Wednesday’s City Council meeting was jam packed with policy and
ordinance proposals. See Progress Illinois’ cheat sheet for an update:
Gun Ranges - Mayor Rahm Emanuel got an ordinance through the full committee that allows gun ranges in the city. Practicing at a range -- which previously meant a trip to the suburbs -- is part of the process in obtaining a permit. The ordinance will allow indoor ranges to set up shop in areas zoned for manufacturing and would require city and Chicago Police approval. Passing the ordinance lets the city get a hold on two related federal lawsuits that are pending.
Outdoor Dining Hours - The council OK’d a temporary measure to allow outdoor patios and rooftop gardens in the Central Business District to stay open until midnight, benefitting about 70 establishments in the area. The extension will expire Dec. 1 and was pushed by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward), who, with the Illinois Restaurant Association, says the rule will appease international tourists.
Wrigley Field - A two-night exception to Wrigley Field’s 30-night maximum for night events was passed ahead of Paul McCartney’s concerts scheduled to take place at the historic ballpark on July 31 and Aug. 1.
O’Hare Concessions - After much speculation of what the mayor will do, Emanuel re-introduced a proposal to give Westfield Concession Management the coveted contract at O’Hare Airport’s international terminal. UNITE-HERE, the union representing some workers who could lose their jobs under the contract, has already issued an analysis on the possible deal.
Revised Curfew - Public Safety Committee Chairman Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Ald. Toni Foulkes (15th Ward) and Ald. Lona Lane (18th Ward) -- all from the South Side -- are backing a proposal to revise curfew times for children under age 12 to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends. Currently, there is a sweeping 10 p.m. weekday and 11 p.m. weekend curfew for the 730,000 CHicago residents under the age of 17 year old. Advocates say young children need even stricter rules to be protected.
Boystown Police Unit - Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward) offered up an ordinance that would create a special police unit for the entertainment district on North Halsted Street in Boystown. The unit would be similar to the one that patrols bustling Rush Street. Tunney’s ward constituents say there has been a spike in violence.
Pedicab Regulation - Tunney also proposed an ordinance to regulate the 200 bike-taxis or "rickshaws" that circulate the city, including requiring insurance and inspection.
Vacant Property - Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) introduced an amendment to make banks responsible for maintenance in vacant buildings before the foreclosure process. Dowell previously wanted a broader ordinance to regulate abandoned property without much support. This time around, the mayor offered his support publicly at the meeting.
Crib Bumper Ban - Committee on Health and Environmental Protection chairman Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) proposed a ban on crib bumper pads. This comes after a Tribune investigation revealed that babies can suffocate while sleeping alongside the bedding products.
More Ethics Reform - The mayor introduced more ethics reform measures, most notably a comprehensive, real-time lobbyist disclosure database.