Ervin struck an agreement Wednesday with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Michele Smith (43), who chairs the council’s Committee on Ethics and Government Oversight, to schedule a committee hearing to discuss the item (O2020-2328) at 10 a.m. on Oct. 13, officials said. They set the date after Ervin invoked the council’s rarely-used Rule 41 on Tuesday in an attempt to push the measure directly to the City Council floor.
“My colleague has requested a hearing on the matter and we will have it soon,” Smith wrote in a statement to The Daily Line.
Ervin and a spokesperson for Lightfoot did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Lightfoot introduced the tweak in April, four months after the council voted to bar (O2019-8541) Chicago elected officials from lobbying other governments and likewise prohibit outside officials from lobbying the city.
Lightfoot’s proposed update would carve out an exception, allowing officials from other jurisdictions to lobby aldermen if they have no “legislative contractual matters” pending before the city.
But the measure hit a wall when Smith shelved the item instead of bringing it up for a vote in the ethics committee. The Lincoln Park alderman told the Tribune in July that she did not “personally support” the measure.
Acknowledging that the amendment to the ordinance appeared dead, the Chicago Board of Ethics announced earlier this month that it would give Flossmoor Village Trustee Gyata Kimmons — the only outside elected official currently registered as a lobbyist in Chicago — until Oct. 1 to either resign his public position, stop lobbying or face a fine from the ethics board.
However, following Ervin’s push to resurface the amendment, the ethics board will “stay enforcement of the law…until the City Council process plays itself out ,” board executive director Steve Berlin wrote in an email to The Daily Line.
Berlin added that the board will begin enforcing the rule if no action is taken on the amendment before November’s City Council meeting.
Ervin’s Tuesday letter to City Clerk Anna Valencia, obtained by The Daily Line, was at least the second time in the past year that the West Side alderman and chair of the council’s Black Caucus invoked Rule 41 to bypass a committee vote. In December, Ervin used the rule to advance a proposal (O2019-8063) to delay the legalization of cannabis in Chicago by six months.
The cannabis ordinance was eventually taken up by the council’s Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity, where it advanced on a 10-9 vote. However, aldermen the next day voted 29-19 to reject the item on the council floor.
The City Council voted that same day to approve the ban on cross-lobbying, two months after former State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) was arrested for allegedly trying to bribe a colleague on behalf of a sweepstakes operator. Arroyo was registered as a lobbyist in Chicago to advocate for the company.