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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Apr 4, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Restaurants push back against bill ending tipped wage. SJ-R

    - Tipped workers at restaurants throughout the state earn an hourly wage of $8.40 plus tips. Through House Bill 5345, tipped wage would jump to $15 starting next January.
    - Rep. Mike Coffey manager of Saputo’s, expects inflation that will be passed on to the customer.
    - Sponsor Rep. Lisa Hernandez said the bill will be held on second reading, allowing for further discussion before a full chamber vote in the House.

* Related stories…

* Isabel’s top picks…

    * Michael Phillips | Is Gov. Pritzker’s sales pitch to Hollywood working?: I talked to Gov. Pritzker and, separately, Illinois Production Alliance executive director Christine Dudley about last week’s flurry of Los Angeles sit-downs and meet-ups; what Georgia offers filmmakers in tax incentives that Illinois doesn’t; and, inevitably, “The Bear,” now filming its third and fourth seasons in Chicago.

    * Tribune | Illinois lawmakers consider measure to criminalize AI-generated child porn: The measure, which ultimately passed through the House Judiciary Criminal Committee, is being pushed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Its main sponsor is state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, a Glenview Democrat who has been working on ways to have state law keep up with the new technology. […] David Haslett, chief of the attorney general’s office’s high-tech crimes bureau, testified that AI could make it more difficult for law enforcement to bring charges of child pornography because of confusion over whether images were real or computer-generated.

    * Capitol News Illinois | Lawmakers question Pritzker’s plan for new early childhood agency: The plan, which Pritzker first announced in October and which he included in his budget address in February, would consolidate a host of programs and services currently run by three different agencies under one roof. That would include such things as child care subsidies for low-income families currently housed in the Department of Human Services; preschool block grants administered by the State Board of Education; and the licensing of day care centers, which is currently done by the Department of Children and Family Services.

* Attorney General Kwame Raoul…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul presented the proposed budget for the Attorney General’s office for the next fiscal year to lawmakers today in Springfield. Raoul announced to a legislative committee that his office generated more than $1 billion in revenue on behalf of the state in 2023. The revenue the Attorney General’s office collected for the state shows that for every dollar of taxpayer funding the office received in Fiscal Year 2023, it generated $17.55 for the state. Since Raoul took office, the Attorney General’s office has generated more than $5.4 billion for the state.

“The Attorney General’s office serves our state as the people’s law firm, and we are able to bring in needed revenue as we do this critical work,” Raoul said. “We have remained steadfast in our work to curb violent crimes in our communities and protect children and our most vulnerable populations. I look forward to building upon our efforts to improve the quality of life in every part of Illinois.”

In 2023, the Attorney General’s office was able to bring in $290 million through collections litigation, including cases involving the collection of funds for damage to state property, child support enforcement, fines and penalties. The Attorney General’s office also collected more than $299 million through tobacco litigation and more than $284 million in estate tax revenues.

* Some perspective

* Here’s the rest…

    * WREX | $4.3 million in state grants awarded to prepare current high school students for teaching careers: This is the fourth round of funding for this program, which has awarded a total of $5.6 million so far. The grants have benefitted nearly 12,000 Illinois high school students across 212 school districts and three community colleges.

    * STLPR | Missouri solar power grew significantly last year, but it’s still far behind neighboring Illinois: Solar energy grew faster in Missouri than Illinois in 2023. Missouri generated almost 32% more power from the sun in 2023 compared to 2022, while Illinois’s solar generation grew by about 24%. […] Illinois still produces significantly more wind and solar energy than Missouri does, the Climate Central report said. In 2023, Illinois generated more than 25,500 gigawatt-hours of solar and wind energy, while Missouri produced about 7,700 gigawatt-hours.

    * Block Club | Mayor Brandon Johnson, 1 Year After Election: ‘Name One Thing … I Haven’t Done’: The mayor, a former public school teacher and union organizer, declined to give himself a letter grade for his performance thus far. Instead, he listed a series of measures he sees as proof he’s fulfilling his campaign promises: phasing out the tipped minimum wage, providing funding to reopen mental health centers, expanding paid time off requirements and not raising property taxes, he said.

    * Tribune | Mayor Brandon Johnson’s ex-chief of staff joins private security firm that hires Chicago cops: Guidice stepped down as Johnson’s top deputy Monday following a City Hall career that stretched back to the administration of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He has been replaced by Cristina Pacione-Zayas, a former state senator who was Johnson’s deputy chief of staff since the beginning of his term in office. Guidice led the Office of Emergency Management and Communications before he joined Johnson’s cabinet last spring. Blue Star portrayed Guidice’s city government-heavy resume as unique expertise.

    * Sun-Times | Johnson’s failed Bring Chicago Home referendum gets boost from unlikely source: Developer Quintin Primo III sounded almost like a cheerleader for the $100 million-a-year tax increase during a news conference called to announce $151.2 million in tax increment financing subsidies to help adapt four Loop office buildings for residential and commercial use.

    * Crain’s | Why private-equity investors see a target-rich environment in Chicago’s accounting biz: In 2021, private equity made a notable push into the accounting industry, buying national firms like EisnerAmper and Schellman & Co., among others. The trend continued this year with Chicago-based players Grant Thornton and Baker Tilly opening their doors to private equity. “It’s definitely a new trend,” said Michael Minnis, an accounting professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “There’s certainly been a lot of interest and activity in the accounting space by private equity.”

    * Sun-Times | Janitors union rallies in Loop for better pay as contract deadline looms: The unionized workers, represented by the Service Employees International Union Local 1, will decide Saturday whether to ratify an agreement or vote to strike before their three-year contract expires on Sunday. The negotiations affect 8,000 janitors in the Chicago area who clean buildings including Willis Tower, Hancock Tower, Merchandise Mart and other iconic sites.

    * Crain’s | United CEO’s pay soared last year from COVID lows: Kirby received $6.6 million in “non-equity” incentive or cash bonus last year, the biggest factor in his overall compensation climbing to an estimated $18.6 million from $9.8 million in 2022. His $2.9 million bonus from 2022 and $3.7 million bonus from 2023 were both paid out last year, the proxy shows.

    * Sun-Times | Inside the Chicago court fight on Black hair care: In October 2022, the first of several thousand lawsuits was filed at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the Loop by a woman from St. Louis claiming that chemicals in hair relaxer products she used — such as Soft Sheen, Just for Me and Dark & Lovely — caused her cancer. Near-identical lawsuits began piling up in state and federal courts across the U.S. The federal cases — now counting 8,500 plaintiffs, with more added every week — were consolidated last year in front of a single federal judge in Chicago. Dozens of cases have been filed in Cook County, and dozens more are in front of judges in local jurisdictions across the country. Love filed a lawsuit of her own in June.

    * The Hollywood Reporter | Iowa-LSU NCAA Rematch Sets All-Time Record for Women’s Basketball: Iowa’s 94-87 victory over LSU averaged 12.3 million viewers for ESPN, the largest TV audience ever for a women’s basketball game in the United States. The previous record was set more than 40 years ago, when CBS’ broadcast of the 1983 title game — featuring USC legend Cheryl Miller — drew 11.83 million people. LSU’s 102-85 win in last year’s championship game was the previous ESPN record, drawing 9.9 million viewers across ABC and ESPN2.

    * CBS | Former Gov. Pat Quinn has warning for White Sox, Bears after Kansas City stadium tax referendum fails: “I think the people of Chicago should have the same opportunity as the people of Kansas City,” Quinn said. “In Kansas City, the voters were clear for not raising a sales tax.” Last week, Quinn filed an ordinance with the Chicago city clerk that would ask the City Council to put a referendum on the November ballot allowing voters to decide if their tax dollars should support new stadiums.

    * TNC | Georgie Geraghty Named Illinois Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy: “Leading The Nature Conservancy in Illinois, alongside committed colleagues and partners in the Midwest and around the world, is a full-circle moment,” said Geraghty, who began her career with General Electric (GE). “We are all seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change and the loss of nature. But I am as hopeful as ever because local communities, decision-makers and influential businesses are pushing for much-needed change.”


  1. - Gravitas - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 8:03 am:

    To Brandon Johnson:

    One thing that you haven’t done during your first year in office was to hold regular press conference and face media questioning on a consistent weekly basis. Your immediate predecessor, Lori Lightfoot, held press conference much more often.

  2. - H-W - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 8:43 am:

    Re: Tipped Wage

    People who are able to work full time should be paid enough in wages to afford food, clothing and shelter, as well as transportation and healthcare.

    It’s pretty simple actually. Employers and others who advocate for less are responsible for poverty and its related tax burdens upon our communities and state.

  3. - SnakePliskin69 - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 8:53 am:

    The expectation of tipping has gotten out of control. I say raise the hourly wage and let’s be done with tipping. Workers know what they will get paid and customers will know what they’re charged. I see it as a win for all.

  4. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 8:53 am:

    The tipped wage bill also needs to be amended to add Jury Pay to at least $15/hour.

  5. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 9:11 am:

    I read the block club interview.
    It’s character assassination when you criticize the Brandon Johnson administration.
    Also I believe I read the other day that you’re wicked if you didn’t vote for BCH.
    We’re building a big tent here apparently.

  6. - West Sider - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 9:11 am:

    The Philips piece on Pritzker in Hollywood is a tremendous window into his leadership. JB is the leader many had hoped for in Bruce Rauner. We are enormously fortunate.

  7. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 9:24 am:

    Pro tip: You have to pressure developers who you are giving taxpayer dollars to support Bring Chicago Home before the election. No one cares now.

  8. - Friendly Bob Adams - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 9:47 am:

    Since it’s almost a year in office now, I’ll make this little joke for the last time:

    Brandon Johnson is running out of time to make a good first impression.

  9. - Sue - Thursday, Apr 4, 24 @ 11:44 am:

    With office building vacancies at historic highs- yes it is certainly a good time for SEIU to call a strike on behalf of the folks who clean those buildings

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