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Afternoon Roundup

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Governor Pritzker kicked off his statewide tour detailing the budget. State Journal-Register

Gov. JB Pritzker at the University of Illinois-Springfield Student Union touted the budget, now awaiting his signature, as including several line items for construction projects on campus and increases investment into the Monetary Award Program by $100 million. Fiscal year 2024, starting in July, will have $701 million in total investment into program — a 75% increase since the beginning of the Pritzker administration. […]

“With this new budget we’re making it possible for nearly every student from a low, moderate or middle-income family to go to community college tuition free,” Pritzker said, kicking off a statewide tour detailing the budget. “Getting a college or university degree shouldn’t strap you in debt for the rest of your life.”

Rep. Mike Coffey, R-Springfield, was also in attendance and expressed support for several appropriations and reappropriations heading towards UIS.

He and all other Republicans in both chambers, however, voted against the budget. Coffey’s reasons for his ‘no’ vote were namely due to another increase to state legislator pay and feeling left-out on budget negotiations with the super-majority party.

* An update of an earlier post

* Last day folks…

TODAY, May 31st is the deadline to apply for the vacancy in the 1st District of the Cook County Board of Commissioners created by the resignation of Mayor Brandon Johnson. Democratic Oak Park Township Committeeman Don Harmon released details on this process May 17th.

All registered voters residing in the district are eligible to submit an application via email at

As a reminder, Mayor Johnson announced his resignation from the Cook County Board on May 13th, 2023 thus creating a vacancy to be filled by the elected Committee members of the Cook County Townships and Chicago Wards that comprise the 1st District. As the Committeeman with the highest number of “weighted votes,” Harmon will serve as the Chair of the proceedings.

“We welcome all applicants from the 1st District to serve the people of Cook County,” said Chair Don Harmon. “Anyone interested in applying to our committee for the appointment should submit a resume and a short cover letter signifying their interest and qualifications before the end of today,” he concluded. […]

After the application period is closed, the election committee may narrow the field of applicants and set a date and time for in-person interviews. Upon completion of interviews and deliberation, the committee will vote on the appointment of the new commissioner. A vote of the majority of the weighted votes will determine the appointee.

* Crain’s on that other budget

It looks like Illinois congressmen will be all over the map on the big debt extension bill, with a House vote now set for this afternoon.

Absolutely no one on either side of the aisle is saying they like the pact between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Perhaps that signals it’s a good deal. Whether or not you agree, passage will depend on how many votes the measure gets from the political center, with hard-right conservatives and way-left progressives peeling off. […]

Among Illinois reps who have so far expressed an opinion in an an interview, statement or online — some are still keeping mum — there is one sure “no” vote. That’s from downstate conservative Mary Miller. […]

“I have serious concerns,” particularly about but not limited to food stamps and work requirements, Ramirez said in a statement. Beyond that, reclaiming unspent COVID relief money could have a “tremendous” impact on Illinois, and changes in environmental permitting will potentially worsen pollution. Ramirez said she’ll decide after reviewing the fine print of the deal.

* Block Club Chicago

After four years of barricades, ID checks and protests, Lori Lightfoot’s neighbors have their block back.

Lightfoot’s security detail, which reportedly totaled more than 70 officers, was slashed earlier this month after Brandon Johnson was sworn in as mayor, marking the end of what some neighbors called “Fort Lori.”

The Chicago Police Department conducted a “needs assessment” of Lightfoot’s detail and “adjusted resources to meet current demands,” police spokesman Don Terry said. Terry didn’t answer further questions, including how many officers were pulled. […]

Liz said she and other neighbors were so ecstatic to be rid of the large security detail — and the restrictions that came along with it — that they had a celebratory champagne toast when the block cleared out.

* Which brings me to this Sun-Times story. No word if Mayor Johnson’s security detail were involved but his name was in the headline

A neighbor of Mayor Brandon Johnson is accused of beating and stabbing a woman so many times over the weekend that a worker for the Cook County medical examiner’s office remarked he had “never seen so many injuries on someone’s body,” prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Arnel Smith, 64, was charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide after the woman’s body was found early Saturday in an alley behind Smith’s home in the 5700 block of West Superior Street.

The 41-year-old woman, whose name hasn’t been released, was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with shards of broken pottery, Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers said.

Smithknew the woman before crossing paths with her Friday night at a Citgo gas station near Chicago and Hamlin avenues, Rodgers said. The two went back to Smith’s home where they used drugs, she said.

* Here’s the roundup…

    * WBEZ | Chicago City Council approves $51 million in aid for migrants after racially-heated debate: Dueling boos and cheers rang out each time members of the public spoke in support of the funding Wednesday. The meeting paused shortly as shouts from the public were so loud and boisterous, they overtook the proceedings that Mayor Brandon Johnson struggled to reel in. The debate was at times racially-charged as alderpersons and residents spoke out about where the city dedicates resources.

    * Triibe | Support for asylum seekers builds despite pushback: The shuttered Wadsworth Elementary School in Woodlawn has been used as a shelter for asylum seekers since the beginning of February. As of April 25, the total number of people sheltered at Wadsworth was 496, with 428 of them being males and sixty-eight being females. This solution was not without pushback from Alds. Jeanette Taylor (20th), Michelle Harris (8th), nor many of their constituents. Taylor said she was never informed by the Lightfoot administration that it would be setting up an encampment there. Taylor said she asked for a conversation back in October, shortly after buses full of asylum seekers sent from Texas sent by Gov. Greg Abbott began arriving in Chicago, but she never received one.

    * American Independent | The dark money funding conservative anti-trans groups: The donors identified by the American Independent Foundation as major supporters of the anti-trans groups profiled in this story are among the most powerful and wealthy on the American right: Leonard Leo, the conservative judicial activist who helped former President Donald Trump pick his Supreme Court nominees and who controls a billion-dollar funding apparatus; Richard Uihlein, the GOP megadonor who has bankrolled far-right and election-denying candidates; and members of the Koch donor network of nonprofit political organizations spearheaded by the conservative billionaire Charles Koch and his late brother, David.

    * WICS | Summer months see more crime and assault in central Illinois: “With the hot weather, people tend to drink more. We have a lot of factors that go into play here where the crime rates are going to rise across the board. Especially in assaults where you have more interaction with people,” said Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell. In 2021 and 2022, Decatur saw an average of 59 aggravated assault cases per month for nine months of the year.

    * Axios | Why TikTok wants its new data privacy trial held in Illinois: The company has requested that the new lawsuits, which accuse TikTok of accessing user data through third-party websites on the app’s browser, be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. It’s the same courtroom where a judge approved a $92 million class-action settlement that sent $167 checks to users in 2022. […] “TikTok is now coming back to the Northern District to ask if these new claims are covered by the $92 million settlement.”

    * WIFR | Rockford mayor unfazed by protestors during 6th State of the City Address: Protestors delayed the start of the speech by five minutes but the mayor seemed unfazed, touting what he calls improvements made to better the Forest City. […] He cited other accomplishments during his tenure including making water safe by replacing lead pipes, bringing more businesses to the area and implementing more sidewalks and streetlights into neighborhoods.

    * Tribune | Cook County program touted as one of the ‘top eviction prevention innovations’ has drawn praise, pushback: But the innovation has brought additional challenges. Before the pandemic, it could take just a few weeks for a tenant to be evicted. Now it takes at least a couple of months. The slowdown, tenants’ attorneys argue, is necessary to ensure that everyone, including landlords, gets the help that they need. But the extra time leads to financial distress for property owners, argue landlords’ attorneys.

    * WBEZ | Outdoor dining program could become permanent: The City Council’s License Committee unanimously advanced Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to make permanent an al fresco dining program that helped many restaurants and bars survive during the pandemic.

    * Jen walling | What Illinois can do since Supreme Court gutted federal protection of wetlands, waterways: You may not immediately see the impacts, but they will soon be felt by all of us. Stormwater displaced by the loss of wetlands that would normally absorb excess water must go somewhere. Certainly, some will find a way into our streets, homes, and businesses. Wetlands are an invaluable natural resource. They reduce flooding, filter out pollutants from water, provide habitat for a host of endangered species, and help reduce climate-warming carbon in our atmosphere. In Illinois, more than 85% of our wetlands have already been lost to development, according to the Illinois State Water Plan. Remaining wetlands are already suffering decreased biodiversity and an influx of difficult-to-control invasive species.

    * Tribune | Former Chicago cop charged with pinning Park Ridge teen to the ground last summer to stand trial Monday: Almost a year after he was charged for wrestling a young Park Ridge teen face down on a sidewalk in Park Ridge’s Uptown area, former Chicago Police Department Sergeant Michael Vitellaro will stand trial June 5, according to court records.

    * Crain’s | Johnson looks for more legislative wins at special City Council meeting: Last week, at Johnson’s first full City Council meeting, Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th, Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, and Ald. Anthony Napolitano, 41st, used a parliamentary maneuver to block a vote on the $51 million, which is being taken from a 2021 revenue surplus and meant to fund the city’s response through June. In response, Johnson and his allies called a special meeting for Wednesday to hold the vote. The ordinance is expected to easily be approved.

    * AP | Earth is ‘really quite sick now’ and in danger zone in nearly all ecological ways, study says: The study by the international scientist group Earth Commission published in Wednesday’s journal Nature looks at climate, air pollution, phosphorus and nitrogen contamination of water from fertilizer overuse, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, the unbuilt natural environment and the overall natural and human-built environment. Only air pollution wasn’t quite at the danger point globally.

    * Sun-Times | 11 people wounded over 3 hours in Chicago, mostly in neighborhoods that have been more violent this year: No arrests were reported in any of the attacks. Homicides and shootings across the city are down from last year, with homicides by 6% and shootings by 5%, according to police data, But most of Tuesday night’s shootings were in districts that have seen a rise in homicides or shootings or both.

    * ABC Chicago | Cook County minimum wage set for increase on July 1: The minimum wage will go up to $13.70 an hour for non-tipped workers and $8 an hour for workers who earn tips. The minimum wage increases each year according to a formula set by a county ordinance.

    * WSIL | Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch Kicks off Pride Month with a Celebration for all on June 1: The event will feature performers from Chicago’s legendary Baton Show Lounge. It’s hosted by some of Illinois’ greatest advocates for LGBTQ rights including: Associate Regional Communications Director at Sierra Club, Precious Brady-Davis; 14th District State Representative Kelly Cassidy; former House Majority Leader Greg Harris; Democratic Party of Dupage County Chair Ken Mejia-Beal; Alderman Lamont Robinson of Chicago’s 4th District; and Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, Mike Ziri.

    * WCIA | Illinois State Fair box office opens Thursday: Regular box office hours include 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, officials reported. Tickets are also available to purchase online.

    * Crain’s | Tribune Publishing owner to pay nearly $100,000 in settlement with union: New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital has settled an unfair-labor-practice complaint, resulting in nearly $100,000 to be paid out to members of the Chicago Tribune Guild. Alden, which owns the paper’s parent, Tribune Publishing, will disperse individual payments to union members who were on Tribune medical insurance plans in 2022. That includes people no longer employed by the company, according to an email from the CT Guild.

    * Block Club | As Lori Lightfoot’s Large Security Detail Shrinks, Her Logan Square Neighbors Say ‘It Feels Like A Normal Block Again’: Liz said she and other neighbors were so ecstatic to be rid of the large security detail — and the restrictions that came along with it — that they had a celebratory champagne toast when the block cleared out.


  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 2:33 pm:

    ==Rep. Mike Coffey, R-Springfield, was also in attendance and expressed support for several appropriations and reappropriations heading towards UIS.==

    I voted no but I want to make sure I get my face out there attempting to take some credit for the things the budget does. Republicans are two-faced when it comes to the budget. We aren’t voting for it but we’ll sure as heck take credit for all of the good things for our district.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 2:38 pm:

    ===Rep. Mike Coffey, R-Springfield, was also in attendance and expressed support for several appropriations and reappropriations heading towards UIS.

    He and all other Republicans in both chambers, however, voted against the budget. Coffey’s reasons for his ‘no’ vote were namely due to another increase to state legislator pay and feeling left-out on budget negotiations with the super-majority party===

    What an utter buffoon. You voted against it. You were Red. Sorry.

    Here’s how it works. Y’all are going to complain about the budget and “champion” that you voted no.

    You don’t get a free pass for this. My hope is that Coffey gets embarrassed and won’t show up to things like this where his vote was against this.

    This is why my comment in “Isabel’s Morning” post, for me, matters.

    These folks should not get passes, and publicly shaming these folks… it won’t matter, they are voting against you anyway… so publicly shame them.

    It’s tiring.

    You wanna make angry hay about whatever, then go back to your district office and write angry press releases and let those actually voting for a functioning state talk actual policy.

  3. - SAP - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 3:20 pm:

    ==Illinois already suffers greatly from its lack of conservation and nature-based climate solutions. In March, the environmental movement mourned a great loss when, after thousands of letters had been sent and environmentalists from every corner of the state spoke out in opposition, the historic Bell Bowl Prairie was demolished to make way for expansion of the Chicago Rockford International Airport. Bell Bowl was one of the very few remaining native prairies in Illinois and home to a range of endangered species, including the rusty patched bumblebee…

    Pritzker is a leader on climate solutions.==

    I know that bulldozing the Bell Bowl Prairie is only one data point, but those two passsages don’t fit together so well.

  4. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==will disperse individual payments to union members==

    Shouldn’t a business paper know it’s disburse?

  5. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 3:48 pm:

    If Republicans are bent on removing protections for wetlands, OK, but don’t ask me to bail out those who build in floodprone areas, cause it’s gonna get worse. Penny wise pound foolish.

  6. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 3:50 pm:

    What Illinois can do since Supreme Court gutted federal protection of wetlands, waterways…

    Work on the local level rather than the Federal level. Work to enhance existing partnerships with landowners on mutually beneficial projects, and find partners that understand environmental/agricultural/recreational impacts. Ducks Unlimited has protected more wetlands than any other organization. Soil conservation groups like The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts work to conserve wetlands and soils while also ensuring the productive use of lands.

  7. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 23 @ 8:58 pm:

    …but the Earth is ready to run a marathon…according to science denier Rep. Miller (3%)

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* Afternoon roundup
* After Bailey attack, Bost flips on Ukraine support
* County clerks being "inundated" with voting-related FOIA requests here
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to yesterday's edition
* Taxes are for the little people
* *** UPDATED x3 *** Pritzker says he's 'expressed concerns' about the city's proposed migrant tent camps: 'I don't think this is the only option'
* Good luck, Henry!
* Jimmy Weiss asks for leniency, claiming his corruption would have eventually benefited the state and that he can no longer 'bribe his way back into business ever again'
* More misinformation from Bloomberg
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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