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Isabel’s morning briefing

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Once again working through the night, lawmakers finalize $53.1 billion budget. Capitol News Illinois

Despite holding 78 seats in the chamber, it took Democrats three tries to reach the 60 votes needed to approve more than $1.1 billion in revenue increases, including a tax hike on sportsbooks and businesses, to balance the $53.1 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2025.

The spending plan passed 65-45, with seven Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.

The revenue plan that capped the voting on the budget-related bills was more of a challenge. House Bill 4951 fell one vote short of passage twice after 4 a.m. due to attendance issues. On the third try – after about an hour of procedural maneuvering by Republicans that left Democrats reeling – the bill passed at 4:43 a.m. with the minimum 60 votes necessary.

* Related stories…

I’ll have more on the blog in a bit.

* Governor Pritzker will hold an end of session press availability at 10 am today. Click here to watch.

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* WBEZ | With shortage of mental health workers, Chicago trains the public to try to prevent suicide: The Chicago Department of Public Health is training city workers and residents who live in neighborhoods with the highest suicide rates on how to spot the signs of suicide risk. They include Mount Greenwood and Calumet Heights on the South Side to Norwood Park on the Northwest Side. Some of these areas are home to high numbers of city workers, including police officers and other frontline workers who are exposed to repeated trauma, said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Simbo Ige.

* CBS | Thompson Center’s “Standing Beast” carried off: Workers used a crane to remove pieces of the black-and-white sculpture that stood outside the Thompson Center for decades. The fiberglass sculpture “Monument with Standing Beast” was first unveiled in 1984.

*** Statehouse News ***

* WCIA | Capitol Connection: AFL-CIO discusses session, captive audience and future policy pushes: Tim Drea, Illinois AFL-CIO’s president, sat down on Capitol Connection on Friday morning to talk about the bill, the proposed new stadium for the Chicago Bears and other policies the organization will be advocating for in the future.

* Play Illinois | Legislative Session Ends Without Movement on iGaming: Two bills that would have legalized online casinos in Illinois stalled in committee as the state legislative session concluded last week. In the end, consensus could not be formed to push either bill to a vote. House Bill 2239, introduced by State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez Jr., and Senate Bill 1565, sponsored by State Sen. Cristina Castro, failed to escape the committee process and come to a debate and vote on Friday in Springfield.

* Tribune | Lawyers for ex-AT&T boss object to Madigan evidence at upcoming trial: In their 13-page response filed Friday, lawyers for La Schiazza argued that the government’s proffer “is devoid of any evidence” showing La Schiazza or any other AT&T employee knew “that seeking to influence Mr. Madigan was forbidden,” as required by current Chicago-area case law. “Doing something to develop or maintain a positive relationship with a politician or politically influential person is not a crime,” attorneys Tinos Diamantatos, Megan Braden, Alborz Hassani and John Dodds wrote. “Hiring a consultant recommended by a politician or politically influential person in order to build relationships or curry favor is not a crime.”

*** Chicago ***

* Chalkbeat | At least 150 Chicago schools set to lose staff next school year: The shifts in school staff are coming despite a new funding formula meant to more equitably fund schools and provide set staffing levels, as district leaders work to close a major budget deficit and grapple with the end of federal COVID relief money. Still, district leaders said Tuesday that they’re optimistic about the new budget formula, and that CPS will guarantee a job elsewhere in the district for teachers who are losing their current positions due to budget cuts.

* Crain’s | CPS releases schools budget under new funding formula as $391M deficit looms: “I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to work collaboratively with the CTU and our principals union to do the same,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said during a briefing with reporters today. CPS’ current deficit does not reflect any impacts from collective bargaining agreements, he added.

* Sun-Times | With time running out, Save A Lot operator makes little progress toward opening stores: After months of blown deadlines and broken promises to renovate and reopen six low-cost grocery stores in underserved communities, the operator of Save A Lot stores in Chicago promised a top city official in January that his company will do better. “We took your comments about a ‘hard reset’ to heart,” Yellow Banana Chief Executive Joe Canfield wrote to Ciere Boatright, Chicago’s top planning and development official, in a January 31 email. Five months later, Yellow Banana continues to fall short of its own goals.

* Crain’s | Chicago’s Hispanic community welcomes Biden and the DNC — and demands work permits: “The immigrant issue is dividing our community. I think one message that President Biden should say and should do is, ‘work permits for all.’ I think that would take care of a lot of issues,” said Jaime di Paulo, president and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “But they don’t want to do it. And in fact, (Biden) called us ‘illegals’ at the State of the Union. So you need to understand that he’s playing to his base and he’s playing to the other base.”

* Tribune | Democrats plan to nominate President Joe Biden by virtual roll call before DNC in Chicago: The Democratic National Convention, where the president would otherwise be formally nominated, comes after Ohio’s ballot deadline of Aug. 7. The party’s convention is scheduled for Aug. 19-22. Ohio lawmakers have moved the deadline in the past for candidates of both parties, although they had not done so yet for Biden this year and were called to a rare special session by Gov. Mike DeWine to address the issue.

* Tribune | Artists, entrepreneurs transform cicadas from ick to in demand while building community: “It’s more than just an item,” said Nina Salem, founder of The Insect Asylum, an Avondale-based museum of zoology leading a citywide effort for amateur and expert artists to buy or sponsor over 1,000 giant plaster cicada sculptures to be decorated and placed around Chicago. “It’s an experience, and it’s an opportunity to join a community.”

* Sun-Times | Off-duty police officer shoots and kills pit bull held by neighbor, prompting lawsuit, COPA probe: COPA is asking the police department to strip Mostek of her policing powers, noting in its report that Maynard’s head was “inches away” from the gunshot. “This action raises concerns about Officer Mostek’s ability to make sound, risk-averse decisions concerning the use of deadly force as a last resort,” COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten wrote. “Her decision-making in situations involving force could potentially endanger herself, members of the public, and other CPD officers by exposing them to unnecessary risks and harm.”

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | ‘One giant step closer’: Deal would create governing body for emergency dispatch consolidation in Lake County: The Regional Operations and Communications Center will house partnering agencies, including Mundelein, Fox Lake, Gurnee, CenCom dispatch, Vernon Hills, Lake Zurich and Countryside Fire Protection District. Seventeen entities have said they wish to become founding members and have until June 30 to do so, according to Sutton.

*** National ***

* AP | Washington Post said it had the Alito flag story 3 years ago and chose not to publish: “It was a surprising admission from such a major news organization,” said Jesse Holland, associate dean of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, and a former journalist who covered the Supreme Court for five years. “Very, very rarely do you have a major news organization say they likely would have made a different decision.”

* The Athletic | Bill Walton leaves legacy far larger than basketball: Walton’s passing may have hit the basketball world hard, but its impact was profound in San Diego County, where he grew up and lived when his 14-season career ended. San Diego has always been fertile ground for elite athletes, producing the likes of Billy Casper, Phil Mickelson, Gail Devers, Jimmie Johnson, Marcus Allen, Terrell Davis, John Lynch, Reggie Bush, Rashaan Salaam and so many others. But the reverence for Walton was different, dare I say deeper.


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