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The Rundown: Illinois tackles wages for tipped workers

Good afternoon! I’m on the second season of The Sopranos and I can’t get over how much Uncle Junior looks like Larry David. Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.

1. Illinois lawmakers seek to end the subminimum wage for tipped workers

Restaurant servers, bartenders and other tipped workers would see their base wages increase under a proposal being pushed by progressives in the Illinois State Capitol, my colleague Tina Sfondeles reports.

The plan would phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers over two years. And it comes after the Chicago City Council passed a similar measure in October.

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $14 an hour, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is $8.40 per hour. One Fair Wage, an organization pushing for the end of the subminimum wage, says the median wage of tipped workers in Illinois is $27,210 a year.

The Illinois Restaurant Association is staunchly opposed to the newest tipped worker state proposal, arguing it would hurt “smaller, family-run and minority-owned businesses the most.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. The mayor of Orland Park rejects a Gaza cease-fire resolution, telling supporters to ‘go to another country’

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau faces growing criticism for suggesting those who disagree with the Biden administration’s position on the Israel-Hamas war can “go to another country,” my colleague Emmanuel Camarillo reports.

“The notion that Americans who disagree with an official should pack up and leave to another country is more befitting of the 1960s Soviet Union, rather than of the United States where freedom of expression and conscience is a founding principle of this country and its constitution,” Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.

The southwest suburbs, including Orland Park, are home to a large Palestinian community. A recent WBEZ analysis found more Palestinians live in Cook County than any other U.S. county.

Pekau, a Republican, previously led a challenge to COVID-19 mandates during the pandemic and has resisted bringing migrants to the village. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Protesters are allowed to march to the United Center during the Democratic National Convention

A Philadelphia group called the Poor People’s Army was granted a permit to march nearly right up to the United Center’s front doors due to a technicality, my colleague David Struett reports.

An administrative judge this week allowed the group’s march because the city failed to respond to the application within its own 10-day deadline.

The judge’s ruling comes as city officials have worked hard to contain demonstrations and protests so they don’t upstage the Democratic National Convention in August.

The march is planned for Aug. 19 from Humboldt Park to the “public sidewalk in front of the United Center” on Madison Street, according to the application.

But a city spokesperson said the permit for the march does not take into account “federal restrictions that may be implemented during the DNC.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. A purported cyberattack has kept systems down at Lurie Children’s Hospital for more than a week

All phone, email and electronic systems have been offline since Jan. 31 as part of the hospital’s cyberattack protocols.

It’s unclear when the systems might be back up. The hospital said it has taken steps to prevent disruptions to the care of patients.

A cybersecurity expert told WTTW News the attack on the prominent children’s hospital could be the work of a sophisticated hacker.

“I absolutely guarantee you Lurie has very good backup systems,” Stel Valavanis, CEO of onShore Security, told WTTW.

“I absolutely guarantee you that they’re a mature organization, they’re well-funded. If an attacker was able to really take down their systems like this, this was a pretty deep infiltration. They were probably up against somebody pretty significant.” [WTTW]

5. The Chicago Auto Show returns to McCormick Place on Saturday

And this year’s exhibition will put electric vehicles in the spotlight, featuring a record number of EV manufacturers that include Tesla, my colleague Audrey Hettleman reports.

“The 10-day event, which organizers tout as the largest auto show in the country at 750,000 square feet, will feature almost 1,000 vehicles and hundreds of thousands of square feet of test-driving tracks,” Hettleman writes.

The Auto Show will also feature three indoor test tracks and three outdoor “ride-and-drives.”

Other highlights include Honda’s Motocompacto, a portable electric scooter, and a slate of supercars from luxury brands. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow over whether former President Donald Trump is eligible to run again. [USA Today]

  • Senate Democrats will shift their focus to Israel and Ukraine aid after Republicans blocked a bipartisan border deal. [NPR]

  • “None of these candidates” won the most votes in Nevada’s GOP primary, dealing another blow to Nikki Haley. [NPR]

  • A photo of a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg won a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

You might want to bookmark this story if the news gives you a lot of anxiety.

NPR today features four “stress resets,” courtesy of Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist who recently wrote a book on dealing with anxiety.

Among Taitz’s tips is putting on a half smile when you really feel stressed.

“If you’re sitting in a lot of traffic, clenching your hands on the steering wheel and tensing your face, that’s not going to help you accept what is happening,” Taitz told NPR. “But if you can soften your face, you’re more likely to make peace” with your situation.

Sounds like I’ll be half smiling at work. [NPR]

Tell me something good ...

Valentine’s Day is coming up. And that’s got me thinking: What do you love about the Chicago area?

Paul G. writes:

“The view of the skyline on a clear night while driving down Lake Shore Drive from either the south (the better view) or the north. While I live on the North Side, I used to teach in Hyde Park and after a long day teaching and coaching, seeing the skyline in all its glory really made the first part of the trip home bring a smile to my face.”

And Laura Brown writes:

“What I love about Chicago is the Chicago Marathon! We are lucky to be the home city to one of the world’s top and most beloved marathons. I have run the race five times.

“The course is amazing, weaving in and out of so many different neighborhoods. The spectators are second to none! The whole city seems to come together to cheer on the runners, many of whom travel from other parts of the world to be here.

“Running the Chicago Marathon is an experience that is surreal and unforgettable!”

Feel free to email me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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