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    Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) during a City Council meeting on Wednesday. Villegas’ proposal to use federal stimulus money to fund a basic income program was sabotaged by Ald. Jason Ervin (28). [Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times/Pool]

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s long-promised overhaul of the city’s highest-profile affordable housing policy cleared the City Council in a 42-8 vote on Wednesday, setting it up to guide most new residential construction proposed after Oct. 1.

    The ordinance was the most controversial of dozens of measures approved during the City Council’s first in-person meeting since February 2020.

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    Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha explains the rollout of open access vaccine clinics in Cook County.

    Two Cook County mass vaccination sites will be open for walk-in appointments through Saturday, County officials announced Wednesday.

    “Open access means open access — come on down,” Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said during a news conference.

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    News in brief: Discover opening call center in shuttered Chatham Target store; Commission takes step to landmark Morton Salt shed

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    Aldermen have the option to attend Wednesday’s City Council meeting in person.

    When Mayor Lori Lightfoot gavels in the City Council at 10 a.m. Wednesday, things will look different than they have for the past year, but they still won’t be completely back to normal.

    For the first time since last March, aldermen have the option to attend Wednesday’s City Council in person, though it is still classified as a virtual meeting under the Open Meetings Act, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

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    A years-in-the-making push to rewrite Chicago’s highest-profile affordable housing policy cleared a key hurdle on Tuesday, setting up Mayor Lori Lightfoot for a significant victory as she faces mounting headwinds across a range of other issues.

    Aldermen on the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate voted 14-3 to advance Lightfoot’s proposed overhaul (SO2021-1226) of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. If approved by the full council on Wednesday, the update will go into effect on Oct. 1, ushering in the third iteration of the policy created in 2007 and updated in 2015.

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    Chicago Department of Buildings Comm. Matthew Beaudet and Infortmation Technology Director Eric Tenfelde during a zoning committee on Tuesday

    Aldermen unanimously advanced a proposal on Tuesday to crack down on “problem” building owners but grilled city officials over the long-promised technology upgrades needed to bring the measure to life.

    The council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards voted to endorse an ordinance (O2021-1193) sponsored by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that would widen the criteria used by the city’s Department of Buildings to add properties to the city’s “Building Code Scofflaw List.” Properties on the list are rendered ineligible for zoning changes, tax-increment financing assistance or land deals with the city.

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    Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended her request to call up the National Guard and issued a warning to would-be looters. And Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hit back at Lightfoot after the mayor blamed the county courts for contributing to crime.

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    Ald. David Moore’s (17) proposal to rename Lake Shore Drive after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable is set for a hearing on April 29.

    The proposal to rename Outer Lake Shore Drive after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, Chicago’s first permanent resident, won’t be on this month’s City Council agenda. The ordinance is due for a hearing later this month, but sponsor Ald. David Moore (17) on Monday warned against “any games” to further keep it from a vote.

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    Rep. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) introduced an amendment to a Senate bill on Wednesday that would overhaul ethics in Illinois.

    Meeting for the first time this year, the Senate Ethics Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a 95-page ethics overhaul.

    Initially introduced by Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) in January, SB 4 was amended by the committee on Wednesday to adopt changes proposed by Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights).

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    Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) introduced an amendment to his previously proposed bill seeking to repeal the state’s ban on rent control.

    A House committee on Wednesday approved a scaled-back version of a bill that initially sought to repeal Illinois’ prohibition on rent control.

    Introduced by Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), HB 116 was approved by the House Housing Committee last month. The bill initially sought to repeal the 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act, which prohibits municipalities across the state from enacting any ordinance or resolution that would place rent controls on residential or commercial properties.

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    House Majority Leader Greg Harris introduced an 87-page amendment on the final night of the lame duck session that provides insights of the direction lawmakers might go in terms of ethics reform.

    When a late-night effort to revamp Illinois’ ethics and lobbying laws was among the many bills that failed to reach a vote during the waning hours of the 101st General Assembly, advocacy groups, which have long pushed for change, had a surprising reaction.

    They welcomed the bill’s failure.

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    A bipartisan group of local elected officials throughout Illinois on Tuesday called on Gov. JB Pritzker and members of the legislature to avoid taking away additional revenue the state allocates to cities and villages.

    Speaking during a virtual news conference, leaders from Elmhurst, Hazel Crest, Highland Park, Palos Hills, Bartlett, Geneva, Fox Lake and Cary challenged a plan proposed by Pritzker earlier this year to reduce the Local Government Distributive Fund.

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    Top state leaders welcomed the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. And state health officials announced an expansion of their rural vaccination program.

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    Speaking during recent redistricting hearings, Stephanie Taylor and Wayne Williams offered support for Democrats’ plan to move forward with remapping before June 30.

    Since mid-March, Illinois lawmakers have held nearly 40 hearings to seek input from members of the public about their ongoing redistricting process.

    Witnesses have offered up recommendations, called to boost representation of the state’s Latino and Muslim populations and criticized the sharply partisan approaches legislators have taken during the redistricting process.

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    Five employees at the Manteno Veterans’ Home recently tested positive for COVID-19, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs acting director Terry Prince told lawmakers on Friday.

    Six employees at Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs veterans’ homes recently tested positive for COVID-19, the agency’s new acting director told lawmakers on Friday.

    The positive tests come nearly four months after vaccines were first offered to residents and employees, many of whom have refused to be vaccinated.

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