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Preckwinkle vetoes plan to give first responders addresses of COVID-19 positive residents
The veto is the first for the Cook County Board president.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times
by Rachel Hinton

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle vetoed a resolution Tuesday that would provide the addresses of COVID-19 positive patients to first responders in suburban Cook County.

Preckwinkle said she was “profoundly disappointed” by the passage of the controversial resolution Thursday.

The veto of the resolution, titled Share Addresses for Emergencies with First Responders, would have provided first responders in the jurisdiction of the county’s Department of Public Health access only to the addresses of those who’ve tested positive for the deadly virus. That area includes 127 municipalities and 2.5 million residents.

On Tuesday, Preckwinkle said, “We must rely on data and science to drive our decision-making while also encouraging first responders to take the same precautions they would going into any home.”

The measure sparked debate over protecting police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders and protecting the public’s right to privacy.

Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, who sponsored the measure, said Thursday he knows there are “civil rights issues that are raised” by the resolution. Britton said he’d like to be able to say “that we don’t have to worry about overreach by the government, that we don’t have to worry about inherent racism in the system” he can’t do that, but he could say the resolution provides some limits.

For Preckwinkle, that acknowledgement didn’t go far enough.

“I don’t see how anyone who understands the endemic nature of racism in this country, and the discrimination that black and brown people have experienced, will assume that this resolution is somehow going to be immune from that discrimination and endemic racism,” Preckwinkle said, unsuccessfully urging commissioners to vote against the measure. “So for those reasons, there’s no way … that I would encourage anyone to support [the resolution.]”

Despite the plea, seven Democratic commissioners and the board’s two Republicans voted to approve the measure. Seven Democrats voted against it; one voted present.

Preckwinkle’s veto is her first since the start of her tenure as Cook County Board president in 2010.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



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