The Week in Review: Vaccine Mandates Widen

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by unvaccinated Illinoisans, Governor J.B. Pritzker reinstated an indoor mask mandate and widened the state’s vaccination mandate.

“Vaccination remains the strongest tool to protect ourselves and our loved ones, to restore post-pandemic life, to our communities and most crucially to maintain our health care system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors who needs help,” he said. “Unfortunately, we are running out of time as our hospitals run out of beds.”

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all city workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 15.

“As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, we must take every step necessary and at our disposal to keep everyone in our city safe and healthy,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Getting vaccinated has been proven to be the best way to achieve that and make it possible to recover from this devastating pandemic. And so, we have decided to join other municipalities and government agencies across the nation, including the U.S. military, who are making this decision to protect the people who are keeping our cities and country moving. We have also been in close communication with our partners in the labor movement to create a vaccination policy that is workable, fair and effective.”

The president of Chicago’s FOP is quickly slammed after comparing Chicago’s vaccine mandate to the Holocaust, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

And with students set to return to the classroom on Monday, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union are reportedly still negotiating over COVID-19 safety measures.

Union President Jesse Sharkey said his members are not trying to block schools from resuming in-person learning but are instead “sounding an alarm” over additional measures CPS must take to protect against COVID-19.

The district has already required all employees to get fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 and said everyone must wear a mask while inside buildings this school year.

City and State Politics

Amid pressure, indicted Ald. Carrie Austin gives up her position leading a city council committee.

Austin’s resignation as committee chair comes nine days after WTTW News reported that the committee spent more in 2020 than nearly all other City Council committees while meeting only three times and not advancing a single piece of substantive legislation.

Chicago’s Board of Ethics warns elected officials facing legal woes against creating a legal defense fund.

“Such monetary donations or contributions, in any amount, whether made to a legal defense fund you establish, or another established for your benefit, or through other means, such as directly to your attorneys, would constitute gifts to you for purposes of the Ethics Ordinance,” according to the opinion, signed by Chair William Conlon. “Thus, you are prohibited from accepting them, unless they come from your relatives or personal friends.”

Three members of the Chicago City Council — Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward); Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th Ward) and Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) — are under federal indictment. All three have pleaded not guilty. 

As reported by Politico, Rep. Rodney Davis picks up a Democratic challenger, as his colleague Rep. Adam Kinzinger faces possibly being mapped out of his seat.

Safety and Security

The Illinois State Police install cameras and license plate readers in an attempt to stem expressway shootings. Chicago’s watchdog slammed the ShotSpotter system as CPD renewed its contract for the controversial anti-violence technology.

Chicago’s Office of Inspector General on Tuesday published a report which found ShotSpotter technology “rarely” produces evidence of a gun crime, and has instead changed the way some officers interact with residents in areas where ShotSpotter alerts are more common.

“If the (Chicago Police Department) is to continue to invest in technology which sends CPD members into potentially dangerous situations with little information — and about which there are important community concerns — it should be able to demonstrate the benefit of its use in combatting violent crime,” Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg said in a statement. “The data we analyzed plainly doesn’t do that."

Fewer than 1 in 10 ShotSpotter alerts between 2020 and 2021 resulted in evidence of a gun-related criminal offense being found, according to the report.

In international news, more than 170 are now reported dead after a terror attack as the dangerous evacuation in Afghanistan continues, the effects of which continue to ripple worldwide.


Erik Runge, WGN-TV | @WGNErik, @WGNNews

Shia Kapos, Politico | @ShiaKapos, @Politico

Heather Cherone, WTTW News | @HeatherCherone, @WTTW

Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times | @NaderDIssa, @Suntimes

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