Free college, universal preschool, gun control / Flush with data / One of our guys

Free college, universal preschool, gun control. Gov. Pritzker’s visionary second-term inaugural speech lays out an ambitious and historically progressive agenda.
Read it here; see it here.
Surprise headliner at the inauguration gala: Bruno Mars, singing “I wanna be a billionaire so f***ing bad.”

‘We are making Illinois’ gun laws a model for the nation.’ Pritzker’s big day brought news of a win: A statewide assault weapons ban—including a provision that present owners report details to state police—is headed from the Senate back to the House.
The guy Pritzker beat, Darren Bailey, on Twitter: “I’ll die on my front porch before anyone takes my guns away.”
Vox: “Want to own a gun that fires nine bullets every second? A federal appeals court just said it’s legal.”

Sure, sure, whatever you say. The parent company of Sterigenics says a $408 million settlement of more than 870 lawsuits accusing its defunct Willowbrook facility of exposing residents to carcinogenic ethylene oxide is “not to be construed as an admission of any liability.”
The families of three women who died in a sweltering Rogers Park apartment building during Chicago’s May heatwave will get $16 million from the owners.
Some rare good news on the environment: The ozone layer is getting better.

Flush with data. A new website gives researchers and the public access to data about Illinois’ COVID-19 levels in wastewater.
Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina: Wastewater samples suggest “there’s a lot of airplanes with COVID-19.”
First Aid Kit’s big tip to follow before Jan. 15 if you signed up for a 2023 Obamacare health insurance plan: “Double-check to make sure ‘in-network’ docs are really in-network. Like, call them. Today.”

Vaping crackdown. Concerned about rising use among teenagers, a Chicago City Council committee has advanced a plan to require city licenses for stores that make more than 20% of their revenue from the sale of “electronic cigarette products, accessories or liquid nicotine products.”
Columnist Eric Zorn: Disgraced ex-Ald. Joe Moreno, now seeking office again, deserves a second chance—but not as a City Council member.
WBEZ surveys the field of candidates on the ballot next month—and their potential to transform Chicago government.

‘For a bit … we’ll just be a bar.’ Chicago’s celebrated but controversy-embroiled (Dec. 21 link) music venue The Hideout reopens tonight—for now, minus entertainment.
The Hideout has made it to Axios Chicago readers’ “Elite 8” for Best Chicago Music Venues.

‘I think it’s fantastic.’ Poppycock-peddling Republican Rep. George Santos is delighted by new House rules weakening the Office of Congressional Ethics—under whose scrutiny he falls.
One Democratic representative condemns the rules package as “a ransom note to America” …
 … but those rules also weaken Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Esquire’s Charlie Pierce “The new majority … set about establishing that its proceedings would be conducted strictly under Robbers Rules of Order.” (Cartoon commentary: Tom Tomorrow at The Nib.)
Republicans’ first bill in control of the new house would slash funding for the IRS …
 … a move that The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget warns would embolden tax cheaters.

One of our guys. Chicago U.S. Attorney John Lausch is leading the Justice Department investigation into a bunch of classified documents found in one of Joe Biden’s pre-presidential offices. (Update, Jan. 12, 6:05 p.m.: Not.)
Although Donald Trump’s trying to make hay of the discovery, a national security lawyer says this isn’t like Trump’s hoarding.
Daily Beast: Trump’s lawsuit against CNN reveals that he hates being compared to Hitler.

Reasons to be fearful. Insider: The UK’s defense ministry says Russia’s withholding its most advanced fighter jets from Ukrainian airspace because it’s afraid they’ll get embarrassingly shot down.
Counterprotesters jammed the streets of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo yesterday demanding retribution against the Jan. 6-style rioters who stormed Brazil’s capital.
A day after praising his Brazilian counterparts, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander was allowed back on Twitter by Elon Musk.

Square mailbag. Reader Amy Parker writes about yesterday’s edition: “I have to object to labeling the so-called ‘Freedom Caucus’ as ‘conservatives’ … [which] gives them a veneer of respectability that they do not deserve, and misleads the voting public about their intentions and ideology. If you look up the definition of conservatism, they do not meet a single descriptor. I’ve been using R-Fascist, which never gets old.”
Yesterday’s Square got wrong the state in which a 6-year-old shot a 25-year-old teacher: It was Virginia, as Sheila Solomon noted.

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