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The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Non-binding Marijuana Referendum Set for March

Keep track of your elected officials in this week’s Citizen Bulletin.
Hyde Parker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, here dressed as the Statue of Liberty in Hyde Park’s Fourth of July Parade, supported a December measure that put the issue of recreational marijuana on Cook County’s primary ballots.

UCDI Citizen Bulletin for November 20 2017–January 7 2018

Good morning. Our highlights from this week include: The Cook County Board voted to include an advisory referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana on Cook County primary ballots; Governor Rauner received criticism for his handling of a lethal Legionnaires’ outbreak in the state-run Quincy Veterans’ Home; President Trump signed the GOP tax reform plan into law amid controversy over its effects on the deficit and on income inequality.


Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) ~ call your alderman! (773) 324-5555

  • Dec 13—Voted in favor of a $31 million settlement from the city to four black males for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment on charges of rape and murder

Alderman Willie Cochran (20th Ward) ~ call your alderman! (773) 955-5610   

  • [No News]*

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) ~ call your mayor! (312) 744-3300

  • Dec 8—Defended ex-CPS CEO Forrest Claypool’s actions in covering up an ethics investigation
  • Dec 13—Attributed the upcoming 25 cent increase in bus and train fare to a $33 million cut to state funding for the CTA
  • Dec 26—Announced plans to prevent the buildup of potentially dangerous Manganese dust from two material handling facilities on the city’s southeast side
  • Jan 4—Stated that “at least” five ambulances will be added to the Chicago emergency response fleet


  • Dec 13—Voted to include an advisory referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana on Cook County primary ballots

President Toni Preckwinkle ~ call your Cook County board president! (312) 603-6400

  • Dec 29—Announced, in conjunction with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, that Cook County has filed a lawsuit against leading pharmaceutical companies over their role in the ongoing opioid crisis
  • Jan 5—Laid off more Cook County employees to offset revenue loss from the repeal of the sweetened beverage tax; 77 Cook County employees have been let go in the past month


Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D–25th District) ~ call your state rep! (773)-667-0550

  • Nov 29—Led the first meeting of the Sexual Harassment Task Force, created last year to address a series of harassment allegations within the legislature

Senator Kwame Raoul (D–13th District) ~ call your state senator! (773) 363-1996

  • Dec 1—Sponsored legislation to end state participation in the “crosscheck” voter verification tool used to prevent invalid votes, citing cybersecurity concerns
  • Dec 13—Confirmed his spot on the 2018 ballot for Illinois Attorney General
  • Dec 15—Urged for an investigation into the deaths of 13 veterans in the state-run Quincy Veterans’ Home, following revelations about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the facility

 Governor Bruce Rauner (R–IL) ~ call your governor! (312)-814-2121

  • Dec 11—Called for the resignation of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, following an investigation by the Chicago Tribune alleging that certain, “politically connected” property-owners were able to reduce their tax assessments
  • Dec 13—Signed a bill intended to reduce fraudulent opioid prescriptions by mandating the use of the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program, a database that tracks prescription histories across pharmacies and doctors
  • Dec 29—Vetoed a bill meant to expand in-home service for the elderly, arguing the legislation would reduce quality service to those with disabilities
  • Jan 3—Criticized the Republican federal tax reform plan passed in December, calling it “punishing” for Illinois, highlighting the plan’s cap on state and local tax deductions
  • Jan 4—Resided temporarily at the state-run Quincy Veterans’ Home, following revelations about a Legionella bacteria outbreak that killed 13 at the facility


Representative Bobby Rush (D–IL1) ~ call your representative! (773) 779-2400

  • Nov 27—Ordered by a court to pay $1.1 million to settle a loan on behalf of a now-defunct Englewood church, which he had founded and financed in order to revitalize the community
  • Dec 4—Filed to run reelection for what would be his 14th term in office

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D–IL) ~ call your senator! (312) 886-3506

  • Nov 27—Announced, along with Senator Dick Durbin, a $9 million federal grant to expand broadband access in central Illinois
  • Dec 8—Endorsed, along with Senator Durbin, fellow Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s bid for governor
  • Dec 18—Introduced, along with Senator Mazie Hirono, the Korematsu-Takai Civil Liberties Protection Act, which intends to prevent human rights violations similar to the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans in World War II
  • Dec 19—Joined every single House and Senate Democrat in voting against the GOP tax bill

Senator Dick Durbin (D–IL) ~ call your senator! (312) 353-4952

  • Dec 12—Criticized the FCC plan to reverse the Open Internet Order of 2015, widely termed as “net neutrality”
  • Jan 3—Called on Republicans in Congress to vote on the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would secure a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States
  • Jan 4—Urged DOJ to scrutinize the Sinclair-Tribune merger, which he has strongly opposed in the past
  • Jan 5—Visited the Quincy Veterans’ Home to investigate living conditions after the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak there, challenging Governor Rauner to improve conditions

President Donald Trump (R) ~ call your president! (202) 456-1414

  • Nov 20—Ended a humanitarian program that allowed 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United states since the 2012 earthquake in Haiti
  • Dec 6—Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated plans to move the US embassy to that city, a controversial declaration amidst the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Dec 22—Signed a bill enacting the GOP tax reform plan, the first major tax overhaul in over 30 years, amid concerns about its effects on the deficit and on income inequality
  • Jan 3—Signed an executive order to disband his controversial voter fraud commision
  • Jan 4—Repealed, through an action of the DOJ, an Obama-era marijuana policy that prevented federal agents from enforcing marijuana laws in states where the drug had been legalized

*The Citizen Bulletin research process involves searching for press releases from the elected representatives, Google News stories, and any Twitter and Facebook posts. If no information is displayed in the Citizen Bulletin, then our research process turned up nothing new from this past week.

The Citizen Bulletin is a product of the University of Chicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI). UCDI is proudly supported by Andrew Goodman Foundation’s nonpartisan Vote Everywhere project. In addition to the UCDI website, you can find past versions of the bulletin here. For news closer to campus, subscribe to the twice weekly newsletter produced by our partners at the Chicago Maroon.

To learn more about the UChicago Democracy Initiative, please visit

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