In this week’s edition of Spotlight Politics:
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address includes up to a $300 rebate for property taxes, suspending the 1% sales tax on food for a year, and blocking an increase in the state gasoline tax — nearly a billion dollars in temporary tax relief. But, Republican lawmakers are criticizing the moves as purely political in an election year.
Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is reportedly released to a halfway house in the killing of Laquan McDonald. Now, Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth want the U.S. Attorney General to consider charging Van Dyke federally.
In another high-profile case, 19 more wrongful convictions at the hands of former officer Ronald Watts were vacated — with more to come. That makes more than 100 cases tied to the convicted former cop. Are CPD reforms under the federal consent decree going to protect from future abuses that occurred with Watts and Van Dyke?
In the 6th Congressional District, Rep. Sean Casten has nearly $1.6 million in his campaign coffers and his opponent, a colleague, and fellow Democrat, Rep. Marie Newman, has more than $573,000 cash on hand. But, now in a twist, a so-called “political operative” paid former governor, Rod Blagojevich, $500 to weigh in on Newman’s ongoing ethics investigation.
Here's part of the receipt: pic.twitter.com/gV3SkPh4aq
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) February 1, 2022
COVID-19 cases are coming down, but some city workers are still defying Mayor Lightfoot’s deadline to get vaccinated, forcing her to make a decision on their firing. Dr. Allison Arwady is encouraged by the decline of cases and hospitalizations and hints at future changes to the city’s indoor mandates.
Our politics team of Amanda Vinicky and Heather Cherone takes on those stories and more.