There's been a lot of discussion about Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's agenda for Chicago over the last few days. But it's worth remembering that the new mayor won't be the only one setting the legislative tone in City Council once that body is finally set. Here's a reminder about a few of the major bills that the current crop of aldermen have already introduced into City Council:
- The Sweet Home Chicago Ordinance, which seeks to steer more tax increment financing dollars toward affordable housing and foreclosure mitigation projects, has been whipsawed in the council since 2009, and may be up for further consideration in March.
- Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) introduced the Procurement Review Ordinance (PDF) in October of last year, a bill that would require the
city's chief procurement officer to send all contracts worth more than $500,000 to the council's
Committee on Finance for review before those contracts are awarded.
- Third Ward Ald. Pat Dowell has crafted
legislation to strengthen the city's existing vacant property ordinance by expanding the definition of "ownership" to include
banks, financial institutions, or mortgage servicers who have initiated
the process of foreclosure on a home. That would force the banks to
register the properties (for a fee) with the city and maintain the lot
so as to prevent both plummeting property tax rates and rising crime.
- Earlier this month, aldermen introduced two labor-related legislative efforts. The "Stable Jobs Stable Airports
Ordinance" (PDF), which Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward) is shepherding, would remake labor relations for concession employees at O'Hare and Midway airports. Munoz also has offered up a resolution calling for council members and Chicago's mayor to craft a new set of
guidelines to ensure that contractors using public funds comply with
applicable employment law and give their workers a fair shake.
- Pro-Daley aldermen have not even allowed the Clean Power Ordinance, a bill that would let the city use its home rule authority to set new emission standards for two coal-fired plants in Chicago, to even come up for an official committee hearing.
Taken together, these five ordinances (and one resolution) show that there's a pretty robust policy agenda already on the table in City Hall.