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Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, May 23, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Brenden Moore

Governor Pritzker will be at the Madison County Administration Building at 10 am to celebrate its completion. Click here to watch.

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Tribune | Judge temporarily blocks hastily passed election law that favored Democrats in November: Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll issued the order pending a hearing on June 3, which had been the statutory date for filling the unfilled candidate slots on the Nov. 5 ballot. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure into law on May 3 shortly after Democratic majorities in the House and Senate passed the legislation in a two-day tour de force.

* Tribune | Contractor sues Illinois Tollway, alleging breach of $323 million contract: Judlau Contracting, a New York-based company, says in its lawsuit that it had started work on the interchange of Interstate 290 and Interstate 88 when its contract was terminated by the Illinois Tollway on May 16. The lawsuit, filed in DuPage County Circuit Court, says the action was without proper legal basis and harmed the company’s reputation and overall business. The company also says the sudden halt in the project could cost taxpayers millions of dollars extra and create safety risks for drivers on the interchange.

* NPR | When Illinois adults with intellectual disabilities seek care, they often wait years: The toughest positions to fill are Direct Support Professionals(DSPs) who work directly with people with disabilities. That’s because agencies — like Opportunity House — who contract with the state can only use state funding to pay those salaries. So, the state, essentially, dictates the wages and if they get a raise. “On average, our DSPs when you look at our starting wage is like $16 an hour,” said Matya. Supporting adults with intellectual disabilities can be really tough. So, when you can make just as much or more at Starbucks, he says, it’s a difficult sell.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Sun-Times | Illinois General Assembly budget talks stall over sportsbook tax hike, retailer discounts: In what’s become a springtime rite in the Illinois Capitol, state legislators on Wednesday were bumping up against their self-imposed deadline to approve an annual spending plan, as Democrats wrangle over a sports betting tax hike, retailer discounts and other key revenue proposals floated by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Lawmakers needed to file a budget bill by Wednesday night in order to wrap up the legislative session Friday as originally scheduled by Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and state Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.

* Tribune | In possible DNC preview, Gov. J.B. Pritzker mocks ex-President Donald Trump: Before a captive crowd of national media members in Chicago on Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker heaped scorn upon former President Donald Trump, saying the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is cruel, wants to be a dictator and is “waiting to become the first felon elected president.” The remarks, made at a media gathering at the United Center in preparation for this August’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago, hinted at just some of the barbs certain to be aimed at Trump this summer and highlighted the attack-dog surrogate role Pritzker is playing in the 2024 presidential campaign.

* AP | Illinois governor’s office says Bears’ plan for stadium remains ‘non-starter’ after meeting: “As the Governor has said, the current proposal is a non-starter for the state,” press secretary Alex Gough said in a statement. “In order to subsidize a brand new stadium for a privately owned sports team, the Governor would need to see a demonstrable and tangible benefit to the taxpayers of Illinois. The Governor’s office remains open to conversations with the Bears, lawmakers, and other stakeholders with the understanding that responsible fiscal stewardship of tax-payer dollars remains the foremost priority.”

* Sun-Times | CPS expert’s remarks that not all instances of sex abuse cause trauma met with ire in state legislature: State Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago, introduced a bill in the final days of the spring session this week to protect child sex abuse victims in court. Tarver said on the House floor last week that CPS’ top lawyer, Ruchi Verma, “needs to go” for approving the use of the expert witness and the legal strategy in the case, including trying to make the victim’s name public. CPS regularly hires outside law firms to handle litigation, but Verma oversees the district’s legal activity. In this case, the Board of Education hired Chicago-based Nielsen, Zehe & Antas, which has been paid $634,317 since it first started working for CPS in 2020.

*** Chicago ***

* Crain’s | Johnson pushing to fire official in charge of city contracts: For months, Johnson’s office has wanted to replace Aileen Velazquez, the city’s chief procurement officer, according to sources familiar with the effort to remove her. Johnson has even identified a replacement, according to the same sources. But, unlike the heads of other city departments, Velazquez serves a four-year term and can only be fired for cause after a full hearing before the City Council where she would be afforded an attorney to defend her record.

* Windy City Times | Mayor’s new press secretary deletes controversial tweet about 2010 Chicago Pride Parade:“i brake for gay pride. reluctantly.” Reese wrote. The tweet, which has since been deleted, was shared around social media and among LGBTQ+ groups who felt it could be perceived as harmful to the community. But Reese told Windy City Times he was making a joke about traffic, and not LGBTQ+ people. “I lived in Uptown for 10 years and traffic was atrocious,” Reese said. “I meant no slight against LGBTQ+ people at all. I DJ’d the parade back in 2022, and it was an absolute blast.”

* Crain’s | Johnson hiring head of progressive political party that helped push him into office: Kennedy Bartley, who took over as executive director of United Working Families in July after previously serving as the party’s legislative director, is joining the mayor’s office as a liaison to progressive elected officials, unions and community groups. The hire comes after Johnson’s first year in office, but has been in the works for months, according to sources familiar with the hire. It also comes as some of the mayor’s allies on the City Council have grown concerned their longtime agenda is in peril after the Bring Chicago Home referendum failed, denying the movement a win they had pushed for nearly a decade.

* Tribune | Council gives itself power to take control of ShotSpotter’s future, defies Johnson campaign promise: The 34-to-14 vote to give the City Council final say over the mayor’s cancellation plans sharply defies Johnson, who campaigned on the promise of getting rid of the controversial and expensive technology. Under the order that passed Wednesday, the pact with ShotSpotter is now subject to an up-or-down council vote before it can be terminated. It is not clear how the new rule will be applied to a deal the mayor already announced will end, however, especially since Johnson has suggested it’s illegal for aldermen to try to exert such authority over a city contract.

* Sun-Times | Anti-abortion members of City Council stall approval of quiet zone around West Loop clinic: At the behest of Planned Parenthood, Ald. Bill Conway (34th) was trying for the second time in six months to establish a “quiet zone” around the abortion clinic operated by Family Planning Associates at 659 W. Washington Blvd. Conway was furious after Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) and Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) used a parliamentary maneuver to delay the quiet zone vote by one meeting.

* Crain’s | Cook County plans $12 million in factory-built homes: Of a planned 120 to 150 units, the first will go up in the city’s Humboldt Park neighborhood — where there are already some modular homes — and suburban Chicago Heights by the end of the summer, said Karl Bradley, deputy director of housing and strategic finance. By fall, units should be underway in Maywood, Bellwood and Broadview, Bradley said.

* Tribune | Another piping plover — apparently a female — has joined Imani at Montrose Beach: The newcomer joins Imani — the city’s most celebrated avian bachelor — who has returned to the North Side beach for three summers, apparently looking for love. The only known surviving chick of local legends Monty and Rose, Imani has endured a series of very public disappointments in his search for a mate. But his luck may be changing.

* Block Club | The Cubs-White Sox Rivalry Goes Back To A Baseball ‘War’ In 1900. Here’s Why It Still Rages On: In response to the rumor of the new American League placing a team in Chicago, Cubs President Jim Hart said he welcomed a “war” between the leagues. “If the break-up of the national agreement must come, let it come in a hurry,” he told reporters. “It cannot happen too soon so far as I am concerned. Under the present low condition of baseball, the war would help considerable to clear up the baseball atmosphere and let us know where we are standing. On the whole, it would be a good thing if the national agreement was broken.”

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Students to help build homes on land District 211 sold to developer: Students in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211’s Building Construction program soon will benefit from the district’s 2020 sale of 62 acres in Schaumburg to a housing developer. The 149-lot Summit Grove development will provide three home sites where the construction students will gain real-world experience over the next three years.

* Naperville Sun | Naperville’s Human Library will let you ‘check out’ a person for conversation and learning: Next Saturday, April 20, the city of Naperville, Naperville Public Library and Naper Pride are teaming up to present the “Human Library,” an event where people — rather than books — will be on loan to engage with borrowers in conversation. The three-hour opportunity to peruse, and exchange, personal stories will take place between 1 to 4 p.m. at the 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive.

*** Downstate ***

* WICS | Cicada season draws crowds to Lincoln Memorial Garden in Springfield: The Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center in Springfield is seeing a surge of out-of-state visitors just to see the cicadas. Our crews met people who traveled here from California to experience and learn about them. “This is a unique time in Central Illinois,” Joel Horwedel, Executive Director at the Lincoln Memorial Garden, said.

* WICS | Iroquois County reels from severe windstorm damage, EMA urges emergency sign-ups: “The EMA office started to make notifications on our Facebook page- as early as Sunday, about the potential of an upcoming storm event Tuesday. This allowed Iroquois County residents time to prepare,” said EMA Coordinator Scott Anderson. Even though the severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes did not materialize locally, the high winds did.

*** National ***

* Tech Crunch | Meta’s new AI council is composed entirely of white men: Meta on Wednesday announced the creation of an AI advisory council with only white men on it. What else would we expect? Women and people of color have been speaking out for decades about being ignored and excluded from the world of artificial intelligence despite them being qualified and playing a key role in the evolution of this space. Meta did not immediately respond to our request to comment about the diversity of the advisory board.


  1. - DougChicago - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 10:30 am:

    Now all those appointed candidates can just lose like they always do.

  2. - Responsa - Thursday, May 23, 24 @ 10:49 am:

    Can anyone currently in Iroquois County comment on the news piece above with respect to wind damage? Thanks

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