Author:

Zachary Mauer

Chicago Negotiating ComEd Franchise Agreement Amidst Bribery Investigation

The current franchise agreement between the City of Chicago and Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”) was signed in 1992 by Mayor Daley and is set to expire at end of 2020. Since 1990, ComEd has generated approximately $60.7 billion in revenue in Chicago alone. In July 2020, Chicago officials announced the results of a feasibility study regarding a potential municipal takeover of ComEd’s electric utility infrastructure. In the same month, ComEd executives admitted to having orchestrated an eight-year bribery scheme where they made payments to Public Official A, later revealed as Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, in return for political favors.  

Chicago City Council Passes Ordinance Banning Flavored Vaping Products

In response to the rise in teenage vaping, and given the link between respiratory issues and COVID-19, the Chicago City Council (“City Council”) passed an ordinance on September 9, 2020 banning the sale of flavored vaping products. Flavored vaping products are targeted to youth and can also mislead them to believe that flavored products are safer than other tobacco products. The City Council originally proposed banning all flavored nicotine products, but after pressure from small business owners, they decided to only pursue a ban on flavored vaping products.

The Future of Police Accountability in Chicago

In the wake of mass protests across the country, many cities are grappling with how to hold their police accountable.  In Chicago, the Committee on Public Safety has been debating two proposals, the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) and the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), for the past few months. Both ordinances would supersede the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) with a fully elected board of community members. The key difference between the two proposals is that CPAC would be independent of the mayor’s office and would have complete hiring and firing control of Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers and the police superintendent, while the GAPA ordinance would only give the board power to make recommendations to the mayor and the police superintendent. The Chicago City Council will debate and vote on these ordinances in the coming months.