Top News

New laws at state, local level bring changes in 2017 employers should be mindful of, labor attorney says

Christopher Knoll Dec. 30, 2016, 11:56am

As the calendar flips to a new year, a host of new laws in Illinois and elsewhere will take effect, including a number of which employers should particularly be mindful.

Brunswick sues McNabola, clerk, alleges wrongful use of jury note cost them, trampled legal rights

Jonathan Bilyk Dec. 16, 2016, 7:15pm

Chicago lawyer Mark McNabola, already being sued by his ex-client - a man left paralyzed from a 2009 boating accident who claims the attorney’s use of jury note, improperly shared by a court clerk, cost him a $25 million settlement - has been hit with another lawsuit, this time from the yacht maker they had sued and who now allege the lawyer should also be made to pay for using the jury note to cost them a verdict from a jury poised to hand the company a courtroom win. The suit also names Cook C

Home Rules: Cook County suburbs mull if, how to respond to county's Chicago-style ordinances

Stephanie N. Grimoldby Dec. 13, 2016, 2:59pm

Cook County communities are weighing their options to respond to actions by the Cook County Board to impose ordinances, similar to those approved earlier this year in Chicago, to mandate paid sick leave and boost the minimum wage. The suburban communities believe the state constitution gives them the power to opt out, without challenging the county's constitutional authority to pass the ordinances in the first place.

Demolition of three Cook County Jail buildings will save taxpayers money, county says

Dawn Geske Dec. 9, 2016, 12:18am

In an effort to reduce the county's jail population and save Cook County and its taxpayers money, three buildings at the Cook County Jail will be demolished.

Home Rules: Cook County awaits challenges to authority to mandate paid sick leave, boost min wage

Stephanie N. Grimoldby Dec. 8, 2016, 4:54pm

Cook County has enacted ordinances, virtually identical to similar ordinances enacted earlier by the city of Chicago, requiring employers throughout the county provide paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage to employees. But did the county have the authority to do it? Opinions from the county's own State's Attorney's office said likely not.

Home Rules: Cook County echoes Chicago on paid sick leave, min wage, frustrating suburban communities

Stephanie N. Grimoldby Dec. 6, 2016, 10:36am

Cook County has enacted policies - first put into place by Chicago City Hall - mandating employers provide paid sick leave and sharply boosting the minimum wage. The changes have left many suburban communities and business leaders frustrated and concerned.

Voters OK absorption of Cook County Recorder's duties into Clerk's office, potentially saving millions

Cloreth Greene Nov. 23, 2016, 4:08pm

This past Election Day, Cook County voters chose to merge the Cook County Clerk’s Office and the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, a move supporters believe will result in cost savings and increased efficiency for taxpayers.

Voters OK'd term limits for their towns, but barriers make applying limits statewide difficult

Taryn Phaneuf Nov. 22, 2016, 6:34pm

On Election Day, four Cook County communities took action on an issue that many voters in Illinois want to see addressed on a much larger scale: term limits.

Taxing soda drinkers will produce new revenue, but may not produce hoped-for results

Marie Villa Nov. 16, 2016, 1:25pm

Cook County will be among the growing number of local governments across the country to slap a tax on sugary and sweetened beverages, after the Cook County Board signed off on a proposal introduced by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to impose a special tax on those drinks as part of the county's new budget. But the tax may not necessarily produce the kinds of results sought by supporters, including reduced obesity rates and enhanced revenues, according to an analysis from The Tax Fo

New sick leave ordinance will take effect next year in Cook County; employers face litigation risk

Dawn Geske Oct. 25, 2016, 1:09pm

Cook County has approved an ordinance giving employees in the county the right to accrued sick leave and the ability to use it as necessary, as well as to sue employers who don't abide by the rules.

November referendum looks at idea of moving Orland Township out of Cook County

Dawn Geske Oct. 20, 2016, 9:07pm

A referendum on the November ballot will let residents of Orland Township explore whether the township and its communities should secede from Cook County, and decide what kind of message they want to send to Cook County leaders about the state of the county.

Cook County launches health program for uninsured residents; expects to pay for it from cost savings

Kristin Danley-Greiner Oct. 6, 2016, 12:44am

Cook County has unveiled a new program officials say will help thousands of uninsured county residents afford health care, providing eligible residents access to primary and specialty care through the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS).

7th Circuit appeals judges lift injunction blocking Illinois Election Day voter registration program

Jonathan Bilyk Oct. 4, 2016, 5:53pm

Saying the law imposes only a “minimal inconvenience" on voters living in low population counties who wish to register to vote on Election Day when compared to the benefits of expanding voting opportunities in counties with more people, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has asked a federal appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s block of a state law allowing Election Day voter registration at polling places in Cook County and other Illinois counties in which more than 100,000 people liv

Judge slaps down Illinois Election Day voter registration system, saying it dilutes rural citizens' rights

Jonathan Bilyk Sep. 27, 2016, 12:41pm

A federal judge has prohibited Illinois’ most populated counties from continuing to register voters at polling places on Election Day, saying the way the system is currently set up in the state violates the rights of people voting in Illinois’ more rural regions.

Chicago boat tour company asks court to rule Cook County can't tax its river, lake tours

Dan Churney Aug. 29, 2016, 11:16am

A Chicago tour boat company is asking a Cook County circuit judge to rule a Cook County administrative law judge was right to say the county can’t apply an amusement tax on the company’s Chicago River and Lake Michigan boat tours, but to find the administrative law judge did so for the wrong reason – a move which could also spell taxing trouble for the operators of Chicago’s walking tours. 

TIF revenue up in Chicago, but it may not be helping where needed most, clerk's report says

Carrie Salls Aug. 8, 2016, 8:52pm

Revenue collected in the city of Chicago's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts will increase 23.9 percent this year, according to a report recently issued by Cook County Clerk David Orr. But it appears that failing neighborhoods that need revitalization the most are not seeing as much benefit from TIF, relative to areas that are already thriving.

Infrastructure council applauds Cook County's 25-year transportation plan

Taryn Phaneuf Aug. 6, 2016, 1:41pm

CHICAGO —  With the introduction of a long-range transportation plan, Cook County officials have outlined priorities for the county that will impact local decisions, as well as plans across the region.

Cook County's predatory lending actions vs big banks on hold as Supreme Court takes up similar case

Jonathan Bilyk Jul. 29, 2016, 4:46pm

Cook County’s lawsuits against three of the country’s biggest banks over claims of predatory discriminatory lending targeted at minorities have been put on hold as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on an appeal brought by two of the banks, challenging the ability of local municipal governments, like Cook County, to sue under federal law.

Ideas to reduce Cook County elected officials to save money, boost effectiveness, not going away

Taryn Phaneuf Jul. 28, 2016, 1:19am

While some ideas are moving ahead and others are on the backburner, the concept of reducing the number of the county's elected offices remains a hot topic in Cook County, as supporters believe the reforms could both save money and make the local government more effective by installing the best people for the job, rather than the most popular.

Preliminary budget for Cook County indicates possible tax hikes ahead

Dawn Geske Jul. 18, 2016, 5:36pm

CHICAGO – Cook County has released the preliminary forecast for its 2017 fiscal year budget, signaling that tough times and tax hikes may lie ahead for the county.