Coronavirus cases surge after the Thanksgiving holiday, with the number of deaths reported this week breaking records set earlier this spring. With the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, the first Illinois residents are expected to be vaccinated as soon as Dec. 20.
A former ComEd executive, along with current and former lobbyists for the utility, charged in a bribery probe appeared in federal court this week. All four plead not guilty in a virtual arraignment.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been referred to in prosecutors’ documents but has not been charged in the scandal, has lost the support of one of the members of his own leadership team. There are now 19 House Democrats who say they won’t vote for Madigan to serve another term as speaker. GOP Leader Jim Durking says he should be speaker and is whipping up the votes. And despite a COVID-19 diagnosis, Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch will proceed with the bipartisan House probe of Madigan in the ComEd scandal.
Some familiar names – Alexei Giannoulias and Karen Yarbrough – are considering a run for Secretary of State. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is still in the hunt for Secretary of Transportation. And former Ald. Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak is sentenced to 18 months for tax evasion.
In city news, a top aide to Mayor Lori Lightfoot is apologizing for betting the mayor “3 cigars and a bottle of scotch” on the length of last year’s teacher strike. The city plans to tap short-term borrowing as a bridge until more pandemic aid comes. A request for proposals for a Chicago casino points to a downtown location and possibly a temporary casino while a permanent one is built. And finally, Chicago’s government watchdog finds the city’s doing an “abysmal” job policing how well businesses and big residential complexes provide recycling.
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