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Politics

Political news, including Chicago City Hall, Cook County government, Chicago and county elections, the latest from Washington and Springfield and more.

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More than 100,000 students missed the latest CPS strike makeup days

Student attendance was 62% on the second makeup day stemming from last fall’s 11-day teachers strike.

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Latino students seeking college degrees in record numbers, but path is often fraught

Some at Northeastern Illinois University and North Park College, both ‘Hispanic-serving institutions,’ say they’re put off by the cost, the whiteness and the bureaucracy.

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The Fran Spielman Show

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Trump brings in experienced legal team for impeachment defense

The additions bring experience in the politics of impeachment as well as constitutional law to the team.

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Chicago Teachers Union Inc.: How the clout-heavy labor group spends its money

We examined how the CTU uses its considerable financial muscle and found nearly $1.5 million from its dues-funded budget went to politics and lobbying over 15 months. And a union foundation cut back sharply on charitable giving.

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In Chicago, yesterday’s reform is tomorrow’s reform

Or haven’t we been down this road previously?

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Madigan’s handpicked alderman accused of engaging in ‘prohibited political activity’

Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s quarterly report accuses Ald. Marty Quinn (13th) of putting his name and Mike Madigan’s on a graffiti blaster bought in 2013 with taxpayer money.

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Advocates for disabled call Amtrak policy hiking costs 25-fold — to $25,000 —  ‘grossly unfair to wheelchair users’

Amtrak usually accommodates members from Access Living for around $1,000, removing seats to make room for people with wheelchairs. But the group was hit with a much bigger estimate this year: more than $25,000.

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Preckwinkle prescribes major corrective surgery to fix ills of county’s hospitals and health system

Preckwinkle called for "enhanced collaboration" with the independent board that now runs the Cook County Health System, proposing amendments that would allow her to directly appoint a member to the board.

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Reformers lobby state panel — for lobbying reforms

While they didn’t always agree on specific solutions, most of those who spoke agreed that the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform has its work cut out for it.

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‘You called me a liar,’ Warren told Sanders post-Iowa debate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that, during a private meeting between the two in 2018, he disagreed with her that a woman could win the presidency. Sen. Bernie Sanders has denied that.

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Rep. Luis Arroyo’s arrest, charges

Luis Arroyo has been in hot water since October, when he was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly passing a $2,500 bribe to a state senator.

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Ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo appears set to plead guilty in corruption case: court filing

Federal prosecutors first charged Arroyo with bribery in a criminal complaint back in October. In that court filing, they revealed a state senator had been cooperating with them off and on since 2016.

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Assessment finds Obama Center could adversely affect historic boulevards

The Chicago Park Boulevard System wasn’t mentioned in previous reports about unfavorable impacts of the Obama Center project.

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Would One Central project help transform the South Side? It might if details can be worked out.

The multibillion-dollar development proposed just west of Soldier Field is touted as a bold plan to turn an ugly railyard into a lakefront jewel and boost public transit.

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Lightfoot to spend $7.5 million to expand street outreach to combat gang violence

The seven-fold increase can’t come soon enough for Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck, who says the collaboration "can address gang and gun violence in a way that no police officer can."

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Democrats to choose new Senate president, eyeing the call of history — and ‘shadows’ of the feds

It appears the field to replace outgoing Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has dwindled to two power-players: Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, and Assistant Majority Leader Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.

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City’s planning chief says South Works too big for one developer

Maurice Cox says the lakefront property needs a phased approach, with industry in the mix.

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IPRA investigator revealed sensitive info on police shooting to victim’s family, then sought attorney referral fee: IG

The investigator didn’t tell IPRA about having contact with the attorney service or the victim’s family, the inspector general said.

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New 3% pot tax passes Cook County Board

The tax would be imposed on "all persons engaged in the business of selling cannabis."

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County Board approves $165K settlement in ‘political discrimination’ case

Jeannette Soto was the director of human resources in the recorder’s office, and in late March of 2017 she was tasked with helping to find a new director of compliance for that office, according to the suit, which was filed in 2018.

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Lightfoot’s planning chief vows to ‘finish the job’ started with Englewood Whole Foods — and rebuild 9 other neighborhoods

Maurice Cox is the former Detroit planner lured to Chicago by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to preside over a neighborhood renaissance.

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Trump’s impeachment trial underway with reading of charges

"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye!" said the Senate’s sergeant at arms, calling the proceedings to order.

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House leaders march Trump impeachment articles to the Senate

The ceremonial pomp and protocol by the lawmakers prosecuting the case against Trump moved the impeachment out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where the president’s team is mounting a defense aiming for swift acquittal.

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University of Illinois administrators seek a tuition hike

If approved Thursday by trustees, the base tuition for in-state undergraduates would rise $218 to $12,254 a year for enrollees in Urbana-Champaign, by $192 to $10,776 a year for enrollees in Chicago and by $97.50 to $9,502.50 for enrollees in Springfield.

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Pelosi doles out impeachment pens, a signing tradition

The White House on Wednesday criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both for the pens and the speaker’s demeanor, which got some blowback on social media for being too cheery for such a grave development.

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Bottled Blonde lawsuit claims Chicago noise ordinance violates Illinois constitution

In the suit, Bottled Blonde asks the court to declare the city’s Amplified Noise Ordinance unconstitutional and enter an injunction to stop city officials from revoking its liquor license.

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CPD agreement with ICE is about combating terrorism, drug and human trafficking — not immigration enforcement, mayor says

The agreement has raised eyebrows among some immigration advocates. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot has no such concerns — not after the City Council voted Wednesday to strengthen Chicago’s Welcoming City ordinance.

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Angry Lightfoot admonishes City Council for tone of set-aside debate

The mayor received a standing ovation and a 47-1 vote to launch a study that could lay the groundwork for earmarking contracts for gay- and transgender-owned businesses in Chicago.

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Dav Pilkey’s new ‘Dog Man,’ Art Shay’s Chicago ‘Troublemakers’ and 6 more books not to miss

Other new titles worth a look include Jess Montgomery’s ‘The Hollows,’ Meng Jin’s ‘Little Gods,’ Simon Jimenez’s ‘The Vanished Birds’ and David Susskind’s ‘A World Without Work.’

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Penny Pritzker endorses Joe Biden for president

Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune and sister of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, played an instrumental role in Obama’s journey to the White House.

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McClain email fallout continues as authorities investigate ‘rape in Champaign’ and Pritzker ally resigns

Law enforcement officials are now investigating the "rape" section of the email, while McClain is under federal scrutiny as part of an ongoing investigation.