Edwardsville.

At Issue: Republican state Sen. Jason Plummer, who represents the 55th District, and a few others called for new leadership. There are concerns about where the party is headed, that the party isn’t raising more money and that the Illinois GOP isn’t doing more to expand its reach.

Tracy ultimately received a majority of support, according to two people in the room. But divisions within the party remain.

It has always been thus within that state party. Always.

* Press release excerpt…

Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that, thanks to a partnership with Cook County Health (CCH), the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) has added behavioral health care coordinators to 18 HACC public housing communities. Thanks to federal funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), HACC behavioral health care coordinators will play a proactive role in ensuring that Housing Authority residents receive resources that foster mental health, physical health, and will also provide referrals to other healthcare resources when necessary. This includes case management, therapy/counseling, housing stability support and workforce development.

* SoS…

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has established the first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer position in the Secretary of State’s office.

Dr. Margaret “Margie” Lawler, who joins the office today, will fill this important inaugural role, Giannoulias announced.

Dr. Lawler brings significant experience, most recently serving as Blackburn College’s inaugural DEI Officer. She has been engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for over 12 years at institutions of higher learning, including key roles at Illinois Central College and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She also brings private sector experience from her years with Caterpillar, Inc. in Peoria. […]

In addition to serving as DEI Officer, Dr. Lawler will serve as deputy director for training in the Secretary of State Springfield Personnel Office. In this capacity, she will revive and refresh the office training for all employees, especially managers.

* Crain’s

Co-working company Industrious owes its former West Loop landlord more than $2.3 million for walking out on its lease in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Cook County judge ruled last week.

In what will likely be seen as a win for all landlords that have leased space to major shared-office providers in recent years, the court found New York-based Industrious committed fraud and violated its contract with Stockbridge Capital Group, the San Francisco-based investor that used to own the building at 600 W. Jackson Blvd. where Industrious closed a location in 2020, court records show. Stockbridge alleged in a 2020 lawsuit that Industrious stopped paying rent in April 2020 and was abandoning the $4 million in remaining rent payments on a lease that runs until 2030.

* Yesterday…

Tomorrow, lawmakers will sport their suits and sneakers to show their support for those touched by cancer in the state, those lost to cancer and cancer control policies in Illinois. This year, 74,580 individuals are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer in Illinois and an estimated 23,730 will die from the disease.

Illinois has made great strides over the years to reduce the cancer burden through policies to prevent cancer and access to care legislation, including being the first state in the nation to pass legislation to improve access to biomarker testing.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) thanks Rep. Marcus Evans for his continued dedication to being a champion for those affected by cancer and leading this suit and sneakers effort. ACS CAN also thanks Rep. Camille Lilly for championing tobacco control measures, including adding e-cigarettes to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act this year, as well as Rep. LaShawn Ford, Rep. Joyce Mason, Rep. Laura Faver Dias and all the other dedicated legislators who have joined us in our fight against cancer.


* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Homebody - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    Re the US Attorney’s Office: There is a very good reason that the Rules of Professional Conduct rule 1.11 exists- a special conflict of interest rule specifically for former government attorneys.

    Without it you essentially create two tiers of attorneys that are permanently locked or locked out of government work. Agencies would never be able to hire people with subject matter experience because the best attorneys would know that serving as a US Attorney, or Deputy AG, or in the DOJ, etc, would make it impossible for them to ever return to private practice. So instead, a lot of the best attorneys would just never work on the government side.

    Unless or until government agencies pay professionals at a comparable level to their opposing counsel in private practice, any attempts to make further restrictions on changing jobs seems far more likely to just make the quality of the professionals being hired to work in those government jobs get much worse.

  2. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 2:57 pm:

    I’m surprised Tracy isn’t facing a no-confidence vote once a month.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 3:02 pm:

    ===once a month===

    If they had monthly meetings, he prolly would. /s

  4. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 3:16 pm:

    Kirkland and Ellis has been cleaning up doing cryptocurrency bankruptcy representation these days. They have become acknowledged experts in the subject matter, which is thorny and complex due to the cryptocurrency desire to speedrun the entire history of economics. Entertaining to watch but it must be a headache to deal with the books.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 3:48 pm:

    Tracy fending off the cult by embracing cult language in releases should be rewarded.

    I like to think another reason they keep Tracy around is so the Eastern Bloc types can equally gripe about this party and the “Democrat” party, victimhood shrouded with paranoia. Put one of their own in…

  6. - Juice - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 4:05 pm:

    Lausch being in the government, regulatory and internal investigations practice group at Kirkland has got to make for some real fun practice group meetings.

  7. - Google Is Your Friend - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 4:33 pm:

    - Homebody - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    So when they say all that jazz about public service, it’s just an act?

  8. - Amalia - Tuesday, May 16, 23 @ 5:29 pm:

    dear lawmakers who wore sneakers with suits, support every effort that creates tests for cancer. there are only 4 tests right now, 4 cancers. so that leaves out lots of kinds of cancer. create more tests.

  9. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Wednesday, May 17, 23 @ 5:56 am:

    === Lawmakers should not upend decades of legal precedent in order to tilt the playing field even more in favor of wealthy trial attorneys.===

    Interesting that they say in favor of “wealthy trial attorneys” instead of “grieving family of the deceased employee.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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