News

Legislative Corner

February 6, 2007

As Chairman of the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology
Development, Alderman Laurino not only looks after the needs of her
ward but also tackles citywide issues that affect quality of life for
all Chicagoans. She has been the driving force behind several key
pieces of legislation.
Alderman Laurino has worked closely with Finance Committee Chairman
Edward Burke (14th Ward) on creating a wireless infrastructure that
would allow ubiquitous, citywide high speed internet access for Chicago
residents. She chaired four public hearings in communities around the
city on this topic and currently sits on the Mayor's Advisory Council
on Closing the Digital Divide. Significant progress has been made on
this project in the past year, with the city of Chicago issuing a
Request for Proposals for installation of the infrastructure. The City
is expecting to evaluate responses to the proposals in 2007.
Alderman Laurino introduced an ordinance which would expand
mandatory ethics training to include all city employees on a yearly
basis. In order to implement such training at minimal cost, one of the
innovative ideas included in this ordinance is to make the training
available as an online program. This program was up and running by the
end of 2006.
Again partnering with Alderman Burke, Alderman Laurino sponsored
legislation that requires the City to have realtime webcasts of the
Chicago City Council meetings. Equipment will be installed in the City
Council Chambers, with the first live webcast expected in 2007.
Joining with Alderman Manuel Flores (1st Ward), Alderman Laurino
sponsored a ground breaking ordinance that regulates restrictive
covenants that are placed on property once occupied by grocery and drug
stores. In the past grocery and drug stores would close and leave
behind anticompetitive covenants attached to their deeds, which
prevented other similar stores from occupying the property, even if the
original store had no intention of returning to the area. This new law
is thought to be the first of its kind and greatly limits the duration
of such restrictive covenants, enabling future development and
hastening the return of needed services to communities.
Recently Alderman Laurino again joined with Alderman Flores to
introduce a resolution that called together various civic groups and
industry associations to shed light on the disparity in distribution of
grocery stores throughout the city. At her Committee meeting, Chairman
Laurino convened a Task Force, with member on both sides of this issue,
to provide recommendations that would help to alleviate this problem.
In the coming year, Alderman Laurino is looking forward to further
advancing these and other economic and technological advances.