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    A progressive alderperson survived a challenge to his committee leadership role, and the mayor announced the city’s first chief homelessness officer.

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    Bring Chicago Home supporters gather outside the Illinois Appellate Court on March 1. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    The future of a proposal to raise Chicago’s real estate transfer tax on property sales over $1 million, decrease it for sales under $1 million and use the new tax revenue to fund services and housing to reduce homelessness did not look promising Tuesday night as favorable votes for the ballot question known as Bring Chicago Home trailed opposition votes.

    With 97 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, 53.8 percent of voters had voted against the ballot question.

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    Eileen O'Neill Burke and Clayton Harris III are competing for the Democratic nomination for Cook County State's Attorney. [Burke photo: Michael McDevitt, Harris photo from campaign social media]

    The Democratic primary race for Cook County State’s Attorney remained too close to call Tuesday night, though Eileen O’Neill Burke led party-backed candidate Clayton Harris III with roughly 51 percent of the vote to Harris’ more than 48.9 percent as of 11 p.m.

    If her lead continues as remaining mail-in votes in Chicago and the suburbs are counted, then O’Neill Burke will compete this fall to succeed outgoing State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose leadership O’Neill Burke has criticized.

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    A Chicago voter participates in the 2022 primary. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line] 

    Two candidates have already clinched their party’s nomination for president of the United States. But Illinois voters will decide winners in several key primaries that will determine the vision they want representing their districts in Congress, Springfield and the Illinois Supreme Court.  

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    Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester) speaks at a news conference in Springfield earlier this month. [Ben Szalinski/The Daily Line]

    The Senate Executive Committee advanced a bill to create one of Gov. JB Pritzker’s major second term initiatives and establish the Department of Early Childhood.  

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    City Hall is pictured in a file photo. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    The City Council Committee on Budget and Government Operations will meet Tuesday and consider the appointment of a new fleet and facility management commissioner, an ordinance to require City Council consent for the appointment of the public health commissioner and an ordinance to establish hiring preferences for residents from disadvantaged areas. 

    The budget committee will meet at 11 a.m. in council chambers.

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    Chicago Police officers oversee a protest. [Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago] 

    Just two weeks after the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education unanimously voted to ban police officers from CPS, a House committee advanced a measure that would put decisions about school resource officers (SRO) back in the hands of Local School Councils (LSC).  

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    Ald. Maria Hadden, attorney Ed Mullen and Bring Chicago Home advocates gather in front of the Illinois Appellate Court on March 1, 2024. [Michael McDevitt/The Daily Line]

    The Illinois Appellate Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court’s ruling to suppress the outcome of the city’s referendum to change the real estate transfer tax structure from a flat rate to a graduated rate, allowing the results of the measure known as Bring Chicago Home to be counted. 

    The appeals court reversed the previous ruling largely on the grounds that the lawsuit was “premature” and that the referendum is a protected part of the city’s legislative process, since the city must receive voter approval before it is allowed to raise the transfer tax.

    “The holding of an election for the purpose of passing a referendum to empower a municipality to adopt an ordinance is a step in the legislative process of the enactment of that ordinance,” the appeals court said in a unanimous judgment and opinion delivered by Judge Raymond Mitchell. “Courts do not, and cannot, interfere with the legislative process.”

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    City Hall is pictured in this file photo

    Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Burke did not elaborate on her reasoning for invalidating the Bring Chicago Home referendum in a Friday ruling. In a court order received Monday by the Chicago Board of Elections, the defendant in the lawsuit against the referendum, Burke wrote that she ruled against the legality of the ballot question to raise the transfer tax on high-end property sales “for the reasons stated in open court and on the record.” 

    The court order confirms that the Bring Chicago Home referendum (R2023-0004166) will remain on the primary election ballot but will not be countable or reportable unless an appeals court reverses the decision. The city filed a notice of appeal on Monday. 

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    A file photo of voting booths.

    A Cook County judge on Friday sided with real estate and commercial groups that had sued the Chicago Board of Elections to keep the Bring Chicago Home referendum off the March 19 primary election ballot. While voters might still be able to vote on the ballot question, the results could be suppressed if a higher court does not reverse the decision on appeal.

    The fight to raise the real estate transfer tax was supported by Mayor Brandon Johnson while he campaigned for office. In a statement Friday evening, the mayor’s office said the city was disappointed, believed in the referendum’s legality and was exploring “every legal option available” to ensure voters remain the final say on the question.