The Rundown: Lawsuits pour in over Illinois’ gun ban

Plus, the U.S. hits the debt ceiling tomorrow. Here’s what you need to know today.

The Rundown: Lawsuits pour in over Illinois’ gun ban

Plus, the U.S. hits the debt ceiling tomorrow. Here’s what you need to know today.

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Hey there! I’m sporting my new camouflage Crocs in the newsroom today because I am a very serious journalist who enjoys only the finest things in life. LOL, just kidding. I can’t wait to get home and read comic books. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. The Illinois Rifle Association files a federal lawsuit against the state’s assault weapons ban

Legal challenges are pouring in against Illinois’ new ban on the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, which critics say violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Illinois Rifle Association today filed a lawsuit in federal court, coming just days after a separate lawsuit was filed in a downstate county.

A third complaint was also filed today by Tom DeVore, a former candidate for Illinois attorney general who previously took Gov. JB Pritzker to court over his measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. [Chicago Sun-Times]

As my colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times have previously reported, legal experts say the state’s ban may not hold up in court.

That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court decided last year that judges can’t decide the constitutionality of gun laws based on concerns over public safety. [Chicago Sun-Times]

2. The U.S. will hit its debt limit tomorrow

The federal government tomorrow will reach the cap for how much money it can borrow to pay its bills, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who told Congress last week she will take “extraordinary measures” to cover existing obligations.

But those options are expected to be exhausted by this summer, setting up a fight between the Biden administration and House Republicans that threatens a global economic crisis, according to Wall Street analysts.

If a deal is not reached on raising the debt limit, the federal government would default on its obligations. And it’s unclear what, if anything, officials can do to prevent a disaster from occurring.

“There is no good plan,” Jack Lew, a former Treasury secretary during the Obama administration, told The New York Times. “It’s a more dangerous time than ever before to test it.” [New York Times]

3. The parents of 3-year-old Lily Shambrook hope their lawsuit improves safety for Chicago cyclists

The parents of a 3-year-old girl killed by a truck while riding on her mother’s bike are hoping their lawsuit will compel city officials to do more to make the city’s streets safer for cyclists, reports my colleague David Struett at the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Lily’s death was not an accident. The factors that led to her death were known problems, and they were preventable,” said Christina Whitehouse, founder of the advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising, at a press conference.

The lawsuit comes after a string of deadly pedestrian and bicycle crashes last year put a spotlight on the safety of Chicago’s roads. In response, the City Council raised the fine for parking in a bike lane to $250. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Today, Mayor Lightfoot proposed putting cameras on CTA buses to catch motorists blocking bike and bus lanes. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, last year’s deadly crashes have galvanized bike advocates as the city elections quickly approach.

“I think it is reaching a fever pitch now because Chicago’s cyclists, scooter riders are really beyond tired of seeing people they love get injured, get killed just going about their daily transportation,” said Ald. Daniel La Spata. [Chicago Tribune]

4. Lightfoot’s campaign spent twice as much as it raised in the final months of 2022

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign raised a little less than $1.5 million in October through December and spent about $3 million during that same time period, reports my colleague Fran Spielman at the Chicago Sun-Times, citing financial records filed with the Illinois Board of Elections.

That left Lightfoot’s campaign with about $1.4 million in the bank.

At the same time, mayoral challengers Brandon Johnson, Paul Vallas and Jesús “Chuy” García have closed the fundraising gap with Lightfoot.

“Johnson raised more money than anybody else in the final quarter of 2022 — $1.83 million — thanks to the generosity of the progressive unions that support him,” Spielman reports. [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. Want to drive the Wienermobile?

Chicago-based Oscar Mayer is hoping to hire 12 “Hotdoggers” to drive the company’s legendary Wienermobile across the nation for a year.

The gig comes with a base salary of $35,600, a $150 allowance for meals and personal travel, health care and 18 days off.

But the job sounds competitive.

“Less than 1% of candidates out of more than 2,000 applicants will be chosen,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Wienermobile drivers travel an average of about 20,000 miles to 200 events across 20 states in their one-year tenure, the company said. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Ukraine’s interior minister and about a dozen other people were killed in a helicopter crash. [AP]
  • Job cuts in the tech industry continued today with Microsoft laying off 10,000 workers over the next few months. [NPR]
  • Your spice drawer may be the germiest part of your kitchen, according to a new study. [Washington Post]
  • The world’s oldest person died Tuesday at age 118. [NPR]

Oh, and one more thing …

My husband and I play this game once a week that begins with, “Should we get another dog?” And then spend the rest of the night looking at dogs up for adoption in Chicago.

Turns out one animal shelter, PAWS Chicago, is reducing adoption fees for senior dogs in honor of beloved comedian Betty White, a known animal lover who died in 2021 at age 99.

“The Betty White Challenge Senior Pet Adoption event reduces adoption fees for senior dogs to as low as $101,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Tell me something good …

What are some ways you are making the most out of this winter? Are you trying anything new? Picking up hobbies?

Luis Narváez writes:

“Since I read the recent study by the University of Illinois that reading for leisure helps strengthen our memory as we get older, I’ve been visiting my local public library more often. I’m currently re-reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.”

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