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Isabel’s morning briefing

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ICYMI: Ed Burke sentenced to 24 months in prison. Crain’s

Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison and fined $2 million today for attempting to steer business to his law firm in exchange for helping companies big and small navigate the City Council where he held enormous sway.

Burke, 80 years old, was convicted in December on charges of racketeering, attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and promoting bribery, official misconduct and extortion. The sentence was far lighter than what Burke could have received and less than what some had expected.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall acknowledged the sentence of 24 months in prison, coupled with a $2 million fine, is unusual.

“I’ve never done this before,” she said, describing her thinking. “How do we give a sense to the public of some redress for the harm? One of the things I think would give them redress is the fines that are much higher usual. . . .Fines go into the victim crime fund. Part of my sentence is going to be a really significant fine.”

* Related stories…

The governor will sign a bill creating the state Department of Early Childhood today at 1:30. Click here to watch.

* Brenden Moore

*** Isabel’s Top Picks ***

* Capitol News Illinois | Advocates say SCOTUS ruling paves way for law ensuring abusers have guns confiscated: But after Friday’s high court ruling, advocates say there is nothing else standing in the way of lawmakers taking up the bill, which last summer was rebranded “Karina’s Bill” after Gonzalez’s murder. The bill would clarify existing state law and require law enforcement to take guns from those subject to certain domestic violence orders of protection. Amanda Pyron, executive director of Chicago-based domestic violence advocacy organization The Network, said it “hit a lot of us really hard” that Friday’s Supreme Court decision was published on the one-year anniversary of Gonzalez’s order of protection against her husband.

* WAND | Pritzker promotes Illinois workforce, innovation during 2024 SelectUSA investment summit: “We are a state that brings workforce, energy and great sites,” Pritzker said. “Just like Governor Youngkin, we invest in our sites to make sure that what you’re looking for is available in the state of Illinois.” Pritzker said he is glad that the Illinois economy has recovered following the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to major investments in renewable energy, manufacturing and quantum technology.

* Capitol Connection | Health insurance industry plans for incoming reforms: There are a number of reforms on the way for the health insurance industry. Governor Pritzker made it a top priority this legislative session, and now health insurance companies are preparing to make the changes. The plan prevents health insurance companies from using a process called step therapies, where they require a patient to use a less expensive option, even if their doctor prescribes something different. It also bans prior authorization for mental health treatments, and it requires health insurance companies to regularly audit their directories.

*** Statehouse News ***

* Tribune | Illinois’ landmark credit card fee law prompting strong opposition: Just last week a trade association representing credit card companies and banks began running online ads in Illinois declaring the ban “MAY FORCE YOU TO PAY FOR PARTS OF PURCHASE IN CASH,” and print ads saying, “Tipping on your credit card is closed to Illinoisans.” While some supporters — which include many Democrats and Illinois’ main association for retailers — say those claims are hyperbolic, the new law is setting up what could be a yearslong fight between the state and financial institutions that argue the overhaul is not only a bad idea but is unrealistic because it calls for implementation in a little more than a year.

*** Statewide ***

* WGEM | Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Pro-Life Action League reflect on second anniversary of Dobbs decision: Since Dobbs, PPIL said it’s seen a 47% increase in the number of patients seeking abortion care with 25% of all patients seeking abortions coming from other states. That number was 3-5% before Dobbs.

* Cook County Record | Former Employee Sues Major Party Supply Company Over Biometric Data Violations: Marquez was employed at Party City’s Naperville, Illinois distribution warehouse from August 26, 2018, to June 20, 2019. According to the complaint, Party City uses voice recognition technology called “Vocollect” to manage its warehouse operations. This technology requires employees to provide voiceprints—unique biometric identifiers created by reading specific words into the system during training. These voiceprints are then stored and used to identify workers during their shifts. The lawsuit alleges that Party City collected these voiceprints without informing employees or obtaining their written consent as mandated by BIPA.

* NBC Chicago | From gas taxes to minimum wage, here are changes coming on July 1 in Illinois: While Illinois’ minimum wage will not go up, residents in Cook County and Chicago will see higher minimum wages starting on July 1. According to city officials, the minimum wage in Chicago will rise to $16.20 an hour, up from $15.80. That number increases annually according to the Consumer Price Index or a rate of 2.5%, whichever is lower, according to officials.

*** Chicago ***

* Sun-Times | 47 candidates file for Chicago school board elections: Chicago’s first-ever school board elections will feature 47 candidates vying for 10 seats, a number surpassing most expectations and including parents, former teachers and principals, nonprofit workers and a rapper. The window for hopefuls to submit their minimum 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot closed Monday afternoon with more than two dozen final-day submissions wrapping up the week-long process that kicked off the elections.

* Chalkbeat | Who are the Chicago school board candidates for the 2024 election?: To learn more about the new school board districts and find out which one you live in, Chalkbeat created an interactive map. Many candidates have also begun fundraising for their campaigns, reporting contributions to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

* Sun-Times | Ann Lurie, who came to Chicago a nurse and became one of city’s best-known philanthropists, dies at 79: A self-described hippie, Ms. Lurie moved to Chicago in 1973 to work as an intensive care nurse. She wound up giving tens of millions of dollars to Northwestern University, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Greater Chicago Food Depository, PAWS Chicago and several other organizations both in the city and beyond.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Daily Herald | Cook County tax bills going out on time in July, officials say: After two years of significant delays blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic and technological problems, the second installment of Cook County property tax bills for Tax Year 2023 will be issued on time next month, officials announced Monday. Nearly 1.8 million tax bills will be accessible online by July 2 and mailed out early in the month, with a due date of Aug. 1, county officials said.

*** Downstate ***

* Advantage | Alton flood reduction measures to be discussed: Alton is kicking around the ways to protect downtown against future flood events. The city has spent millions of dollars building temporary walls and on post-flood cleanup in recent years, so the Riverfront Advisory Commission will hear a “Flood Mitigation Project Update” at the end of Tuesday’s public meeting. Most of the discussion since the topic was first brought up in late 2022 has focused on a permanent flood wall, but Christine Favilla of the local Sierra Club tells The Big Z there are other options.

* WREX | Rockford to host Ironman competition, city announced Monday: The competition, which is being called Ironman 70.3, is set to take place in 2025, 2026 and 2027. The triathlon will consist of swimming, biking and running, that will have athletes compete throughout Rockford as well as the countryside north of the city.

*** National ***

* Tribune | Early adopters, mainstream success, buyer’s remorse — where is the EV market headed?: In 2023, EVs made up 18% of global passenger-vehicle sales. By 2030, according to the report, 45% will be EVs. That number jumps to 73% by 2040 — still short of what the world needs to reach net zero emissions in transportation, the firm says, but enough to achieve major reductions in climate-changing carbon emissions. The long-term outlook adds a bit of glow to more recent news, especially in the U.S. and in California, where an EV sales slowdown, led by Tesla, has spanned two quarters, challenging the state’s climate goals.

* Crain’s | Supreme Court rejects challenge to $2.67B Blue Cross settlement: Justices declined a petition from the home improvement retailer, design consultancy Topographic and benefits provider Employee Services alleging that the settlement does not treat self-insured customers fairly and does not go far enough to promote competition between Blue Cross companies. The court did not specify why it rejected the employers’ request. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled in October that 93.5% of the settlement funds should reimburse individual and small business policyholders that paid monthly premiums for Blue Cross plans and that self-insured employers receive the remaining amount.

* NBC | Texas abortion ban linked to 13% increase in infant and newborn deaths: Lawmakers passed Texas Senate Bill 8, or SB8, in September 2021. The state law banned abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as five weeks. This effectively banned abortion in the state, which used to allow abortion up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. The law did not include exemptions for congenital anomalies, including conditions that will cause a newborn to die soon after birth. The new study compared infant death rates in Texas from 2018 to 2022 to those of 28 other states. The data included newborns 28 days or younger and infants up to 12 months old. Infant deaths in Texas rose by nearly 13% the year after SB8 was passed, from 1,985 in 2021 to 2,240 in 2022. During that same period, infant deaths rose by about 2% nationwide.


  1. - Nope. - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 8:04 am:

    “ Part of my sentence is going to be a really significant fine.”

    “ Part of my sentence is going to be a really significant fine, that can be completely covered by his political committee.”

    Fixed it for you, Your Honor.

  2. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 8:38 am:

    If only Burke would have carried a Bible and mentioned his honorable service in the Viet Nam war as a reservist a position he somehow managed to get intoI bet the judge would have thanked him for his service and service to humanity and sent him on his way

  3. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 8:45 am:

    Judge Kendall’s sentencing was really disappointing. Most people working in City Hall are professional, honest, and just want to do their job, but there are definitely some trying to cash in on the appearance that you need to be connected to receive City services. This ruling does nothing to dissuade those people and is just going to lead to a new generation of Ed Burkes.

  4. - Annon3 - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 8:59 am:

    While Burke’s sentence was very disappointing, he is an 80 year old man who is going to prison. There is no need to hyperventilate over it.

  5. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 9:26 am:

    “I’ve never done this before,”

    Oh golly I’m just all thumbs when it comes to sentencing wealthy, connected politicians. Hope I don’t mess it up!

  6. - Baloneymous - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 9:38 am:

    I know he’s 80. but he’s been committing serious crimes for many years. racketeering, extortion, bribery. come on. 24 months is a joke. a sentence like this just encourages more crooked politicians to make sure they make plenty of money to pay the fines in exchange for a light prison sentence. not a good look judge.

  7. - low level - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 9:53 am:

    Burke was a jerk. You’d see him in City Hall, maybe share an elevator w him and his bodyguard (which he didnt need later in his career) and he’d just look at you arrogantly when you tried to make small talk.

    By contrast, the one or two times I was invited to ride w Daley, he could not have been more personable and approachable. It was literally a night and day comparison.

  8. - Steve - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 10:09 am:

    If the judge considers all the positive Burke letters , she should have considered the negative Burke letters. She made her soft touch decision.

  9. - DougChicago - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 10:24 am:

    ==Attorneys for House Speaker Chris Welch filed a motion in Cook County Circuit Court today to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed against him last month by legislative staffers seeking to form a union.==

    Good for thee but not for me.

  10. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 11:05 am:

    “Tribune | Illinois’ landmark credit card fee law prompting strong opposition”

    The idea that the banks behind credit card companies won’t be able to comply with a retirement to treat purchases differently from taxes and tips, when every grocery in Illinois routinely manages multiple tax rates (food, medicine, beer, newspapers, etc.) for a single shopping purchase, is laughably absurd.

    If the Electronic Payments Coalition anywhere nearly as incompetent as they claim, they should find another line of work.

    – MrJM

  11. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    @Baloneymous -

    The judge can sentence him only for what he’s been convicted, not for what else you think he’s done.

  12. - thisjustinagain - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 12:06 pm:

    The U.S. Attorney’s office should appeal the sentence which apparently did not even bother conforming with sentencing guidelines, being far lighter than said guidelines. Such a sentence is a mockery of justice.

  13. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Jun 25, 24 @ 12:09 pm:

    === The U.S. Attorney’s office should appeal the sentence which apparently did not even bother conforming with sentencing guidelines, being far lighter than said guidelines. ===

    There is no basis for an appeal. The guidelines are advisory, not mandatory. Also, I think the guidelines were reduced once the judge ruled that the cost associated with the criminal activity was far less than what the government said it was.

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