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    Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Comm. Rosa Escareño [left] and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) during a committee meeting on Thursday

    A City Council committee voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to advance a sweeping business deregulation package (O2021-2183) designed to speed the city’s pandemic recovery, setting up a major policy win for Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the objections of aldermen who fear one provision will usurp their ward-level authority.

    Aldermen on the council’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection voted 15-3 to advance the 93-page “Chi Biz Strong” business relief package, teeing it up for final approval by the City Council next Wednesday. The ordinance’s 10 sections and dozens of subsections unspool or re-tool city rules around a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, taxis, and hotels. Also attached is a resolution supporting a future $10 million direct aid initiative and debt relief program for businesses.

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    Plan Commissioners were split on a proposal to add a 34-unit residential building to an industrial area near Lincoln Yards.

    Members of the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday gave unanimous approval to two proposals from LG Development expected to bring more than 1,000 new residential units to Fulton Market. But commissioners were split on a proposal for a new 34-unit residential building proposed across the street from the Lincoln Yards mega-development. 

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    Aldermen are scheduled to vote on a pair of police oversight ordinances Friday. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago]

    After months of delay, aldermen are set to vote Friday to pick a plan for civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department, potentially teeing up a full City Council vote on the issue next week. 

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    Aldermen during an April 2021 City Council meeting. [Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times/pool]

    This article was published in collaboration with Block Club Chicago.

    CHICAGO — Chicago no longer has aldermen — at least according to a bill signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Thursday.

    The bill, which was primarily introduced to expand voting options and move the state’s 2022 primary from March 15 to June 28, also called for the elimination of the term used to describe Chicago City Council members for 184 years. Now, the gender neutral “alderperson” will be used to describe city elected officials in state legislative materials.

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    Aldermen grilled Celia Meza on Wednesday before approving her appointment as Corporation Counsel.

    Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations opened the door for aldermen to question a wide range of topics, including why aldermen don’t have their own separate legal counsel, the status of replacing lead service lines and why the city should contract out work on its own five-year capital plan. 

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    Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) challenged the city’s timeline for upgrading its technology during a committee hearing on Wednesday.

    Chicago leaders should spend at least $350 million during the next decade to update the city’s outdated apps, retrain and reshuffle its information technology staff and make a host of other tech improvements, a consultant told aldermen Wednesday after conducting a months-long study. The alternative would mean wasting increasing amounts of taxpayer money.

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    A-frame signs like this one in Andersonville would be formally legalized under a sweeping business relief ordinance set for consideration Thursday. [Alex Nitkin/The Daily Line]

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hauling her 95-page hodgepodge of business deregulation proposals to a City Council committee on Thursday in a bet that the sweeping business relief package can overcome grumblings from some aldermen over its size and reach.

    Lightfoot is scheduled to introduce an updated version of her “Chi Biz Strong” ordinance (O2021-2183) directly to the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection during its 10 a.m. meeting on Thursday. The direct introduction will allow the mayor to bypass Ald. Raymond Lopez’s (15) move to sidetrack the ordinance to the council’s Committee on Committees and Rules last month.

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    A proposed development would add 665 residential units in two buildings on either side of Lake Street to the Near West Side. [Chicago Department of Planning and Development]

    Members of the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday are set to consider proposals that would together add more than 1,000 new residential units to the Near West Side, among other plans. 

    The Plan Commission is scheduled during its 10 a.m. meeting to weigh approval of a 33-story building with 486 residential units proposed for the south side of 1150 W. Lake St. and a 20-story, 179-unit residential building proposed on the north side of the street (O2021-1495).  

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    The Illinois State Board of Elections headquarters

    Members of the Illinois State Board of Elections signaled this week they will make preparations in case either of two recent lawsuits succeeds in striking down the new legislative boundaries signed into law earlier this month.

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    Gov. JB Pritzker signed the omnibus election bill that will delay next year’s primary to June and the state budget. Pritzker also announced a new $10 million COVID-19 vaccine lottery as he boasted 70 percent of adults have been at least partially vaccinated. And Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) announced he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, saying he wants to raise awareness of the issue. 

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    Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) addressed the House Wednesday minutes before the chamber approved a bill that would create an elected school board for Chicago.

    The House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that will dramatically change the makeup of the leadership of Chicago Public Schools by making it an elected board.  

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    House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) reflected on Wednesday’s brief one-day return to Springfield during a news conference. 

    Making an abbreviated return to Springfield, the House changed its rules Wednesday to allow members to vote remotely before signing off on Gov. JB Pritzker’s changes to the state budget and a bill to update the state’s firearm owners identification system. 

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    Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) addressed reporters Tuesday after the Senate failed to take up an energy bill that remains under discussion.

    The Senate’s plans for a one-day return to Springfield hit a wrinkle Tuesday after last-minute negotiations over Gov. JB Pritzker’s proposed omnibus energy bill failed to reach a consensus.

    The ongoing stalemate came hours after Pritzker’s office once again changed a key component of its bill that would allow certain power plants that were seeking an exemption to stay open longer if they reached certain emissions goals. 

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    Gov. JB Pritzker issued an amendatory veto to the state budget bill. The House is expected to change rules to allow remote voting. And the state’s health department announced it is scaling back COVID-19 updates.  

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    A coalition of business groups sent a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker in an effort to ramp up pressure on his energy proposal. 

    One day before the Senate’s return to Springfield, a coalition of business groups sent a critical letter to Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday indicating his proposed energy omnibus legislation would result in the “largest rate hike on consumers and businesses” in state history.  

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