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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, May 18, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Isabel also reached out to one of the House staffers attempting to organize a union and was told, “Further action is off the table until we pass a budget”…

Session rumors, man.

* The decision is here

* According to the mapmakers and using current voting-age population, the revised Chicago Elected School Board District map has 5 White-majority districts, 7 Black-majority districts and 5 Latino-majority districts. The other districts are split, with Latinos having a slight plurality in two…

The Illinois Senate and House Democratic caucuses today released an updated Chicago Elected School Board District map proposal and have scheduled additional hearings to gather further input from the public.

The updated map is available for review at and The proposal incorporates suggestions put forth through online map making portals and public hearings, including requests to keep communities of interest as whole as possible and to ensure the maps reflect the diversity of Chicago. The proposal consists of 20 potential districts. Current law requires that one member be elected and one member be appointed by the mayor from each of ten districts. Lawmakers are seeking guidance on whether current law should remain the same and, if so, guidance on the best way to pair the 20 districts into 10 districts.

The Senate Special Committee on the Chicago Elected Representative School Board will hold a virtual hearing regarding the updated map at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 18 at Additional opportunities to provide comment can be accessed online at or through email at

The House will hold a hearing on the proposed map on Friday, May 19th. Hearing information can be found at Feedback can also be emailed at any time to […]

The General Assembly faces a July 1 deadline to draw Chicago school board districts, which must be consistent with the Illinois Voting Rights Act. That law ensures districts are crafted in a way that preserves clusters of minority voters if they are of size or cohesion to exert collective electoral power.

Currently appointed by the mayor, the Chicago Board of Education will transition to become fully-elected over the course of a two-year hybrid period.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.2 percentage point to 4.2 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +8,500 in April, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The March monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +7,900 to +6,400 jobs. The March revised unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, unchanged from the preliminary March unemployment rate. The April payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In April, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Manufacturing (+3,000), Construction (+2,700), Financial Activities (+2,700), and Educational and Health Services (+2,700). The industry sectors with the largest monthly payroll job declines included: Other Services (-2,000), Government (-900), and Leisure and Hospitality (-700). […]

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.8 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for April, which was 3.4 percent, down -0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.3 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 4.5 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +131,800 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Educational and Health Services (+38,100), Leisure and Hospitality (+37,200) and Government (+29,700). Information was the only industry group to report a decline in payroll jobs, down -2,100 from a year ago. In April, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.2 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +2.6 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 275,000, down -3.1 percent from the prior month, and -5.0 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was up +0.1% over-the-month and down -0.1 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

* Man, this release is so full of bureaucratic-speak…

Today, Mayor Brandon Johnson; Deputy Mayor of Education, Youth, & Human Services Jennifer Johnson; the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS); and All Chicago Making Homelessness History announced a partnership with the White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to participate in ALL INside, a first-of-its-kind initiative to address unsheltered homelessness.

As part of ALL INside, the City will partner with USICH and its 19 federal member agencies for up to two years to strengthen and accelerate local efforts to move unsheltered people off the streets and into homes where they can rebuild their lives. […]

To accelerate ongoing efforts by local leaders, the Biden-Harris Administration will offer innovative and tailored support to participating communities for up to two years, including:

    • Embedding a dedicated federal official in each community to accelerate locally driven strategies and enact system-level changes to reduce unsheltered homelessness.
    • Deploying dedicated teams across the federal government to identify opportunities for regulatory relief and flexibilities, navigate federal funding streams, and facilitate a peer learning network across the communities; and
    • Convening philanthropy, the private sector, and other communities to identify opportunities for follow-on support and collaboration.

Hooray, we get some new federal employees. How about giving the city money to put people in homes?

* The Chicago news media is kinda flipping out over that list of tax hikes issued by a couple of groups which supported Brandon Johnson’s mayoral campaign. But Lavin is right to try to calm things down

“Let’s take a step back and see what the mayor’s plan actually is,” said Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jack Lavin

And this looks more like a rejection than mere “distancing”

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration on Wednesday distanced itself from a new proposal to raise up to $12 billion in annual revenue […]

“We put out a plan that we had to [argue about internally] a hundred different times. It was about $800 million. This is $12 billion. So it has nothing to do with what we’re trying to do,” Johnson’s senior adviser Jason Lee told the Sun-Times.

The final amount was “based on our kind of sober analysis of what might be feasible. … Their employee head tax is proposed to raise $100 million a year. Our head tax was proposed to raise $20 million a year. … They raise $2 billion off the income tax alone. We didn’t have an income tax in our plan. We didn’t think that was the right thing to do. They have a wealth tax. We don’t have a wealth tax.” […]

“His plan does not include a city income tax. He doesn’t plan to cut one penny from the CPD budget. Springfield has no appetite for a financial transaction tax. So we need to wait and see what the mayor’s proposals are before we react, then see how the mayor’s proposals address things like current obligations,” [Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jack Lavin] said of the $37 billion pension crisis and the $700 million “funding cliff” for mass transit.

* Press release…

State Senator Ram Villivalam, State Representative Dagmara Avelar, and stakeholders announce an agreement on continuing medical education required for licensure of healthcare professionals. The initiative has been introduced as Senate Floor Amendment 3 to House Bill 2450.

State Sen. Ram Villivalam, D–Chicago
I am proud to have worked with Rep. Avelar, the Illinois State Medical Society, Equality Illinois, and a coalition of labor, civil rights, and community service organizations. The agreement ensures that healthcare providers will have the tools and knowledge to effectively serve their diverse communities while at the same time providing healthcare professionals with the flexibility they need in order to fulfill their continuing education requirements.

State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D–Bolingbrook
As Illinois becomes more diverse, our health care needs to do the same. Culturally competent health care leads to more compassionate treatment and better health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable communities. This agreement is the result of extensive negotiations among advocates, legislators, and other stakeholders.

Illinois State Medical Society
We are pleased to support House Bill 2450 as amended as the new proposal will provide Illinois health professionals enhanced flexibility in taking continuing education coursework required for licensure. In addition to general continuing education hours, all licensed health professionals must take courses in specific areas to maintain licensure. We appreciate the efforts of Senator Ram Villivalam and our supporters in the House to provide much need flexibility and scheduling relief for thousands of healthcare heroes while keeping them educated on important matters related to patient care.

Healthcare Cultural Competency Coalition
We are a coalition of civil rights, community healthcare, and labor organizations. Thanks to the leadership of State Sen. Ram Villivalam and State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, this legislative agreement with the state’s medical community will ensure that healthcare providers are equipped with critical information and tools to deliver culturally competent care for the diverse communities they serve. We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Villivalam and Rep. Avelar and urge the Illinois General Assembly to pass this important legislation.

* DPI…

Today, the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) announced recent additions to its staff as part of Chair Lisa Hernandez’s Party Building Directive. DPI continues to build its staff to effectively implement the vision of Chair Hernandez and the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC), expanding and strengthening the Party’s presence throughout the state and serving as a resource for all Democrats.

    • Madeline Doctor will head the Party’s fundraising efforts as DPI Finance Director, expanding grassroots donor engagement and managing high level donor relationships. She previously served as Illinois Finance Director for Senator Tammy Duckworth and as Finance Director at Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress.
    • Jarae Hines will lead electoral strategy as DPI Field Director, working with DPI’s Regional Political Organizers to expand year-round voter engagement. He comes to DPI from Brandon Johnson’s mayoral campaign, where he was a field consultant and Operations Director on the transition team. He was previously Organizing Director for Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.
    • Randall Webster is DPI Data Director. He will drive the strategic use of data for Democratic campaigns at all levels in Illinois and work to modernize the party’s data infrastructure. He previously worked as the New Hampshire Data Director in the Independent Expenditure for America Votes.
    • Jessica Genova is now DPI Deputy Political Director. She came to DPI as a Regional Political Organizer after previously serving as Chief of Staff for State Representative Lindsey LaPointe.
    • Allison Janowski is DPI Press Secretary. She was previously the Deputy Director for Protect Illinois Communities and a Communications Associate on Governor JB Pritzker’s reelection campaign.
    • Alex Lineberry will serve as DPI Voter File Manager. She was previously a Data Associate at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a Field Organizer at the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor-Party.

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 2:46 pm:

    =5 White-majority districts, 7 Black-majority districts and 5 Latino-majority districts.=

    Should not be based on voting age population, just population. I am not sure why some are trying so hard to over represent the black population. Latino’s would have a genuine argument for the courts, possibly the same for white’s. The black population in Chicago has been shrinking for a decade and the Latino population is on the rise. They need to stop trying to create a map the creates more power for one group, that is one of the problems that Chicago has faced for eons. Just create a map that proportionally represents the make-up of the city.

  2. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:07 pm:

    Hooray, we get some new federal employees. How about giving the city money to put people in homes?”
    Couldn’t have said it better!.

  3. - Norseman - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:11 pm:

    I’m still shaking my head over the idea of unionizing staff. While the rumor wasn’t true, it could be a real problem in the future if the unionization effort continues.

  4. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:12 pm:

    That FOIA decision is absolutely terrible.

    –it demonstrated clear and
    convincing evidence that disclosure would jeopardize the security of its system–

    There is no way running the requested SQL query could jeopardize the security of a system. Additionally, the reasoning given that it is explicitly exempt is also incorrect as the exemption applies to getting a technical layout of the entire database, and that is not what was requested. The fields were known ahead of time, because anyone can see how that system works and create a custom query, as Mr. Chapman has done. He wasn’t asking for the technical layout of the database, he was asking for the output of a specific request to the database of the records contained within it. This is a bad reading by the court, caused by their failure to understand these technical terms.

    I had a similar issue last year with the county assessor. I noticed a specific vacant land parcel was being given a religious exemption, and was paying zero property taxes, despite not using the property for any related or charitable purpose as required to get the exemption.

    I asked the assessor for the documents that were returned from a DB query along the lines of “Select * from [table_name] where property_class=00090 and property_owner is like ‘%Diocese%’ “. Where 00090 is the property class for exempted property. It was a fairly simple request, and the response back was to tell me I could just buy the entire data set on CD for $109. Of course, I didn’t ask for the entire data set, so their response was less than useful. I eventually worked with them on the matter a little more, and the end result is they added ‘property class’ to the website to now be able to search for that field specifically. It’s not a perfect solution, but it did at least show a willingness to compromise that I was willing to consider acceptable enough to not peruse any further. I did have access to what I wanted, although it was a bit of a firehose of data because that property class included everything including city owned property. But it narrowed down the results enough that I could then parse that massive output through my own filters on my side without any additional work from the agency in question, and with a little more work from my side be able to get what I was looking for more specifically.

    Side note, the property in question that started this all, has since been re-classified to ‘non-farm commercial’, and added back to the tax rolls. I’m sure it was just an accident that unused diocese property was not getting taxed for many many years, and it suddenly was fixed when someone started asking questions.

  5. - Homebody - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:14 pm:

    Regarding the FOIA case, it is actually an interesting statutory interpretation case that could have wide ranging effects. The FOIA exemption in question (7)(1)(o) describes a list of items, then ends with a catch all of “and any other information that, if disclosed, would jeopardize the security of the system[.]”

    What the court says is that the limiting clause about jeopardizing security ONLY applies to the final catchall of “any other information.” It does not apply to the itemized list before the catchall.

    In theory I’m fine with that as a way to approach statutory construction. The issue is whether the drafters of the clause intended that reading. This could have far ranging effects on other statutes as well, and I hope the supreme court is consistent with reading statutes that way, so that drafters (whether in the ILGA or administrative agencies) can properly draft provisions so that courts will interpret them in the way they were intended to be.

    Isn’t the English language grand?

  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:37 pm:


    I’m old enough to remember when the list of exemptions only went up to (f).

    The exemption list is now well up into using double letters for exemption items, as all the single letters have been used. If I recall correctly, it’s up to LL now.

    It might be time to review FOIA from the top down.
    It’s been cludged together from the bottow up for too long now, that it is quite a mess. It seems every time something embarrassing is found, it isn’t long before it gets its own exemption letter appended to the law.

  7. - Homebody - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 3:42 pm:

    @TheInvisibleMan: They added an (mm) in P.A. 102-752, eff. 1-1-23.

  8. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 4:03 pm:

    –They added an (mm)–

    Was it a green mm?

    Sorry. I’ll show myself out now.

  9. - low level - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 4:08 pm:

    Regarding the $12B proposal, Johnson’s IGA team surely has gone down the list and determined what has the votes and what ideas come up short, at least for now. His distancing ot whatever you want to call it is likely a recognition of that reality.

    It sounds like we have a mayor who will try his best to work w lawmakers. That ks very good news.

  10. - Just Another Anon - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 4:09 pm:

    Some food for thought, if they start to clean up FOIA they need to account for voluminous video recordings which are subject to FOIA, but don’t meet the current definition of voluminous. For example, a request may seek 60+ hours of video footage, which requires at least 60 hours of processing (likely closer to 80 hours). You still have 5 business days or ten total business days if you extend. Thats 1.5 to 2 work weeks on one request. And you can’t recoup anything from the requestor beyond the cost of the CD. And if the requestor never picks it up, tough luck.

    There will always be a subcategory of people who will actively try to abuse FOIA to pester, frustrate, and ideally bring government to a grinding halt. Some do it because they are mentally ill, some do it because they have an axe to grind, some do it to set up lucrative lawsuits, and some just have nothing better to do.

    Like it or not, some of the worst abusers of FOIA are inmates, whose interests run the gamut of the categories listed above. I recall a few years back a change had to be rushed through because a bunch of rapists were FOIAing the weekly booking information for various women arrested by various police agencies and sheriffs to “entertain” themselves during their sentences. IDOC got particularly concerned when the found some of these guys “to do” lists for when they were paroled. The public does indeed have a right to know, and that is an important interest, but there are some people who shouldn’t have some information, and there is some information (especially data security information) that really shouldn’t be public, period.

  11. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 4:35 pm:

    Unionizing legislative staff is long overdue

    It is only fair Democratic legislators have to deal with mandates and the tail wagging the dog like so many other entities in Illinois have to do because of laws Springfield passed in service of their government union paymasters.

  12. - Big Dipper - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 5:45 pm:

    ==They added an (mm)==

    Added by a Crash Test Dummy?

  13. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 18, 23 @ 9:09 pm:

    –And if the requestor never picks it up, tough luck.–

    Sounds like a good motivation to digitize and put all of it online in the first place.

    Your concerns, are self-inflicted. Many places are already going to the digitized route for this exact reason. You should be well on the way to doing it as well, and if you are not you need to be asking the next level up in your command structure why you are not.

    You have your categories of people who request FOIA, and I have my categories of people who are supposed to answer FOIA;

    “There are those who operate under the mode they are custodians of information, and there are those who operate under the mode they are the guardians of the information.”

    With that simple rule, I can usually immediately tell who I’m dealing with - and modify my interactions accordingly.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Illinois react (Updated)
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup (Updated x2)
* Keep calm and Dolt-on
* Saying the quiet part out loud (Updated)
* Study: Illinois has the most diverse cannabis business ownership in the US (Updated)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
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