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    Department of Family and Support Services Comm. Brandie Knazze (second from left) answers questions during a Monday budget hearing. 

    Aldermen focused much of their time on Monday questioning the leader of the city’s Department of Family and Support Services on how the city is addressing homelessness and whether certain initiatives would continue beyond the life of the pandemic. 

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    Ald. David Moore (17) questions Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin during a City Council budget hearing on Monday.

    Only about 40 percent of the money allocated from a long-dormant city fund to help businesses survive last year’s spring lockdown actually made it to applicants, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin told aldermen during a budget hearing on Monday. The rest remains tied up with private intermediary lenders, in part due to a quirk in city rules, she said.

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    The City Council during its February 2020 meeting. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    The City Council is months away from adopting a system of electronic voting that could forever put an end to lengthy and confusing roll call votes, Clerk Anna Valencia said during a budget hearing on Monday.

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    Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chair Marisel Hernandez speaks to reporters during a March 2020 news conference. [The Daily Line/Alex Nitkin]

    Tuesday will mark day three of the City Council’s departmental budget hearings as aldermen are set to hear from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners on its proposed budget swell to handle the 2022 primary and general elections and the implementation of a new ward map. Members of the council’s Committee on Budget and Government Operations are also scheduled to hear from leaders of the administrative hearings and human resources departments on their proposed budget increases. 

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    City budget officials address questions from Ald. Daniel La Spata (1) during a Friday hearing on the proposed 2022 budget.

    Aldermen spent part of the City Council’s first hearing on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed 2022 budget on Friday raising concerns over the sustainability of new programs proposed to be funded with the one-time federal stimulus dollars, probing city finance officials over whether the city has enough employees to carry out the programs.  

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    Nearly 8,800 people as of last week were either incarcerated in Cook County Jail or confined to electronic monitoring, about a 10 percent jump from just before the COVID-19 pandemic. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    Changes could be coming to Cook County’s controversial home surveillance programs designed to pigeonhole pre-trial defendants who have been released from jail.

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    Clerk Anna Valencia and Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin are set to face questions during budget hearings on Monday.

    Following the City Council’s all-day grilling of city budget officials on Friday, aldermen are set to begin drilling down into the city’s individual departments Monday morning as they quiz Clerk Anna Valencia and Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin about their expanded budgets for the 2022 budget year. And in the afternoon, the Committee on Budget and Government Operations will hear from the leader of the city’s License Appeal Commission and the chief of the Department of Family and Support Services.

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    Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to use $46 million in federal recovery funds to plant 75,000 new trees in Chicago during the next five years.

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pitch to add 75,000 new trees to the city’s canopy during the next five years could have little impact unless the city also works to maintain existing trees and ensure new trees receive proper care, according to one conservation group.

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    Senate Transportation Committee chair Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) (left) and American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois president Kevin Artl during a committee hearing Monday

    Launching a commission to oversee and expand public-private partnerships could beef up the benefits of state- and locally-backed transportation projects, lawmakers and experts said during a hearing on Monday.

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    Gov. JB Pritzker signed revised legislative maps into law on Friday afternoon.

    Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the revised legislative maps that Democratic lawmakers pushed through the General Assembly last month, saying the new boundaries “align with the landmark Voting Rights Act and will help ensure Illinois’ diversity is reflected in the halls of government.”

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    Attorney Brian Barnes argued on behalf of his clients that the Supreme Court challenge of Deerfield’s 2018 ordinance on assault weapons ultimately was a case of the village preempting the legislature.

    Judges should consider the years-old congressional effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act when weighing a 2018 ordinance that would have banned assault weapons in Deerfield, an attorney told members of the Illinois Supreme Court last week.

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    Jon Coss, the vice president of risk, fraud and compliance at Thomson Reuters, on Thursday praised Illinois’ the latest efforts to combat fraud within the state’s unemployment system. 

    State officials and a cybersecurity expert on Thursday reflected on the challenges’ Illinois’ unemployment system faced during the COVID-19 pandemic while noting planned changes could put the state ahead of the curve in dealing with new fraud efforts. 

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    Kelly Cunningham, the Medicaid director for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, signaled support on Wednesday to change the way Illinois’ nursing homes receive state funding. 

    Members of the House and state officials on Wednesday signaled plans to shift the way Illinois’ long-term care facilities are funded in an effort to encourage providers to improve care and address staffing needs.  

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    Joshua Burday, an attorney for the Mancini Law Group, urged the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold the high court’s previous ruling in a case that centers on Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act. 

    The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday listened to oral arguments in a case that could affect residents’ ability to obtain information from government agencies via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  

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    Federal officials joined Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday to tour a state health center while touting the COVID-19 vaccine. The latest round of Rebuild Illinois grants include a hodgepodge of municipal infrastructure around the state. And two Republicans have joined forces with the Illinois Opportunity Project in a new recall campaign effort.  

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