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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

Click here for session updates throughout the day.

* Tribune

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon said he passed on putting a measure to extend a moratorium on public school closings in Chicago to a vote because he accepted Mayor Brandon Johnson’s promise not to shut down any schools or deplete funding for selective enrollment schools.

“The mayor has always been emphatically clear with me that he does not intend to close schools, he does not intend to under-resource schools, he does not intend to undermine the selective enrollment schools,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat. “I think his commitment to me is even more clear and more binding than the bill would have been.”

“This is a business based on trust and in my view the mayor promised more than the bill did,” Harmon said after the Senate adjourned until the fall early Sunday.

The legislation to extend by two years, to 2027, an existing moratorium on shutting down Chicago Public Schools buildings had breezed through the House in a 92-8 vote and also was passed by a Senate committee before Harmon put the kibosh on it.

* SJ-R early this month

Development at the Y-Block could be coming soon, Gov. JB Pritzker hinted at a Citizens Club of Springfield event Thursday night.

Plans have varied for the former home of the YWCA due north of the Governor’s Mansion since its 2017 razing.

During a request for proposals that year, former Mayor Jim Langfelder picked a proposal by the North Mansion Y-Block Development Group, with $1 million of personal backing from former Gov. Bruce Rauner, to put a park and cafe on the site. Progress has, however, since stalled.

Now under a new governor and Mayor Misty Buscher, Pritzker said the state and the city of Springfield are still discussing how to use the space between Fourth and Fifth Streets on Capitol Avenue. […]

In recent summers, the 2.25 acre lot owned by the city has been used for varying events such as the Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series. A new development, Pritzker added during the discussion at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, should maintain openness to the public and be active year-round.

Brenden Moore

* House Democratic Women’s caucus…

As discussions around proposals for men’s professional sports teams continue passed the spring session, members of the Illinois House Democratic Women’s Caucus joined together today to address House Bill 5841 that highlights inequities in the women’s professional sports industry in Illinois. The recently filed HB 5841, sponsored by Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, is designed to enhance inclusivity and ensure equitable support for both men’s and women’s sports, aligning with the state’s broader equity goals.

“This spring, we have heard a number of costly requests from some of the most successful and celebrated men’s sports franchises in our state, while women’s teams do not yet even have a seat at the table with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. House Bill 5841 will ensure that as we consider plans from men’s teams, we provide the same consideration to women’s teams. Many of us do not support public financing of professional team facilities, but we believe strongly that any discussions with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority must be done so equitably with women’s teams a part of those conversations.

“We are at a watershed moment for women’s professional sports, and our approach must rise to meet the momentum of the many talented women athletes who have captured the nation’s attention. This bill is only a start in the effort to address the many inequities that women’s teams have faced for far too long. Four years ago, many of us helped legalize sports betting in Illinois, but none of us expected to usher in an industry that was so glaringly inequitable. With tens of millions of dollars being spent on men’s professional teams by sports betting companies, not one has partnered with a women’s professional team in our state. It’s time to give women’s teams equal opportunity to achieve the level of success that athletes have clearly earned.”

House Bill 5841 amends the Commission on Equity and Inclusion Act and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority Act. Key changes include:

    - Equity in funding. The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority must collaborate with the Commission’s Executive Director on Equity and Inclusion to evaluate and propose policies promoting equity in sports facilities’ decision-making and funding.
    - Bonds for women’s sports. If bonds are issued for men’s professional sports facilities, a corresponding issuance must support women’s professional sports facilities. If no immediate project exists for women’s sports, the funds will be reserved until a suitable project arises.
    - Reporting requirements. The Commission on Equity and Inclusion must prepare and submit reports to the General Assembly every five years, starting January 1, 2026, evaluating whether the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority has met equity goals concerning fund use and management.
    Prohibition of discrimination based on sex. - The legislation ensures that no person can be denied participation or benefits in activities at facilities funded under the Act based on gender.

The bill did not make it out of the House Rules committee.

* Block Club Chicago

For three critical hours after four students were shot, two fatally, at Benito Juarez High School, the school principal and some staffers threw up roadblocks to the police investigation and weeks later had to be threatened with grand jury subpoenas to spur their cooperation, the Illinois Answers Project has learned.

Detectives on the scene of the mass shooting that happened just before Christmas 2022 quickly learned the four victims and the suspected shooter were all current or former CPS students and asked to view school surveillance video, to interview a student witness who’d given information to school officials and sought access to other records relating to the students involved.

But at most every turn, according to public documents and police sources, school principal Juan Carlos Ocon and other administrators told detectives that cooperating would violate CPS policy, and they insisted on checking with their legal department. 

The delays — which have never been previously reported — cost investigators invaluable time to interview witnesses and gather physical evidence, law enforcement sources said. Police arrested a 16-year-old about eight weeks later in connection with the mass shooting after they saw him leaving a stolen car with a rifle. But between the slayings at Juarez and his arrest, he is suspected of taking part in another shooting, authorities said. He has pleaded not guilty in the Juarez shooting, and his defense attorney pointed to the delay in his arrest to question the strength of the case. Illinois Answers is not naming the teen since he was a juvenile at the time of the shooting.

*** Statewide ***

* Bloomberg | Grad Photo Company Can’t Arbitrate Student’s Illinois BIPA Suit: A commencement photography company didn’t have a valid arbitration agreement to enforce against an Illinois university graduate alleging violations of the state’s biometric info law, a federal judge ruled. Joshua Gaertner brought a proposed class action under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act alleging that he was never informed that Balfour & Co., through GradImages, would collect or use his biometrics to sell him photos from his Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduation. Balfour sought arbitration in the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois based on a browsewrap agreement that Gaertner argued wasn’t conspicuous.

*** Chicago ***

* Tribune | New O’Hare satellite concourse renderings show rebuild plan, but questions remain: The announcement shows growing momentum on the long-awaited rebuild, which calls for replacing Terminal 2 with a new Global Terminal and adding two satellite concourses. But many questions remain about the timeline, cost and design of the delayed expansion project. “This is a once in a generation expansion, the modernization of O’Hare,” Johnson said at a news conference. “Investing in our airports is an investment in all of our communities.”

* Sun-Times | 5-year-old girl fatally shot on Near West Side loved dancing, gymnastics: Reign Ware was always dancing across the floor. It didn’t matter to the 5-year-old whether it was the living room at home or at her aunt’s birthday party — even birthday cake couldn’t deter the “TikTok queen,” as her mother, Raven Adams, called her. She would tumble like a gymnast wherever she could. Adams had planned to enroll her daughter in gymnastics classes, but was waiting until she “got bigger” so she wouldn’t get hurt.

* Sun-Times | Chicago photographer, new book capture stunning images of the city from the sky: For Terry Maday, Chicago offers not only incredible restaurants and museums, but also amazing views. The award-winning Evanston native has been in the videography business for nearly 30 years. For his most recent project, he sought to capture the Windy City in ways that couldn’t be achieved from down on the ground. Maday, 56, is one of 15 photographers featured in “Above and Across Chicago,” a new book from Trope Publishing with a collection of photographs taken from helicopters, atop skyscrapers and with drones.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Shaw Local | Kane County considers pay raises for elected officials: Under the proposal, the county board chairman ‒ be it current chairman Corinne Pierog or her opponent, Lance Bell ‒ would be paid $130,000, 23% more than the current paycheck. But the pay for county board members would stay the same, at $25,000 a year.

* Crain’s | Following sale of Oak Park hospital, staff report quality, safety issues: Six medical residents who talked to Crain’s said West Suburban is often lacking necessary supplies and equipment to care for patients. They also said the hospital is chronically understaffed, sometimes missing essential hospital staff like X-ray technicians, phlebotomy workers and even surgeons. A shortage of staff, especially on the weekends, is sometimes extending the length of patient stays at the hospital, according to the residents. The hospital’s CEO, while acknowledging some complaints, has pushed back against most of the residents’ claims.

* Lake County News-Sun | Waukegan alderman gives up liquor license to avoid conflict of interest; ‘They should change the law’: Guzman, 47, bought the business in 2014 and got a liquor license six years later to sell beer and margaritas to go with the hotdogs, hamburgers, Italian beef and chicken sandwiches. Elected to the City Council just over a year ago, Guzman began recusing himself from the proceedings anytime an issue related to liquor licensing was before the legislative body. But, earlier this year, he learned that was not necessarily enough, and that according to state law he may not be able to continue on the council while holding his liquor license.

*** Downstate ***

* Illinois Times | Frito-Lay distribution center slated to be built in Springfield: A distribution center employing 150 to 200 full-time workers at a warehouse the size of almost four football fields would be built along Interstate 55 near the Chatham exit, based on a proposal Springfield zoning officials will consider June 20. Local economic development officials told Illinois Times they don’t yet know who would operate the site, which, based on industry estimates, could cost between $30 million and $51 million to build.

*** National ***

* ABC News | DNC to nominate Biden and Harris to bypass Ohio ballot issues: The Democratic National Committee will move to conduct virtual party proceedings to certify President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic Party nominees before Ohio’s Aug. 7 ballot certification deadline, and before their in-person convention beginning Aug. 19, the party confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday. This will take a big moment away from Biden and the party — the official nomination at convention is typically met with fanfare and celebration, but he will become the official nominee virtually, without the pomp and circumstance.

* AP | 25 are dead across the US after weekend tornadoes. Texas is getting battered again: Strong storms with damaging winds and baseball-sized hail pummeled north Texas on Tuesday as much of the U.S. recovered from severe weather, including tornadoes, that killed at least 25 people during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Widespread power outages were reported in the region, which includes Dallas and Fort Worth, where an oppressive, early-season heat wave added to the misery. About 800,000 customers lacked electricity Tuesday, according to

* NYT | Who Plotted to Sell Graceland? An Identity Thief Raises His Hand: The writer said he was an identity thief — a ring leader on the dark web, with a network of “worms” placed throughout the United States. In an email to The New York Times, he said his ring preyed on the dead, the unsuspecting and the elderly, especially those from Florida and California, using birth certificates and other documents to discover personal information that aided in their schemes. “We figure out how to steal,” he said. “That’s what we do.”


  1. - 44 - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 2:41 pm:

    ah its called the legislature for a reason dude, do your job and pass the law. You took the time to write it and the support was there. But then you accept a handshake and so called promises. The guy making these promises is trashing select enrollment literally the same time he is promising you he wont mess with them. Why take his word for it? Ridiculous!! Wait till he says circumstances have changed…

  2. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 3:14 pm:

    The Waukegan alderman story - anyone know which state law they’re referencing? From 2015-23 Springfield had an alderperson who recused on liquor matters due to business interests. It was accepted.

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 3:15 pm:

    I would not trust Mayor Johnson. You cannot make an agreement with someone who does not believe they owe the other party anything. He is just going to break the agreement, then claim “you deserved this.”

  4. - Just a guy - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 3:31 pm:

    All of the comments related to MBJ speak to the concerns that many of us who are his constituents worry about on a daily basis. He has no background in politics or the actual running/operations of a business/legislative body. Yet we are again asked to “trust the process.” If I remember correctly, this is the same Mayor who, along with a number of other leaders at the CTU, have yelled from the rooftops that we need to have no protection officers in CPS schools. Yet we have this. :-(

  5. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 3:31 pm:

    I would not be surprised if the Mayor reaches a deal with the teacher’s union and comes back to state for more money and says unless we get what we are owed I will have to reconsider my pledge to you because we can’t afford it because you are not giving us the money we are entitled to. That would set a record for tone deafness but I think the mayor could pull it off

  6. - Herb Perry - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 3:38 pm:

    Is it possible this is a win-win for Harmon and Pritzker? If MBJ breaks the promise, he will lose all his statewide credibility and unofficially end his career. If he upholds his promise, then no harm, no foul.
    Also, Harmon’s district wins big if CPS overhauls its popular magnet school program. Anecdotally as a city parent, most of my neighbors talk of Oak Park as the only suburb they’d consider.

  7. - Shevek - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 4:19 pm:

    Re liquor licenses - 235 ILCS 5/6-2(14) discusses prohibitions on public officials holding liquor licenses. That paragraph explicitly permits alderpersons and village trustees to hold liquor licenses as long as they recuse themselves, as was described in the article.

    “Notwithstanding any provision of this paragraph (14) to the contrary, an alderperson or member of a city council or commission, a member of a village board of trustees other than the president of the village board of trustees, or a member of a county board other than the president of a county board may have a direct interest in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of alcoholic liquor as long as he or she is not a law enforcing public official, a mayor, a village board president, or president of a county board. To prevent any conflict of interest, the elected official with the direct interest in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of alcoholic liquor shall not participate in any meetings, hearings, or decisions on matters impacting the manufacture, sale, or distribution of alcoholic liquor.”

  8. - Tony T. - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 4:28 pm:

    == House Bill 5841 ==

    “Equity and Inclusion” for billionaires, i.e. Laura Ricketts and Jennifer Pritzker, both members of the Red Stars’ ownership group. I’m not sure that ensuring they get a handout along with the McCaskeys and Reinsdorfs of the world was what the suffragettes and freedom riders had in mind, but whatever.

  9. - Friendly Bob Adams - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 4:39 pm:

    Taking Johnson’s pledge in good faith would seem to be a mistake.

  10. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 5:07 pm:

    Shevek - Thank you.

  11. - JoanP - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 5:46 pm:

    = he accepted Mayor Brandon Johnson’s promise =

    Oh, dear. I seem to remember when he opposed subsidizing a new football stadium.

  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 6:05 pm:

    ===remember when he opposed subsidizing a new football stadium===

    With city money. His deal was for state money. Heh

  13. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, May 28, 24 @ 11:45 pm:

    I enjoy Y Block AMP concerts very much and it’s the perfect site for them. Not sure it needs a cafe when you can rotate in various food trucks along one side. The fact it’s a blank canvas is a feature, not a bug. It’s a place for rallies, picnics, cultural events, and more, without fixed facilities beyond porta potties.

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