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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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The $6 million Madigan? Former Illinois House speaker reports spending millions in legal fees

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State lawmaker wants to rework foot-chase policy and end a legal defense police use: ‘No way we could continue to go on like this’

"The fact that when police look at me, or someone who looks like me or someone that looks like the young boy who was killed, they don’t see them the way they see a white person, a white boy," Ford said. "They don’t see us the way they see someone with white skin."

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Another day, another elected Chicago school board bill advances in Springfield

For House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the different pieces of legislation seemed to be more about a "personality conflict" than about a substantive issue.

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Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg

Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman is joined by Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to discuss his new role, reflect on his time in baseball and what he thinks of the current Chicago Cubs ball club.

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Toledo shooting ‘tragic and horrific,’ alderman says after viewing video

Ald. Chris Taliaferro, a former Chicago police officer, chairs the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety. He wouldn’t say if the shooting was justified because he doesn’t want to prejudice what he hopes will be a "thorough and quick" investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

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Immigration advocates planning May 1 rally to push for reform

Immigration advocates in Chicago are pushing for legislation that will provide a path toward legalization for those living in the country without legal status.

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Fingerprints for FOID cards? Rival gun control bills spark potshots from legislators, police, gun lobby

Both bills seek to reform and improve the FOID card, which Illinois residents must have to legally own firearms or ammunition. But each side accuses the other of missing the target.

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Democrats begin long-shot push to expand the Supreme Court

President Joe Biden last week created a commission to spend the next six months examining the politically incendiary issues of expanding the court and instituting term limits for justices.

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Biden targets lead pipes, pushes equity

The lead pipes snaking through Chicago and communities of every size from rural Maine to suburban California are in the national spotlight now as President Joe Biden pushes to spend $45 billion to replace every lead water pipe as part of his big infrastructure package.

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Lightfoot says Chicago ‘failed’ Adam Toledo, vows to do more to save teens like him

"We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct," Lightfoot said. "It is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all-too-familiar surge of outrage and pain."

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Capitol Police watchdog says force needs ‘culture change’

Capitol Police Inspector General Michael A. Bolton has investigated the force’s missteps since the siege, when hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the building and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.

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Elected Chicago school board, expanded fertility treatment coverage, teaching Asian American history advance in Springfield

State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz said she introduced a bill that would require Illinois schools to teach students about Asian American history because Asian Americans "are part of the American fabric, but we are often invisible."

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Senate Majority Leader Lightford tests positive for COVID-19 — planning to work from home despite ‘aching an awful lot’

In a brief phone conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightford said she left Springfield, where legislators are convening for session, and returned home where she will join committee meetings through Zoom. 

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Nearly a quarter of Illinoisans now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — Pritzker suggests third surge ‘beginning’ to end

The state is vaccinating more people per day than ever — at an average clip of 132,810 doses given per day over the past week. That’s roughly three Illinoisans every two seconds.

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Obama Center prep work to kick off in Jackson Park; new lawsuit seeks to block construction

The new federal lawsuit follows an earlier failed legal battle to prevent the Obama Center from locating in Jackson Park, on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Chicago to use more than half of $1.9 billion in federal relief to reduce city debt

Ald. Jason Ervin, chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, said the mayor’s plan to end "scoop-and-toss" borrowing would be a "tough sell" to Chicagoans who’ve lost their jobs or seen their hours cut during the pandemic.

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Statues with limitations? Panel to review state monuments with eye to diversity, accuracy: ‘It’s time for us to get history straight’

State House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch announced Wednesday he’s putting together the Statue and Monument Review Task Force to "ensure Illinois’ public art is historically accurate and reflects the diversity of the state."

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Crackdown on ‘out of control’ towing industry on council’s agenda

A proposal from Chicago aldermen would require a $250 license for every truck a towing firm operates and licenses for locations where towed vehicles are stored.

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Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan, end ‘forever war’

President Joe Biden’s plan is to pull out all American forces — numbering 2,500 now — by this Sept. 11, the anniversary of the attacks, which were coordinated from Afghanistan.

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Stinging report raises new questions about Capitol security 

The full report obtained by The Associated Press before the department’s watchdog testifies at a House hearing casts serious doubt on whether the police would be able to respond to another large-scale attack.

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Video showing fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo to be released Thursday

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said besides footage from body-worn cameras, the materials also will include third-party video, transmissions from the Office of Emergency Management & Communications, SpotShotter recordings and police reports.

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‘Red’ states on U.S. electoral map lagging on vaccinations

Americans in so-called "blue states" that lean Democratic appear to be getting vaccinated at more robust rates, while those in "red" Republican states seem to be more hesitant.

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Biden faces long odds in push for more state ‘red flag’ laws

President Joe Biden announced last week that his administration would publish model legislation in the next 60 days to encourage more states to pass red flag laws.

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CFD policies ‘insufficient’ to combat discrimination and sexual harassment: inspector general

The survey of Chicago Fire Department personnel included 45 women, and 28 of them — 62% — reported being sexually harassed.

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Prosecutors: No charges for officer in Capitol riot shooting

Authorities had considered for months whether criminal charges were appropriate for the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt. The Justice Department’s decision, though expected, officially closes out the investigation.

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New federal N95 mask guidelines aim to expand their use amid sluggish sales

The measures come as U.S. mask-makers say demand by hospitals is so light that they’ve laid off 2,000 workers and fear some new protective-gear companies could collapse.

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Biden begins to undo Trump’s ban on abortion referrals

The proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services follows through on President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to reverse his predecessor’s family planning policy, branded a "gag rule" by women’s groups and decried by medical associations as violating the doctor-patient relationship.

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Dogs gone: CFD wants firehouse companions removed after one kills neighbor’s dog

A woman was walking her dog past Engine 116 when Bones, a mixed breed, ran out of the firehouse and attacked.

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Trump’s CDC boss Dr. Robert Redfield joins Big Ass Fans, which touts unproven COVID-killing tech

Illinois Institute of Technology expert Brent Stephens worries about ‘really high’ ion counts and wouldn’t recommend the company’s Clean Air System for occupied spaces.

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Pritzker ‘does not have concerns’ 20 days after getting his shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is among more than 290,000 Illinois residents who received the now-scrutinized vaccine before it was put on hold. None of the six severe reactions occurred in the state.

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Attorney General Kwame Raoul working with feds to investigate office’s ‘compromised’ computer network

The state’s top law enforcement officer first learned that the computer network was breached early Saturday, Raoul said in a statement. It was not immediately known the extent to which the office’s network was compromised.

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J&J vaccine suspended statewide — but city’s top doc says don’t be ‘severely worried’ if you’ve already had your dose

Federal officials are investigating a handful of cases of severe side effects among about 7 million recipients.

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Jill Biden visits Dixon, Illinois, on Monday; 1st time to state as first lady

Dr. Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to tour Sauk Valley Community College.

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Aldermen approve massive re-write of Chicago’s home business ordinance

One month after postponing the vote at the request of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Ald. Gilbert Villegas pushed a substitute ordinance through the Committee on Economic and Capital Development.

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J&J Q&A: What you need to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause

With just six known instances of severe reactions among nearly 7 million J&J recipients nationwide, it’s quite literally been a one-in-million shot for negative outcomes so far. No issues have been reported in Illinois.

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Biden says ‘pause’ on J&J shots shows wisdom of his approach

President Joe Biden declared that even with a temporary loss of J&J ‘s one-shot vaccine, there is a huge supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, enough that "is basically 100% unquestionable, for every single solitary American."