Good Thursday morning, Illinois! George Kent’s bow tie looked like it was paying homage to Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox — and other important impeachment analysis via POLITICO’s founding editor John Harris.
State lawmakers are still haggling over whether to support Chicago’s efforts to tweak the tax rate for a Chicago casino. City lobbyists were talking to lawmakers well into the night. There are two measures in the works — one in the House, that’s expected to get attention today and a Senate version that hasn’t had enough readings to make it out of this week’s veto session on time.
The House measure could see a vote today, depending on whether Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her lobbying team can soothe concerns. A vote comes when the sponsor knows they’ve got the backing in place.
Lawmakers are divided into four camps on the Chicago casino bill:
There are supporters — mainly lawmakers from Chicago who see the casino as an important piece of the city’s budget puzzle.
The what-about-us crowd who considers any help for Chicago as a “bailout” that doesn’t help the rest of the state. “How do we tell all these other communities that have gaming in economically depressed areas … that Chicago’s going to get a better deal with paying the state than everyone else?” Republican state Sen. Dave Syverson, a proponent of the Rockford casino, told the Tribune.
The what-happens-to-my-project group worries that lowering tax rates for a Chicago casino could mean less money coming in to the state — which could hurt infrastructure projects like schools and hospitals getting a piece of the $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois” plan that passed earlier this year. These lawmakers want to know what might disappear if Chicago gets its request.
In the fourth corner is the we-want-to-see-it-in-writing group, which generally supports Lightfoot’s proposal but wants to see the actual bill language first. These lawmakers want to make sure nothing else has been slipped into the bill.
As of Wednesday night, Lightfoot had 47 or 48 lawmakers in her court but needs 60 to get the bill over the hump.
She’s enlisted a team of lobbyists and is working the phones to help do that. Labor unions, including Chicago Federation of Labor, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and even the SEIU, have also come out to lobby in favor of the bill.
Lawmakers are meeting through today, so the proposal isn’t dead yet — but it’s not out of the woods either.
BURKE HAS A CHALLENGER: State Rep. Aaron Ortiz is running for the 14th Ward Democratic committeeman position now held by Ald. Ed Burke, the longest-serving alderman on the City Council and the center of a corruption scandal. In an irony of ironies, Ortiz defeated former state Rep. Dan Burke — the younger brother of Ed Burke — who held that position since 1991. In announcing his run for the ward committee seat, Ortiz, a freshman rep, called Ed Burke “an embarrassment” and said the Burke family has held on to the ward too long. In a statement to Playbook, Ortiz said: “I’m calling on Ed Burke to resign from his position as committeeman and alderman. He is unfit to continue holding public office. Our community deserves an honest public servant. I’m prepared to fill that role.”
AND GOP HAS A CHALLENGE, TOO: Republican state Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (79th) announced on Facebook that she won’t seek re-election in 2020, setting up a competitive seat that will require Republicans to spend money to keep. Parkhurst says she’s going to run for judge instead. “Being a judge is a dream and goal I had since law school, and I am thrilled by the opportunity to run. It is the pinnacle of any legal career,” she said on Facebook. The 79th District is located in the Kankakee area, about 60 miles south of Chicago.
At Salmon P. Chase Elementary School to launch the academic program application process to expand access to academic programs.
At the Governor’s Mansion where he’ll present 21 communities with 2019 Governor’s Hometown Awards.
In the county building delivering remarks at the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues 2019 Public Hearing.
— ComEd kept paying Madigan pal after retirement announcement: “The power company paid $361,000 in 2017 and 2018 to a clout-heavy ex-lobbyist whose home was raided by the feds in May,” according to a Better Government/WBEZ report.
— Column: One ‘dirty’ day shows how ComEd played the game in Springfield — and then the feds took notice: “For insight into the federal corruption investigation snaking through Illinois’ political complex, look back to Dec. 1, 2016. On that final day of the legislature’s fall session, a team of lobbyists representing powerhouse utility company ComEd frantically pieced together a roll call of lawmakers willing to vote for an electricity rate hike on consumers. That’s no easy sell. The hike would cost up to $4.54 extra per month for ComEd customers, and bail out two nuclear power plants the company was threatening to shut down,” by Tribune editorial writer Kristen McQueary.
— QUIGLEY QUESTIONS during impeachment hearing: Rep. Mike Quigley addressed the issue of hearsay during the House Intelligence Committee hearings about President Donald Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Quigley, who sits on the committee, said if the White House truly had a problem with hearsay evidence, it wouldn’t block the ability of witnesses to testify. “I think the American public needs to be reminded that countless people have been convicted on hearsay, because the courts have routinely allowed and created needed exceptions to hearsay. Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct as we have learned in painful instances, and it’s certainly valid in this instance,” Quigley said. Via CBS/2
— KRISHNAMOORTHI FOCUSES on money trail: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi focused his impeachment questions on Ukraine getting money two days after House Democrats launched a probe based on a whistleblower.
— After attending Supreme Court hearing on Dreamers, Durbin renews push for permanent status: “Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’ll try again this week to pass legislation that would permanently resolve the immigration status of the young immigrants known as ‘dreamers,'” NPR Illinois’ Brian Mackey reports.
— Aldermen propose lobbying ban for City Council: “Chicago aldermen would be prohibited from lobbying state and local government — and their counterparts at those other levels would be barred from doing the same at City Hall — under a crackdown proposed Wednesday by a pair of influential aldermen,” Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports. “Aviation Committee Chairman Matt O’Shea (19th) and Ethics Chairman Michele Smith (43rd) are trying to stay one step ahead of the lobbying scandal swirling around Commonwealth Edison and video gaming interests pushing to legalize sweepstakes machines.”
— Lightfoot accuses Uber of trying to pay black ministers $54M to defeat her ride-share tax hike plan: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday threw down the gauntlet in her fight with Uber, accusing the ride-share giant of offering to pay black ministers in Chicago $54 million to help the company defeat her plan to hike taxes on single-passenger rides offered by the service. Lightfoot was at the lectern for a City Hall news conference following Wednesday’s City Council meeting when she made the incendiary claim without offering evidence,” via Tribune.
— Wages, weed and Lightfoot’s Uber Diss: What You Missed At Chicago City Council, via WBEZ’s Becky Vevea and Claudia Morell.
— Here’s what CPS teachers will make under the new contract: “Two upcoming votes — including one by union members Thursday and Friday — could help the district attract and retain veteran teachers, CTU says.” Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson reports.
— Luxury N.Y. developer blindsides alderman with plan to build 434-unit building on 18th Street in Pilsen: “Property Markets Group’s previous plan to build an even larger development at the site was blocked by former Ald. Daniel Solis,” by Carlos Ballesteros and David Roeder.
— Lipinski calls for Metra to take over Union Station from Amtrak after ‘disastrous’ service outage, falling concrete: “[Rep. Dan] Lipinski, a Chicago Democrat who serves on the Transportation Committee, asked for the turnover of operations during a committee hearing in Congress on Wednesday,” reports Tribune’s Mary Wisniewski.
— Activists call for outreach to stem gun violence: “Former Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan urges city to give troubled neighborhoods ‘a reason to put the guns down,’” reports One Illinois Ted Cox.
— Survey credits Chicago for immigrant policies, but critics have doubts: “The latest edition of an annual survey of the 100 largest U.S. cities credits Chicago with creating a welcoming environment for immigrants, putting the city at the top of the list. The New American Economy (NAE), a bipartisan coalition of mayors and CEOs launched in 2010 by then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, revealed the findings on Wednesday morning,” WBEZ’s Odette Yousef reports. “But at least one immigrant community advocate said the methodology masks shortfalls in city policies that purport to help foreign-born residents.”
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Chicago Parks Foundation is announcing the first phase of the new AIDS Garden Chicago, which will include a specially commissioned 30-foot-high sculpture, Self-Portrait, by iconic HIV/AIDS activist and artist, the late Keith Haring. AIDS Garden Chicago will be the city’s first public monument to memorialize the early days of Chicago’s HIV epidemic and to honor those who continue to fight the virus today, according to the foundation. The new 2.5-acre public lakefront garden will be located along Lake Michigan just south of Belmont Harbor, at the original location of the ‘Belmont Rocks,’ a space where the local gay community gathered between the 1960s and 1990s. “The fight against HIV/AIDS represents more than a health epidemic: it symbolizes a time in our history when the LGBTQ+ and ally communities came together in the face of tragedy,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a release about the project.
— NO INDICTMENT (YET) FOR ARROYO: The U.S. government has been granted an extension in considering an indictment against former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, who was arrested last month on a bribery charge. In a document obtained by Playbook, U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer granted the feds’ request to have until Jan. 21, 2020, to indict Arroyo. It’s an indication that the case is complex.
— Guest sues Schaumburg hotel for negligence after contracting Legionnaire’s disease: “The lawsuit alleges the plaintiff came into contact with Legionella bacteria in the pool or hot tub,” reports Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo.
— PENSION BILL CLEARS A HURDLE: Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to consolidate hundreds of suburban and downstate police and fire pension funds won House approval on Wednesday. The governor praised the “huge bipartisan step,” saying it would ease the burden of downstate and suburban communities struggling to meet pension obligations. “Consolidating these small funds means that they could improve their investment returns by as much as $2.5 billion over the next five years,” he said in a release. “While this effort has been more than a half century the making, today’s progress would not have been possible without Rep. Jay Hoffman’s guidance in the House, and I look forward to the Senate moving forward on a measure that has earned the support of local municipalities, firefighters and police officers. I urge the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation.” The version passed by the House differs from Pritzker’s original proposal by giving active and retired police firefighters majority representation on the board that will oversee the funds. As the Tribune reports: That change was key to winning the support of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, which had opposed the initial proposal.
— House approves bill to cap insulin costs: “Illinois House members voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve legislation capping out-of-pocket insulin costs for some diabetics,” reports State Journal-Register’s Doug Finke. “The House voted 100-13-1 to approve the bill, despite objections that it only helped a limited number of diabetics and didn’t attack the root problem of high drug costs. The bill must still get another vote in the Senate because of a couple of changes made by the House.”
— Latest ethics proposals focus on State Board of Elections: “Republican lawmakers added to their pile of recently-filed ethics legislation Wednesday, promoting two bills aimed at limiting conflicts of interest on the Illinois State Board of Elections,” writes Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki. “Sen. Dan McConchie, a Hawthorn Woods Republican, unveiled Senate Bill 2300 during a Statehouse news conference. The measure would prohibit a member of the State Board of Elections from contributing to or being an officer of a state or federal political committee.”
— Bill to phase out cancer-causing ethylene oxide fails in committee; lawmakers look to reconsider next year: “‘Nothing is clear here, and I think this bill needs a lot more negotiation,’ Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford said, adding she’s hopeful a proposal that’s ‘cleaner’ emerges in the spring.” by Tribune’s Jamie Munks
— Just one day left in veto session to OK bans on public vaping, flavored vape products, reports Capitol News’ Rebecca Anzel
— LUNCHTIME: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle reflected on her 10 years as Cook County Board president during a luncheon Wednesday in her honor. “We’ve been able to shape a radically different Cook County from the one I inherited,” she said at the Women for Toni Preckwinkle Luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy. She ticked off successes in making the county’s health system “more efficient and more effective” and making the public safety system “more just.” She also got chuckles quoting her favorite politico, Eleanor Roosevelt: “Every woman in public life needs to develop a skin as tough as a rhinoceros’ hide. That’s true. But you need more than being tough. You need strength and perseverance, along with skills to plan, collaborate and compromise.” Spotted: Pollution Control Board member and former state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, former state Sen. Carol Ronen, Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller, MWRD Commissioner Kim Du Buclet, County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, MWRD Commissioner Kari Steele and women’s advocate Hedy Ratner.
— AFTER HOURS: The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus Foundation drew a crowd for its annual fundraiser at The Bureau Bar last night. Co-chairs for the event were Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin. Spotted along with aldermen: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, County Commissioner Bill Lowry, County Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr., Justice Nathaniel Howse, Cubs VP of Community Affairs Julian Green, Chicago Federation of Labor External Affairs Director Charise Williams, businessman Leon Walker and political adviser Alex Sims, who served as host.
Foster children were being driven in handcuffs and leg shackles. After complaints, DCFS is banning the practice: “A week after child welfare officials confirmed two teenagers in its care were handcuffed and placed in leg shackles while being driven, the agency is changing its policy to prohibit the use of such restraints on foster children,” Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney reports. “The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said in a Wednesday federal court filing that ‘neither DCFS nor its contractors shall ever use handcuffs and/or shackles for transporting any youth in DCFS care.’ But the agency isn’t banning restraints altogether.”
— Democrats land damning new evidence in impeachment testimony, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio
— Court denies Trump appeal in fight with Democrats over financial records, by POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn
— Trump aides retaliated against State staffer of Iranian descent, probe finds, by POLITICO’s Nahal Toosi
— OPINION: Impeachment is not a fair fight, and on day one it showed, by Renato Mariotti
Today: Former Ald. Ameya Pawar will moderate a discussion with Aisha Nyandoro on the issue of poverty. Nyandoro launched Magnolia Mother’s Trust, a first-of-its-kind guaranteed income program for single, black mothers. Details here
Today: Fashion mogul Diane von Furstenberg headlines a discussion moderated by Kristina O’Neill, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal Magazine, during an Executive Club event. Details here
Today: Attorney Stan Willis will be honored at a fundraising gala from the Westside Justice Center. Details here
Friday: SEIU President Tom Balanoff is a panelist at the Roman Pucinski and Polish Ameircan Politics conference. Details here
Tyler Diers has been named executive director of the Illinois/Midwest office of TechNet, a national network of top executives in the tech industry. Based in Springfield, Diers will oversee TechNet’s state advocacy and political activities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. Diers is the director of legislative relations for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, where he helped launch the Technology and Innovation Council. He starts his new job. Dec. 9.
Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago civic leader and former senior adviser to President Barack Obama; Ted Mason, Elk Grove Township Democratic committeeman; and former longtime Ald. Gene Schulter, who served in the 47th Ward from 1975 to 2011 and is now a lobbyist.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of Illinois Playbook misstated the name of the alderman who served the 47th Ward from 1975 to 2011. It was Gene Schulter.
- Shia Kapos @shiakapos
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