Please enjoy and share our unlocked articles below.

  • article-image
    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.

  • article-image
    José Torres [Courtesy of Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy]

    This story was originally published in Chalkbeat.

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has named José Torres, a former superintendent of the state’s second largest school district, to serve as the interim schools chief of Chicago Public Schools until a permanent replacement is hired to succeed CEO Janice Jackson.

    The school district has said it aims to have a new CEO in place by Aug. 1, but extended its application window for candidates, and observers say the timeline is extremely aggressive. The interim CEO announcement signals that the mayor wants to be prepared for a lengthier stretch in between permanent top leaders.

  • article-image
    Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) (left) and Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) [Facebook]

    A long-debated push by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi to compel extra financial data from large property owners hit a wall in Springfield last month, as supporters failed to bridge their differences with a coalition of powerful business groups. 

    But after a dizzying flurry of negotiations left both sides more embittered than ever, some key legislators say their patience for compromise is wearing thin. Following three consecutive failed attempts at pushing the bill to the finish line, House Revenue and Finance Committee chair Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) said the opponents won’t be able to keep it bottled up forever.

  • article-image

    For months, Illinois’ top elected officials, including Gov. JB Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon said ethics reform was one of lawmakers’ top priorities for this year’s legislative session. Little significant action was taken until May 31, the last scheduled day of session.

    Despite the new proposal, good government groups and even the sponsors of the ethics reform package said more work is needed on the issue.

    This week on the CloutCast, Joel Ebert interviews Alisa Kaplan, executive director of Reform for Illinois, about the latest new ethics bill, which now heads to the governor for action.

  • article-image
    Aldermen have mixed responses to the title of “alderperson.”

    Chicago elected officials aired mixed reactions to an omnibus election bill (SB 825) on its way to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk that is set to change all official references to municipal elected officials from “alderman” to “alderperson.”

  • article-image
    Cook County leaders will face ramifications from two major bills passed by state lawmakers on Monday.

    A bill approved by state lawmakers on Monday will likely stretch the timeline for Cook County’s decennial remap, relieving pressure on commissioners to approve new district boundaries while census data remains in flux. But an overhaul of the state’s ethics rules, also approved Monday, cast new doubt on a long-baked effort to updated the county’s ethics code.

  • article-image
    Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5) speak during a news conference Thursday.

    One day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot formally introduced her long-awaited proposal for civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department (O2021-2143), proponents of a competing community proposal think they still have enough votes to get their ordinance approved.

  • article-image
    Mayor Lori Lightfoot during an April 15 news conference and Inspector General Joseph Ferguson during a committee meeting the next day.

    A months-long legislative battle over police transparency is set to come to a head Monday afternoon as aldermen vote whether to compile two decades’ worth of police misconduct complaints into a public database.

  • article-image
    A proposed 120-unit affordable housing development faced blowback in the Chicago Plan Commission due to concerns about environmental racism. [Department of Planning and Development]

    A divided Chicago Plan Commission voted on Thursday to allow a new affordable housing development about 650 feet from the McKinley Park MAT Asphalt plant, as multiple commissioners said they feared the move would perpetuate environmental racism against the developments future residents who are extremely likely to be Latino.

  • article-image
    Director of Illinois families for Public Schools Cassie Creswell faced intense questioning from House lawmakers over a proposed law mandating 30 minutes of recess for Illinois elementary school students Wednesday.

    Lawmakers picked apart a bill meant to mandate 30 minutes of recess for elementary school students during a Wednesday hearing of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.