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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Governor Bruce Rauner is concerned that the recently unveiled Obamacare replacement plan from U.S. House Republicans "won't do very well" in Illinois. Approximately one out of every four Illinois residents relies on Medicaid coverage, and the proposal would cut funding to the program. "I want to make sure that people in Illinois are not left in the lurch or that, you know, there's a lot of pressure to reduce insurance coverage for people in Illinois," the governor said. "I'm very concerned about that." [Tribune]
The Chicago Jewish Day School in Edgewater was evacuated Tuesday morning after a bomb threat was called in. Police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched the school and nothing was found. The school was one of the at least 12 Jewish days schools and community centers to receive a bomb threat Tuesday. Anti-Semitic threats have sadly become a common occurrence across the country in the wake of Donald Trump's election as president. "We are, of course concerned about the anti-Semitism behind today's threat, which coincides with a recent surge in bomb threats around the country," the senior rabbi of the Emanuel Congregation, Craig Marantz, told the Tribune. [Tribune]
A penny-per-ounce soda tax will go into effect in Cook County in July. The soft-drink industry is worried after a similar tax in Philadelphia has led to a significant drop in sales. Coca-Cola sales have dropped by between 30 to 50 percent in Philadelphia grocery stores, and PepsiCo sales are down 40 percent, according to CNBC. Data shows that rather than leave city limits to avoid a tax on soft drinks consumers are just cutting out soft drinks altogether. [CNBC]
Republican U.S. rep Peter Roskam has been criticized recently for hosting televised town hall meetings instead of in-person meetings. He explained why he stopped town halls after hosting his first one. "It was miserable," Roskam said in a speech to the City Club of Chicago. "People came in angry, they left angrier." The suburban congressman doesn't believe that the contentious arguments that occur at town halls are productive. "I think I represent a constituency that is longing for civility in public life," he said. "They don't want to hear the nonsense. They don't want to hear the acrimony. They don't want to hear the judgments. They want to hear solutions, and that's how I've tried to present myself." [Politico]
Enforcement of the city's infamous overnight winter parking ban varies by neighborhood, according to an analysis of city data by WBEZ. Only about 18 percent of drivers of cars parked overnight on city streets were ticketed and towed in 2016, and nearly 53 percent were towed without being ticketed. The area around the intersection of Clark and Devon in Rogers Park had the highest percentage of cars ticketed and towed in 2016. "There shouldn't be any disparity," Ninth Ward alderman Anthony Beale, who's the chair of the City Council's committee on transportation and the public way, told WBEZ. "If the law says you should be ticketed and towed, you should be ticketed and towed. . . . It should be consistent across the board." [WBEZ]
Legendary Broadway star Audra McDonald will perform in concert at the Steppenwolf Theatre May 22 as a part of the theater's Lookout series. The six-time Tony Award-winning singer and actress will be joined by pianist Seth Rudetsky and her husband and fellow Broadway star, Will Swenson. Steppenwolf describes the event as "a seamless mix of intimate behind-the-scenes stories from one of Broadway's biggest stars—prompted by Rudetsky's probing, funny, revealing questions—with McDonald singing some of the biggest hits from her musical theater repertoire." [Sun-Times]