Caroline is a fourth-year at the University of Chicago and most recently worked the managing editor of the student paper there, The Chicago Maroon. She’s reported on politics and policy at the national and state levels in Wisconsin and Iowa, where she also made a point of trying as much local ice cream as she could find.
A view of the dome from inside the state Capitol in Springfield [Joel Ebert/The Daily Line]
Lawmakers approved a flurry of bills during the final days of the now open-ended spring legislative session. The General Assembly is expected to reconvene at some point in the days or weeks ahead to finish considering several significant measures that have been left unresolved.
While many of the biggest bills, including the budget and measures on redistricting, elections and ethics have garnered the most attention, a host of other significant proposals were able to cross the finish line in recent days.
Cannabis licensing, child restraint, lead service lines and criminal justice trailer among final bills approved before lawmakers left Springfield
House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) and House Democrats held a news conference early Tuesday morning, touting their accomplishments this session despite several high profile issues remaining unresolved.
Shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday, House lawmakers held a news conference to declare the legislative session over.
House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside), who took over for former Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) in January, reflected on his first full session as the chamber’s leader and lawmakers’ work over the past five months.
Energy, FOID fix and elected school board remain unresolved as session remains open-ended
Republicans blasted Democrats for holding closed-door redistricting discussions. And Gov. JB Pritzker weighed in on the Chicago elected school board bill and announced an evidence-based education funding boost.
News in brief: Republicans blast Dems for closed-door redistricting discussions; Pritzker ‘in favor’ of a Chicago elected school board, announces boost for evidence-based school funding
City health officials will update aldermen on city’s pandemic response as COVID-19 case numbers decline. Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined other Great Lakes mayors in calling for federal dollars to help replace lead water pipes. And Senate President Don Harmon weighed in on elected school board negotiations.
News in brief: Arwady to face questions on pandemic response; Lightfoot joins mayors in call for federal lead replacement funding; Harmon weighs in on school board talks
Chicago health officials released more details of a city reopening plan. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability wraps its investigation of the Anjanette Young police raid. And Cook County Health officials detail plans to get food service workers vaccinated.
News in brief: Chicago loosens COVID restrictions; COPA wraps probe of Anjanette Young raid; Cook County plans vaccination ‘Restaurant Day’
Mayor Lori Lightfoot made donations to some aldermanic campaign funds in the first three months of 2021.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s political action committee brought in more than $245,000 in campaign donations during the first three months of 2021 and contributed donations of at least $250 each to five aldermen.
State board of election filings show Light PAC made $250 donations to Ald. Pat Dowell (3) on March 4, Ald. Michele Smith (43) on Feb. 10, Ald. Samantha Nugent (39) on Feb. 18, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10) on Feb. 18. The committee also made two donations of $250 each to Ald. David Moore (17) on Jan. 19 and Feb. 8. The donations all marked tickets that Lightfoot's organization had purchased to aldermen's fundraising events, Dave Mellet, political spokesperson for Lightfoot told The Daily Line Monday.
Lightfoot donates to aldermen, rakes in contributions from pro sports organizations as city reopens
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.
Crackdown on scofflaw building owners advances as aldermen press officials over tech upgrades
A Metropolitan Water Reclamation District staffer, a college sports administrator, a radio commentator, a political communications professional and a former state government worker are set to vie on Thursday for the chance to fill the Illinois House seat vacated by Rep. Andre Thapedi (D-Chicago) last month.
Thapedi signaled in January that he would step back after 12 years representing the serpentine 32nd District, which winds from Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood out to suburban Hickory Hills. But the representative submitted his formal resignation on March 17, opening a 30-day window for local Democratic Party officials to pick his replacement.
Candidates line up for Thapedi replacement appointment as party bosses profess open minds
TDL Springfield Morning Briefs: Tuesday, March 06
News in brief: Pritzker signs Chicago firefighter pension bill; Pritzker promotes program to combat learning loss
News in brief: Pritzker signs Chicago firefighter pension bill; Pritzker promotes program to combat learning loss
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a trio of bills into law just before the close of business on Friday that garnered heated discussion in the General Assembly on its first working day of 2022.
The new laws adjust judicial maps, fine-tune last year’s landmark SAFE-T Act and make adjustments to the state’s election calendar to match the pushed-back date of the June 2022 primary.
Pritzker quietly signs law enforcement trailer, new judicial districts and election rules
A year-end report from a state working group on education is calling for increased infrastructure to address student mental health needs and for districts to consider changing their school year schedules as a response to the disruptions incurred by COVID-19.
Invest in school staffing, mental health support to recover from ‘learning loss,’ state-backed report says
Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) and Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) during a virtual meeting of the House Redistricting Committee on Wednesday
Republican House members on Wednesday walloped an amended new proposal (SB 928) that would create judicial subcircuits in Sangamon County, Madison County and Winnebago counties as the bill marched to a party-line vote through the General Assembly.
Republicans trash approved subcircuit maps as gerrymandered in tense first day of session
Rep. Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) speaks during a House floor session on Wednesday night.
Illinois legislators began the second year of the 102nd General Assembly mired in three of the same topics that dominated the 2021 legislative session: the COVID-19 pandemic, the direction of criminal justice and redistricting in the state.
COVID protocols, criminal justice cleanup among first items approved in 2022 session
Gov. JB Pritzker is isolating after exposure to a case of COVID-19 as the legislature’s work gets underway. The first day of session saw a House Republican press conference on last year’s SAFE-T act, which will eliminate cash bill and set in motion other reforms related to public safety. And Comptroller Suzana Mendoza announced her office has paid a $20 billion loan back to the federal government two years ahead of schedule. (Caroline Kubzansky)
News in brief: Pritzker isolates after virus exposure; GOP knocks SAFE-T Act, Mendoza pays Fed loan back early
John Schnobrich on Unsplash
Illinois residents still face barriers to high-speed internet depending on their location and income, the state’s Broadband Advisory Council acknowledged in its year-end report.
State officials look to federal dollars to close broadband access gaps
Test scores dropped in the past year amid the pandemic, but officials have mixed views about what that means. [Unsplash stock]
The number of students who met grade-level standards in math and English took a tumble this past school year, according to newly released data from the 2021 Illinois Assessment of Readiness test.
Education advocates interrogate use of standardized tests during COVID-19 after disappointing scores
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill on Friday to repeal the Parental Notification Act.
Gov. JB Pritzker officially rolled back Illinois’ last remaining abortion restriction Friday when he signed a repeal of the Parental Notification of Abortion Act (HB 370).
Pritzker signs repeal of parental notification law as Illinois Dems look to shore up abortion protections
Gov. JB Pritzker officially authorized $250 million in new funding to fight gun violence as part of the Reimagine Public Safety Act (HB 2791) on Friday.
Pritzker signs $250M public safety expansion bill to address gun violence as public health crisis
Christine Coleman of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services listens to legislators at a joint subject matter hearing of the Mental Health and Addiction Committees.
Legislators demanded answers from state officials about the condition of the state’s behavioral health care system for children during a tense subject matter hearing on Wednesday.
Legislators confront health officials on lack of psych beds for kids: ‘children are being failed’
The Illinois Gaming Board approved two new casinos. Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) has made it a race for the new 3rd Illinois Congressional District. And Gov. JB Pritzker announced another round of highway improvements.
News in Brief: Casinos get green light; Ramirez joins congressional race, highway widening continues
New Illinois House districts in the Metro East area and on Chicago's North Side came under the microscope in a Tuesday court hearing.
Latino and Black voting rights, 10-year population projections and murky legislative intent all made for a thorny court hearing on Illinois’ proposed legislative maps on Tuesday.
Judges ponder intent, impact of state legislative maps on minorities in high-stakes hearing
A map of the first round of new Illinois Senate districts approved by lawmakers in June. [Frank Calabrese]
Attorneys for Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker Chris Welch will try on Tuesday to fend off three challenges to Illinois’ next set of legislative maps before a panel of three judges.
Judges to hear legal arguments against proposed legislative remap as primaries loom
Gov. JB Pritzker announced $94 million in new funds for Illinois airports at the Quad Cities International Airport Wednesday.
Gov. JB Pritzker announced almost $94 million in new funding for Illinois airports through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Improvement Program, which he touted as “the most robust infrastructure upgrade in Illinois’ history.”
Pritzker takes infrastructure victory lap, touts efforts to 'Rebuild Illinois' in Quad Cities
Illinois schools saw setbacks to students’ academic progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows. [Unsplash/CDC]
Enrollment, graduation rates and math proficiency rates have all ebbed in Illinois schools during the last year, according to data released this month from the Illinois State Board of Education.
Illinois schools confront pandemic reality of slower academic progress in new data
Five of the seven candidates (lower two rows) to replace John D’Amico in the 15th House District took part in a 39th Ward Neighbors United candidate forum on Saturday.
A community organizer, a municipal financial consultant, a former president of the Chicago Bar Association, a community college professor and a former Democratic volunteer are among the candidates who will vie on Tuesday to replace Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago) in the 15th House District after his Nov. 5 resignation.
Crowded field vies for party blessing to fill Northwest Side House seat vacated by D’Amico
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the Reimagining Electric Vehicles act as members of the legislature applaud behind him.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act (HB 1769) Tuesday, marking the next step in state leaders’ efforts to make Illinois a hub for electric car and battery manufacturers.
Pritzker signs EV incentive package in bid to make Illinois the ‘Silicon Valley of electric vehicles’
The CTA is earmarking billions of dollars for extensions and upgrades to train lines in its 2022 budget. [CTA/Flickr]
The CTA is moving forward with an ambitious budget for 2022 despite still-cratered revenues and ridership from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some highlights of the $1.7 billion spending plan include a permanent slash in the cost of multi-day passes, the introduction of more electric buses and continued upgrades for stations, tracks and other equipment.
Federal dollars fuel CTA’s ambitious budget as depressed ridership leaves agency’s future revenues in doubt
The Illinois General Assembly is set to return for its fall legislative session on Oct. 19.
Illinois lawmakers have been quick to respond to a recently passed Texas law that effectively bans most abortions in the state. So far, two Chicago lawmakers have filed bills inspired by the Texas law: one to expand abortion access, and one that aims to rein in gun violence. Both proposals could see discussion during the upcoming veto session.
Gun violence, abortion bills among flurry of legislation filed before veto session
Tim Carey of Hawthorne Race Course displays a rendering of a planned update to Hawthorne’s facility during a virtual meeting of the Senate Gaming Committee.
Under pressure to expand and update their facilities racetracks close or repurposed, members of Illinois' beleaguered horseracing industry are working to adapt and secure funding for new ventures, they told legislators on Thursday.