Newsletter - February 2023

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Happy Birthday

Cook County League

LWVCC was founded 103 years ago on February 14th as a source for newly franchised women voters to be informed about their local governments. That mission to serve all voters in Cook County continues.

The Cook County League will have its annual meeting in person the second week of May. Cameron Davis, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, is our speaker. Details to follow in newsletters and on our web site.

Join a LWVCC Interest Group

The Safe-T act is on hold.

Municipal Elections Feb. 28 & April 4

In Memoriam: Laurence Msall

Laurence Msall, as president of the Civic Federation, was a partner to LWVCC in advocating for financial integrity and transparency in Cook County Government. His untimely passing is a significant loss but inspired by his dedication we will continue to keep up the good work. LWVCC extends its condolences to the Msall family and to the Civic Federation.

LWVCC Interest Groups

Members of Cook County Leagues come together to study

and advocate 

The League Interest Groups are:

  • Cook County & MWRD Governments Group
  • Cook County Health Group
  • Criminal Justice Group
  • Forest Preserve Group 

In addition to these groups, members of the 13 Local Leagues can also get involved with our Observer Corps and Voter Service Committee. To find out more, see the Interest Group Pages on our website or contact us at i[email protected]

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Observers

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) is a little-known governmental entity with a huge impact on the lives of Cook County residents. MWRD is responsible for:

  • Wastewater management
  • Stormwater management and flood control
  • Watershed planning

The MWRD’s service area encompasses almost all of Cook County including Chicago, and it serves 129 communities. It treats over 1.4 billion gallons of wastewater per day. It is also responsible for stormwater management and flood control through proper watershed regulations, watershed planning and local and regional projects including: massive reservoirs, miles of stream improvements, underground retention [aka “Deep Tunnel”], permeable parking lots, alleys, and schoolyards, and the removal of thousands of yards of debris from local streams.

LWVCC Observers attend (in person or virtually) the MWRD Board meetings and their study sessions that deal with specific issues. Reports on the meetings are then published on the Cook County League Website to inform both League members and the public about the issues and action of the MWRD.


One of the current issues is the monitoring of “forever chemicals” (PFAS) found in our wastewater.  The MWRD is investigating the sources of the discharge and pursuing legislation and regulation to reduce and eliminate the discharge at its source.

The MWRD Observers are part of the Cook County and MWRD Interest Group that concentrates on governmental operations and transparency. If you would like to be an observer and join the effort of informing the public about the MWRD contact Diane Edmundson.

Cook County & MWRD Governments

Interest Group

New Name - Same Focus

Cook County & MWRD Governments Interest Group is the new name of what has formerly been known as “Budget & Structure.” The prior name came from the original two studies (the Cook County budget process and the structure of the government of Cook County government) that helped to revive and re-energize the Cook County League in the mid-2000s.


But while the Group still observes the budget process and structure, among other things, the members felt the name did not accurately reflect the focus of the Group, which expanded several years ago to also include the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The Group is in the process of setting up meetings with the new Board Commissioners at both governments, and in an “overview” of the Cook County League, the work of the Group is described as follows:


Cook County & MWRD Governments Group monitors, examines, and takes action where appropriate regarding Cook County government and the MWRD, fostering transparency and improvements in their operations.


Criminal Justice Interest Group

The SAFE-T Act is on hold until the Illinois Supreme Court can decide its future. A hearing by a circuit court judge in Kankakee decided in favor of the 60 counties that sued to stop this law. There was some initial confusion during the last week of 2022. Some officials in the counties that did NOT sue (such as Cook) were set to go ahead with the new law (especially the elimination of monetary bond). But the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that separate rules for separate counties was not equal justice. They ordered the hold. Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed his brief outlining the constitutionality of the legislation. Amicus briefs (friend of the court briefs) have also been filed in favor of the law. The LWVIL was a signatory to one of those briefs. The other side has until mid February to respond. Oral Arguments are set for sometime in March. Legal experts expect a decision by late May or early June, before the summer recess.

Meanwhile, our interest group continues to meet every other month and have book discussions in between. Our next book to be discussed is "Gun Fight" by Ryan Busse. Please join us online for what will certainly be a lively discussion at 9AM on Feb. 24th. If you are not a member of our group and would like to receive a link to our discussion, please contact Jan Goldberg. Our next regular meeting is set for Mar. 21st at 9am. We hope to have oral arguments to discuss by then!

Forest Preserve Interest Group

The LWVCC Forest Preserve Interest Group would like to make you aware of this upcoming opportunity.

The Wild Things 2023 Conference -  invites nature enthusiasts from across Illinois and beyond to learn about the flora, fauna, and natural history of the Prairie State! Sponsored by the Friends of Illinois Nature Preserves.

Saturday, February 25, 2023 | 9am-6pm

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center

Rosemont, IL

Register here

LWVCC Observer Highlights

LWVCC observes and reports on board and committee meetings of Cook County government entities to provide our members with an understanding of current issues. To read more: LWVCC Observer Reports


February 8, 2023- The Cook County Finance Committee-

 Cook County received a promised guaranteed income pilot status report. This 24-month guaranteed income pilot is funded through AARPA. 3,250 households are receiving $500 a month for 24 months. There is a control group made up of households eligible, but not accepted. Payments began December, 2022. All the participants are eligible for financial counseling.

January 19, 2023-MWRD (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District)- The commissioners adopted criteria for leasing district lands, paying close attention to environmental concerns. As the second largest landowner in Cook County, the MWRD receives $25 million per year in income from land leasing.

December 13, 2022-The Forest Preserve of Cook County increased funding for the Conservation Corps program. The program provides participants with paid, field-based ecological restoration experience. The Board also approved funding for the summer youth employment program and Chicago Conservation Corps “gap year” program.

Municipal Elections

Tuesday Feb 28

Tuesday April 4

For more information, check your local League website and the Illinois Voter Guide.

Suburban Cook County

Tuesday Feb 28

Dolton, Riverdale, and Harvey will have primary elections

Tuesday April 4

Consolidated elections for the many different governmental bodies (such as municipal, school district, library, park district, townships)

More Registration and Voting Information

Cook County Clerk Website


Tuesday Feb 28

Initial election for Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, and Alders in each of the 50 wards. To avoid a run-off on April 4, the top vote-getter must receive at least 50% plus 1 of the total votes for that office. ·        In addition -- new this year – Police District Council Members are to be elected (3 from each of 22 police districts); the top 3 vote-getters in each district will win. 

Tuesday April 4

Runoff elections of the top 2 vote-getters on Feb. 28 as necessary.

More Registration and Voting Information

Chicago Board of Elections Website

See the Voter Info Page on our website

Be an election judge

Help make democracy work

Suburban Cook County See the Clerk's Website

City of Chicago

See the Board of Elections Website

Local League Upcoming Events

Tues. Feb. 21, 6-7 pm in-person and virtual

LWV of Chicago

 Chicago in Focus: Gun Violence Prevention

Virtual OR In-Person at the Union League Club of Chicago

Join us to discuss a public health approach to violence prevention with Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart and Sara Knizhnik, Chair of Lake County's Gun Violence Prevention Initiative. Register.

Wed. Feb.22 Springfield, IL.

LWV of Chicago

Coalition for Plastic Reduction Lobby Day

Join in the fun of meeting with your state representative and senator in Springfield to garner support and co-sponsors for a ban on polystyrene foam foodware (takeout containers, cups, egg cartons, etc). Learn more.


2022-2023 Cook County League Board Members 

OFFICERS: President: Cynthia Schilsky, LaGrange Area; Vice-Presidents: Pris Mims, Chicago, Kathi Graffam, LaGrange Area; Secretary: Carolyn Cosentino, Homewood/Flossmoor; Treasurer: Nancy Clark, Oak Park/River Forest.

Board membersLaura Davis, Palatine; Diane Edmundson, Chicago; Jan Goldberg, LaGrange Area ; Georgia Gebhardt, Wilmette; Betty Hayford, Evanston; Karin Hribar, Arlington Heights


The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization whose mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government; to increase understanding of major policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to anyone regardless of gender, race, or ethnic group.


League of Women Voters of Cook County

332 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 634, Chicago, IL 60604

312-939-5935 x127