City Council’s Rules Committee meets at 9:00 a.m. today to consider three non-binding ballot referenda for November’s election. State law limits the number of ballot referendums to three per jurisdiction. The deadline for City Council to adopt up to three advisory questions for the November ballot is August 22. Petitions to file an advisory question must be filed by August 8 with 8% of the total votes for governor cast in the last election within that jurisdiction, or 52,519 signatures for Chicago.
One proposed ballot referendum from Mayor Rahm Emanuel would ask Chicago voters whether the state should strengthen penalties for illegal trafficking of firearms and require background checks for gun dealers and their employees.
The second, proposed by Ald. Danny Solis (25) calls for a ballot question on the creation of city-issued IDs “that will expand access to city services for residents unable to access other forms of identification.” The city’s language access ordinance, which passed about a year ago, called for the creation of a task force to look into the development of municipal IDs to connect Chicagoans with city programs, regardless of immigration status, homeless status, or gender identity. Mayor Emanuel established the group in July of 2015, and was supposed to report its findings in time for the release of the FY 2016 budget. But one of its members, Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told Aldertrack last month that scheduled meetings were postponed.
The third referendum on the agenda, introduced by newly appointed Education Chair Howard Brookins, Jr. (20) asks: Should the State of Illinois provide full and equitable funding for Chicago Public Schools? Brookins made headlines recently for saying Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “attacks” on Chicago Public Schools funding were “racially tinged.” It’s not the first time the argument’s been made. At the unveiling of CPS’ 20 for 20 campaign in April, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said Gov. Rauner’s suggested budget discriminates against minority and low income children across the state. Board of Education President Frank Clark emphasized that most CPS students are children of color. And local pastor Dr. Byron T. Brazier said Rauner’s school budget was intended to continue “racial and economic practices of the past.”
Not on the agenda: a proposed referendum question from Ald. Scott Waguespack(32) asking voters if an elected Independent Airport Authority should govern Chicago’s two airports, O’Hare and Midway. The question was drafted in consultation with SEIU, which represents airport workers, and has 27 signatures. At a May press conference, some of the main sponsors, including progressive aldermen Leslie Hairston (5), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10), and Toni Foulkes, stood with workers who alleged they were subject to wage theft, intimidation, retaliation and discrimination by airport managers.
The Fair Elections Ordinance and hearings on the Finance Committee’s workers compensation department are both on hold in the committee, as is a citizen-introduced item on procedures for recalling the mayor.
There are four corrections to the Journal of Proceedings. Three technical corrections are from 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly (a misnumbered Planned Development number), 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez (a misnumbered address for a sign issuance) and City Clerk Susana Mendoza (the incorrect year on a resolution).
Ald. Danny Solis (25) also has a correction changing the site of the old Malcolm X College building from an Institutional Planned Development (reserved for hospitals, schools, and universities) to a Business Planned Development. Students from the Malcolm X campus have since moved to a brand new facility, and the city has sold the land to the Chicago Blackhawks and Rush University for construction of a new practice facility for the hockey team and a new medical academic campus for the university.