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The Rundown: A major setback for Mayor Johnson

Good afternoon! I’m happy to report my dog Sassy has not killed any more rats in the last 24 hours. I’m guessing they got the message. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. What the possible defeat of Bring Chicago Home means for Johnson and progressives

Voters appear on track to reject a ballot measure championed by Mayor Brandon Johnson and progressives as a solution to homelessness, raising the potential of long-term consequences for a mayor who was elected less than a year ago.

If the Bring Chicago Home referendum does not get a significant boost from mail-in ballots that remain uncounted, Johnson and his allies would be forced to seek another revenue source to help fund services for the homeless, my colleague Fran Spielman reports.

And Johnson could be politically weakened as his critics become more emboldened.

“This is not the result we wanted,” Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who was instrumental in getting the measure on the ballot, said of last night’s election results. “We’re gonna have to take a real hard look at what happened and figure out how to move forward from here.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s a map showing how voters across Chicago responded to the ballot measure. [Chicago Sun-Times]

In other election news, the Democratic primary race for Cook County state’s attorney remains too close to call. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. Federal judges appear to be split over a Texas law to arrest and deport migrants

A federal appeals court today heard arguments over a controversial law in Texas that allows local authorities to enforce immigration laws, powers that have historically been reserved to the federal government.

A panel of three judges is considering whether the law can take effect while legal challenges go through the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week declined to block the law, allowing it to briefly go into effect. But a federal appeals court once again blocked the law. [New York Times]

Other Republican-led states, such as Iowa, are already looking to pass their own version of the Texas law. [AP]

The news comes as Texas has sent tens of thousands of migrants to Chicago. The head of Chicago Public Schools recently said more help is needed to support the nearly 6,000 migrant students who have entered the school system. [WBEZ]

3. Chicago sues gunmaker Glock

The city says the popular firearms maker ignored warnings that its handguns can be easily converted into machine guns, my colleague Frank Main reports.

Tiny devices called auto sears — or “switches” — can be affixed to handguns such as Glocks, allowing them to fire repeatedly with a single trigger pull.

The devices can cost less than $25 each and be bought online, marketed for other purposes like attachments for airsoft guns. They can even be manufactured at home on 3D printers.

In a Sun-Times investigation in 2022, lawmakers and gun control advocates warned about the proliferation of switches and said gun makers like Glock bore some of the responsibility to design its guns to be more resistant to conversion. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. The great cicada awakening this year could get awkward

For the first time in more than 200 years, two different groups of periodic cicadas will emerge at the same time. That means Illinois could see tens of millions of cicadas this year.

And things could get somewhat weird. New research shows the insects urinate in powerful streams and not droplets, as their size would suggest, NPR reports.

“Excretion in general is not very well understood,” said Elio Challita, the study’s lead author. “Cicadas are some of the smallest insects, to the best of our knowledge, that can form such jets at this small scale.”

Billions or even trillions of cicadas could emerge this year across the Midwest and South. [NPR]

5. A chihuahua’s love for a Hoffman Estates mail carrier attracts tens of thousands of followers

A chihuahua named Frannie cannot wait to greet mail carrier Dan Larsen every weekday morning, a sign of devotion that has attracted scores of fans on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Frannie, who is often dressed up for the occasion, runs down a driveway to meet Larsen and licks his face over and over again. One video of this daily ritual drew 16 million viewers, according to Lisa Laskey, Frannie’s owner.

“The greatest compliment I’ve received is that people know I’m not editing this to look like something,” Laskey said. “This is the real thing. You can’t make up this kind of love.”

Larsen, a dog lover, says he looks forward to seeing Frannie.

“Every time I see her, it’s like the very first time. It doesn’t get old,” Larsen said. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Biden administration announced new rules aimed at phasing out gas cars. [CNN]

  • Here’s what happens if former President Donald Trump can’t pay his $454 million bond. [NPR]

  • People aged 60 and older in the U.S. are happier than younger people. [NPR]

  • French bulldogs remain the most popular breed in the U.S. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

Organizers of this summer’s Paris Olympic Games will have 300,000 condoms available to residents of the Olympic Village, The Washington Post reports.

The move marks a reversal of an intimacy ban imposed during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when organizers were concerned about the spread of COVID-19.

Condoms have long been offered to athletes during the games. In 1988, about 8,500 condoms were handed out during the Seoul Olympics to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.

During the Rio Olympics, 450,000 condoms were provided, though some athletes speculated the vast majority would go unused.

“It’s not some sexualized cauldron of activity,” retired English Olympic rowing medalist Zac Purchase told the Guardian in 2016. “We’re talking about athletes who are focused on producing the best performance of their lives.” [Washington Post]

Tell me something good …

What’s something you’re excited to do this spring? (If you can’t think of anything, my colleague Courtney Kueppers put together this guide of noteworthy events going down this season.)

Terrence writes:

“I’m looking forward to just being outside and walking, seeing happy couples out, people laughing, parents with strollers, most importantly people laughing and enjoying themselves. Street fairs and block parties aren’t too far away!”

And Ann Doemland writes:

“I just love spring flowers. They lift my heart. Snowdrops are already gone after blooming almost a month. I already have three different types of daffodil blooming, with more types to come. Also a couple of small blue flowers — Siberian squills and glory-of-the-snow. And Lenten roses (not really roses, rather hellebores) with nodding flowers. All this much sooner than usual. Still to come are many glorious types of tulips. Most are in my front yard so that lots of people can rejoice in them.”

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

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