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Illinois Dems corner Republicans on abortion rights- POLITICO


TGIF, Illinois. There are seven days left in the legislative session, though state lawmakers are keeping May open just in case. And that’s no April Fool’s joke.

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch made an unplanned visit onto the House floor to speak in favor of one of the four abortion rights bills lawmakers passed yesterday along party lines.

“It’s pretty clear who stands with women in this state. Democrats stand with women in this state,” Welch said, invoking Women’s History Month and referring to laws in Texas and other states that restrict abortions.

Welch, gesturing to the Republican side of the chamber, added: “Clearly, by their votes today, they say women are on their own. …Did you see those votes today? Did you see them?”

Oh, we saw: It was a political move as subtle as a lightning strike, meant to put Republicans on the record for legislation that was mostly symbolic but would solidify Illinois as a safe haven for women who find themselves needing an abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned in a few months.

One woman was particularly notable among those voting against all four bills: Republican Rep. Avery Bourne, the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, who in the past has expressed support for abortion rights but has more recently stumbled in explaining his views.

Not voting at all: Republican Rep. Tom Demmer, who’s running for state treasurer on the Irvin-Bourne slate backed by billionaire Ken Griffin; and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, an outspoken supporter of Griffin’s slate.

Rep. Dan Brady, who’s running for secretary of state in the Republican primary — without any help from Griffin — was a no on all four bills.

The most substantive bill was House Bill 1464, which says physicians and nurses who find their licenses challenged in other states because they performed or assisted in an abortion can’t be punished in Illinois for doing so if they’re otherwise qualified to practice here. Three resolutions called for expressing “unwavering support” and commitment for abortion rights, and support for the work of Planned Parenthood.

The bills prompted impassioned speeches from Democratic lawmakers, including Camille Lilly, who heads the Democrats’ women’s caucus, Margaret Croke, Dagmara Avelar, and Maura Hirschauer.

Republicans lost the battles on all four bills but they didn’t go down without a fight. Rep. Jackie Haas from Kankakee called one of the bills “out of touch.” And Rep. Tony McCombie from Sterling said another of the abortion rights-supporting measures does nothing to help communities “feel safer.”

POLITICS IS A GAS, GAS, GAS: After speaking out a number of times over the past month about high gasoline prices, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a $7.5 million gas giveaway yesterday. The money will come in the form of $150 gift cards Chicagoans can win in a rolling lottery, along with another $5 million in commuter transit cards. There’s an income limit of $140,000 for a family of four.

“When you’re paying $6-a-gallon for gas, as many people are across the city, that hits you,” Lightfoot said in announcing the program. “We’re striking the right balance to make sure we’re bringing relief to a wide swath of folks across our city.”

The move comes after Willie Wilson, the philanthropist and perennial political candidate, gave out more than $1 million in two gas giveaways. And now he’s talking about a third.

Maybe not so ironically, Wilson is planning to hold a news conference Monday where he’s expected to announce he’s running for mayor against Lightfoot in 2023. He’s denied that the gas giveaways are an attempt to win over voters.

And Lightfoot says the city’s prizes have nothing to do with giving a counter-punch to Wilson or with a campaign either. “This is something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” she said.

Details on the free gas and transit cards, via Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

No official public events.

No official public events.

At Provident Hospital of Cook County at 10:30 a.m. to announce the installation of a new, state-of-the-art MRI machine.

Recent deaths of 2 trans women in Chicago solemn ‘reminders’ on Trans Day of Visibility: “In categories including budgeting and safety, LGBTQ leaders with Brave Space Alliance and Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation gave the mayor’s and the sheriff’s efforts on protecting trans rights an ‘F,’” by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry

State agrees to deal to sell, then buy back space in Thompson Center, which new owners say they’ll renovate: “State officials say the deal is good for taxpayers, who would otherwise bear the full cost of needed upgrades to the 17-story glass-and-steel structure — estimated at $325 million — or of purchasing or leasing other office space in the central business district,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois president out: “Steve Hamman was directly involved in negotiations with Springfield Clinic. When Blue Cross dropped all 650 of the clinic’s providers out of its network in November, customers were left with a dead-end directory of providers, several of whom did not exist. Hamman drove to Springfield from his office in Chicago within the last month following our first report,” by Mark Maxwell and Renée Cooper.

Lincoln foundation and Lincoln library give up on reconciliation:Two organizations dedicated to the 16th president’s legacy can’t bridge their differences,” by Steve Johnson for Crain’s.

Bill guaranteeing paid pandemic-related leave to fully vaccinated teachers heads to Pritzker’s desk, by Tribune’s Clare Spaulding

Ethics law leaves more questions than answers, some municipal governments say, by WGEM’s Lizzie Seils

Senate approves energy grid reliability task force, by Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki

Illinois insurance companies soon may cover facial anomaly surgeries, by WCIA’s Danny Connolly

Covid-19 leave for vaccinated teachers clears General Assembly, by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock

— SCOOP | FBI has joined investigation targeting possible ghost payrolling in Cook County sheriff’s office, sources say: “The investigation is centered on whether the employees collected a county paycheck while at the same time were working side jobs or not working at all, sources said. Federal agents recently visited the sheriff’s office to interview employees and review documents as part of the ongoing probe, according to another source. No criminal charges have been filed,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin, Jason Meisner, Megan Crepeau and Gregory Pratt.

After 35 years, Libertyville’s downtown taxing district is nearing its end, by Daily Herald’s Mick Zawislak

For some people, Evanston’s reparations program remains incomplete, by WBEZ’s Araceli Gomez-Aldana.

Hazing report puts New Trier varsity lacrosse team on probation, by Pioneer Press’ Daniel I. Dorfman

Ed Burke’s ‘tuna’: Indicted pol saved Old Post Office developer more than $12 million: “The feds say a 601W Companies affiliate was going to hire him for property tax appeals for another building. Burke’s firm did the work. 601W reaped the savings — but decided not to hire Burke after his offices were raided,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak and Jon Seidel.

Pandemic-ravaged industries eager to pitch Chicago for 2024 Democratic National Convention: “Boosterism and optimism aside, the effort would require a major organizational feat to pull off, and though officials proclaim an estimated economic boost of $150 million, economists have long been skeptical of such figures. They point to security costs, displacement of regular tourism and business and note that those estimates often include spending that would happen regardless,” by Tribune’s Madelinee Buckley, Gregory Pratt and Robert Channick

Lightfoot wants the convention here: “After touting Chicago’s abundance of hotel rooms, an array of world-class restaurants and ‘arts and culture’ second to none, the mayor added: ‘I will also say, we’re a really fun city in the summer time,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

5,000 bikes, helmets, locks to be given away by city: “Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi revealed the giveaway at the City Club of Chicago. No details were provided; a department spokeswoman said the city will ‘co-design the program in partnership with community organizations over the next year,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Undocumented seniors face slim and dangerous housing options: “When it comes to retirement, you have to think about the intersection of how long can they work for and how much of a burden they want to be on their children.” Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa and Injustice Watch’s Carlos Ballesteros.

— WAR IN UKRAINE | Finding a sense of belonging at a Ukrainian Village gift shop: “A small gift shop has seen an influx of customers since Russia invaded Ukraine, with people looking for connection and community,” by WBEZ’s Anna Savchenko.

OOF — A funeral director opened a new location. The 1st funeral: His son: “Veteran of the U.S. Marines Daniel Martinez died March 19 after being stabbed outside a bar in Boston,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.

Residents, historians want to preserve 1940s terrazzo mosaic floor unearthed in Six Corners neighborhood: “Neighbors want relics to be remembered and appreciated as Six Corners sees developments and new businesses,” by Block Club’s Ariel Parrella-Aureli

UMMM — Half of murder cases considered ‘solved’ by CPD in 2021 did not lead to charges: “Police officials touted that detectives in a violent year cleared the highest number of cases in nearly 20 years, but that doesn’t mean most killers will face justice, a Sun-Times analysis found,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.

— OPPO | Developers who donated to gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin’s mayoral campaign received tens of millions in Aurora incentives: “A WTTW News review of public records has also found that Aurora taxpayers are on the hook for tens of millions in tax incentives to two other development companies that have donated thousands to Irvin and political funds connected to him. While not illegal, good government advocates say accepting campaign donations from those who also benefit from city contracts and approvals can sow distrust in public officials,” by WTTW’s Paris Schutz and Nick Blumberg

— Fallout from DNC’s ad targeting Richard Irvin’s record as a defense attorney: House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, who supports Irvin, told reporters in Springfield Thursday that Gov. JB Pritzker chooses to “hide behind political insider groups by forcing them to meddle in the GOP primary on his behalf,” by Lee Enterprises’ Brendan Moore.“The attack on defense attorneys is happening in the national spotlight as well,” reports Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles. … And Irvin and Durkin camps criticized Gov. JB Pritzker “for signing comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation that they contend is anti-police and has fueled violent crime — even though many of that measure’s provisions, such as cashless bail for nonviolent offenders, have not yet gone into effect. … Neither addressed the fact that [Irvin] once congratulated a sponsor of the criminal justice legislation on its passage,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.

— MORE OPPO | Ken Griffin and a tale about Chinese spying: The Athletic, a subscriber-only publication on sports, highlighted billionaire Ken Griffin seeking a stake in the Chelsea Football Club. The story says in 2006, Citadel loaned $110 million to China Security & Surveillance Technology. The company used the funds to acquire “10 of the 50 biggest surveillance companies in China.” That has opened it to charges that it “provid(ed) much of the surveillance infrastructure for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, including technology used to alert police of possible unsanctioned protests and internet cafes to track down democracy advocates and dissidents.”

Crain’s Greg Hinz reports Gov. JB Pritzker’s campaign is making hay about Griffin’s connection to China.

… Griffin, who was part of the 2016 Olympics organizing committee, pushed  back. In a statement to Playbook, he says “In 2006, China Security & Surveillance Technology (CS&ST) — a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange — was raising further capital to pursue growth opportunities. CS&ST was hoping to be selected as a key partner in providing security capabilities for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World’s Fair.”

— Rep. Sean Casten has been endorsed by the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois and the Chicago Fire Department Fire Fighters in the suburban 6th Congressional District primary.

— David Moore, a Democrat running for secretary of state, has been endorsed by the Collective PAC, a political action committee “dedicated to increasing Black political engagement, representation, and power across all levels of government.”

— Hypothetically speaking | Mayoral Power Rankings 2023: “What are each of the potential candidates’ chances at winning the next mayoral election?” by Chicago magazine’s Edward McClelland

— Sara Knizhnik’s bid for the Lake County board in District 18 has been endorsed by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, state Sen. Melinda Bush and Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss, among others. Knizhnik plans an April 10 fundraiser.

We asked what book gave you the best insight on how to do your job: Chicago Department of Law Assistant Corporation Counsel Kalpana “Kali” Plomin: “The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein.

What’s your best tip for traveling light? Email [email protected]

Will Chicago face another Covid surge? “As ‘stealth omicron’ is declared the dominant strain, health experts plan in case of another wave,” by Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos.

‘Recognition of failure’: A shift urged in global vaccination strategy: “Health organizations again seek to prioritize at-risk populations for Covid shots,” by POLITICO’s Daniel Payne and Erin Banco

How disabled students can be protected without mask mandates, by St. Louis Public Radio’s Brian Munoz

A South Side ER doctor wrote a book about Covid’s  first year — and the time his own hospital failed his mother, by Tribune’s Christopher Borrelli

— GREAT READ: Running on ‘the hug’: Inside Charlie Crist’s risky strategy to dethrone Ron DeSantis, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse

Apple wields its lobbying might against LGBTQ laws, by POLITICO’s Emily Birnbaum

Biden turned the ruble into rubble. Then it quickly came back, by POLITICO’s Kate Davidson

THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Matthew Beaudet, Don Tracy, Mark McCombs, and Bill Cameron for correctly answering that the late Ralph G. Newman was the Lincoln scholar and literary appraiser who served as president of the Chicago Public Library board — and was stepfather to NPR host Scott Simon.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Was what the nickname of the group that chased the Mason Gang out of Illinois? Email [email protected]

Today: MWRD Commissioner Cam Davis, Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center executive director Dan Hostetler, Klarna’s Head of Strategy Natalia Brzezinski, Tennessee Sen. Bill Haterty’s senior comms adviser Julia Hahn, former American Airlines exec Bill Hood, Tempus Labs’ customer experience senior manager Caity Moran, and entrepreneur Jimmy Lee.

Saturday: Rise Strategy Group media relations senior VP Jessica Ortiz, strategic management adviser Leslie Dimas, educator Hilario Dominguez, and attorney Vicki Hood.

Sunday: former Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone, former House Rep. Renee Kosel, comms and public policy leader David Kohn, Goldman Sachs VP Jessica Coleman, writer and content specialist Nidhi Madhavan, digital strategist Daniel Honigman, Windy City Playhouse co-founder Amy Rubenstein, and talk show host Whitney Reynolds


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