The Spin: Pritzker not ready to say he’s running for reelection | Governor signs remap legislation into law | Sale prices fall at Trump Tower properties, including Chicago

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It’s a beautiful summerlike Friday capping the end of a holiday week — and that can only mean one thing: politicians making news they’d just as soon float into the ether of the weekend.

The Tribune’s Rick Pearson has the details here: “Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who as a candidate vowed to veto any partisan drawn redistricting plan for the legislature, signed into law Friday new Democratic-drawn districts for the General Assembly and state Supreme Court designed to maintain his party’s control in Illinois.”

This is the “first redrawing of Illinois Supreme Court boundaries since they were established in 1964, a move by Democrats to try to maintain their 4-3 majority on the state’s highest court,” Pearson notes.

Meantime, the governor is injecting some mystery into his widely expected run for a second term in 2022.

He’s telling reporters he hasn’t quite made up his mind, even though his recent news conferences sound a lot like stump speeches, complete with his list of accomplishments framed around how the state is much better off than under the leadership of GOP predecessor Bruce Rauner, whom Pritzker handily defeated in 2018.

For their part, Republicans are trying to poke holes in Pritzker’s resume and his reputation, questioning, “How can we trust him?” as they tick off a list of complaints about both him and the Democrats in the General Assembly.

The Tribune’s Rick Pearson, Dan Petrella and Bill Ruthhart take a closer look at the GOP strategy in as the next election approaches.

And bargain hunters are swooping in to take advantage of falling prices in Trump buildings across the country — including the one in Chicago, The Associated Press reports. Brokers point to the former president’s polarizing image and the COVID-19 pandemic as contributing factors.

An AP review of 4,000-plus transactions over the past 15 years in 11 Trump-branded buildings in Chicago and elsewhere “found prices for some condos and hotel rooms available for purchase have dropped by one-third or more,” the outlet writes. Full story here.

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Pritzker signs Democratic-drawn legislative, Supreme Court maps into law

Gov. J.B. Pritzker today completed the once-a-decade redrawing of the state’s legislative districts today. The remap coincides with the release of census results in order to assure representation that reflects population shifts. It’s a highly political task, given the party in power — in this case the Democrats — hold the pen.

Pearson explains the “new maps, aimed at further enshrining Republicans as a superminority in the General Assembly, set up at least seven one-on-one contests of House GOP incumbents pitted against each other based upon where their homes are located.”

“Pritzker also signed into law the first redrawing of Illinois Supreme Court boundaries since they were established in 1964, a move by Democrats to try to maintain their 4-3 majority on the state’s highest court,” Pearson writes.

“Democrats contended the move to redraw the boundary lines for the Supreme Court districts was an attempt to reflect decadeslong changes in population which resulted in a largely collar county district having more than 3.1 million people while two Downstate districts each had a population of about 1.2 million.

“But the population imbalance had lasted for years, and the Democrats’ move came after Democrat Thomas Kilbride of Rock Island last year became the first Supreme Court justice to ever lose a retention election to remain on the court.”

The governor also signed into law new boundaries for the Cook County Board of Review whose three members are elected to review tax assessment complaints from property owners. More here.

Pritzker not quite ready to say he’s running for reelection

The speculation in Democratic circles — and Republican ones, too — is that it’s not a question of if but, rather, when Gov. Pritzker will announce he’s running for a second term.

But in an interview with the Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton he said: “I have not (decided to run), I’m talking to my family about that, and I promise you there will be some decision about that shortly.”

He offered the same comments to other reporters as he made the media rounds yesterday. But there were hints that he was edging ever closer to a bid.

WTTW-Ch. 11′s Amanda Vinicky reports, too, that he was critical of the three Republicans running to be the party’s nominee for governor.

Indeed, Pritzker has room to be critical of potential foes — and even confident. Right now, Republicans lack a credible big-name challenger with the money to drive attacks against the billionaire Pritzker, the Tribune’s Pearson, Petrella and Ruthhart write in a different story.

The three GOP hopefuls include suburban businessman Gary Rabine and two Downstaters, state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo.

A matter of trust? Illinois Republicans find a message against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, but lack the money and challenger to deliver it to voters.

But the GOP isn’t leaving things to chance. They’re cranking up the rhetoric ahead of the election by raising questions about Pritzker’s trustworthiness. It’s a tactic used regularly in campaign politics.

As Rick Pearson, Dan Petrella and Bill Ruthhart write in their deep dive: “Illinois Republicans may have been shut out on the key issues in the General Assembly’s spring session, but they did find a unifying theme as the party tries to make its case against Pritzker, who’s up for reelection next year.

“‘How can we trust him?’ asked Senate Republican leader Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods at one of the many news conferences the out-of-power GOP held to deliver a litany of grievances about Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers.”

Republicans offered a pair of examples from the recently concluded session in support of that “trust” concept: “Pritzker agreed to Republican-backed business tax changes two years ago, then unsuccessfully tried to take them away to balance his new budget. And candidate Pritzker vowed to veto a new map of legislative districts if both parties didn’t have input, but instead he signed the Democrat-drawn boundaries into law,” my Tribune colleagues note. More here.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker says state’s June 11 reopening means an end to capacity limits, social distancing requirements: ‘Illinois will soon resume life as we knew it before’

From Dan Petrella: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday made official what he’s been saying for months: Nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses and activities will be rescinded next week when the state enters the final phase of his reopening plan.

“The state will lift remaining capacity limits, social distancing requirements and health screenings mandates on June 11, removing the rules for the first time since Pritzker’s stay-at-home order went into effect in March 2020. Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday that Chicago would join the rest of the state in fully reopening, ahead of a previous July 4 target date.” Read the rest here.

To e-scoot or not to e-scoot? Chicago aldermen consider electric scooters in the city.

It feels like this conversation is becoming an annual rite of spring and summer: Chicago aldermen meeting to discuss the future of e-scooters.

The Tribune’s John Byrne reports that members of City Council on Thursday sought assurances that the contraptions are safe enough to be permanently added to the city, after several years of test-driving e-scooter programs.

Some talking points from aldermen at a City Council committee hearing yesterday via Byrne:

*West Side Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th, leaned on officials from scooter companies to show they aren’t hazards, noting complaints about riders zipping along sidewalks, hitting pedestrians and cluttering walkways.

*Ald. David Moore, 17th, worried residents in his South Side ward will inundate aldermen with complaints about scooters after the companies set up shop around the city.

*And Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, said scooters divert people from public transportation and she doesn’t see the point of a widespread scooter program except that “it’s fashionable and other cities have it.” Full story here.

Former President Barack Obama slams Republicans over Capitol attack, ‘voter suppression’ measures

Former President Barack Obama today called out the refrain of lies surrounding the outcome of the November presidential election that led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. While he didn’t reference the Republican Party by name, the former president said “one of the major American political parties” should have done more to condemn it, an apparent reference to the GOP.

The Democrat was touting the planned Obama Presidential Center during a virtual appearance with the Economic Club of Chicago. At one point, he said he was going to “try not to be too partisan here” before adding that in the aftermath of the Capitol attack “one of the major American political parties not only failed to condemn some of that behavior, but embraced a patently false narrative about the election being stolen that is being still perpetuated.”

Obama also slammed Republicans for leading legislative efforts in states such as Georgia to make it more difficult for some people to vote. CNN reports that 14 states have enacted such laws.

“Voter suppression measures that are directly targeted, for example, in cities in those states, so that there are a different set of rules for how votes are counted in Atlanta, versus … the rest of Georgia. That’s the kind of dangerous behavior that we’re going to have to push back on,” Obama said.

The corporate community has a responsibility to call that out, the former president said in a wide-ranging interview. My colleague Alice Yin covered the event and will have more on his appearance here.

Thanks for reading The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons. Have a tip? Email host Lisa Donovan at ldonovan@chicagotribune.com .

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