Axios Chicago

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🛌 Happy Tuesday! We hope you had a good day off yesterday (and maybe got a fancy new mattress).

It's a great day to contribute to our newsroom by becoming a member!

🎂 Belated happy birthday wishes to our Axios Chicago members Sheila Schmidt and Steve Osterling, and happy birthday to member Michelle Rose Micor!

Today's newsletter is 954 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Illinois considers "right to die" law

States where medically assisted dying is <span style="text-decoration:underline; text-decoration-color:#6533ff; text-decoration-thickness:4px;">legal</span> or <span style="text-decoration:underline; text-decoration-color:#c0aaff;text-decoration-thickness:4px;">being considered</span>
Data: Death With Dignity; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios Visuals

Illinois legislators this month introduced a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

Why it matters: Advocates say giving terminal patients more control of end-of-life decisions brings more dignity to death, but opponents say it's at odds with physicians' responsibility to care for patients and can open the door to more suicide.

The big picture: If the bill becomes law, Illinois would become the 11th state to have medically assisted dying on the books, Axios' Maya Goldman reports.

  • Oregon has had a law since 1994, and states including Wisconsin and Massachusetts are also considering legalizing the practice.

Zoom in: State Sen. Linda Holmes tells Axios she co-sponsored the bill in Illinois after watching both of her parents die of cancer.

  • "When my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer … she was given less than six months to live," Holmes tells Axios. "But I remember in those days sitting at the side of her bed, and she grabbed my arm and she's like, 'Linda, don't let them do anything.'"

How it works: According to the bill, patients 18 and older have to be determined mentally capable and have a prognosis of six months or less to live in order to get access to the drugs.

  • They have to personally request the drugs, be examined by a doctor, and then get a second opinion from another doctor.
  • If either doctor has any questions about the patient's mental capabilities, they must request a mental health care professional to evaluate the case.

Yes, but: Physicians can refuse to prescribe the drug to patients.

By the numbers: According to a study conducted from 1998 to 2020, 5,329 patients died by "medical aid in dying" (MAID) and 8,451 received a prescription in states that had such laws and publicly available records.

  • Roughly 74% of those deaths involved a cancer diagnosis, per the study.
  • The median age was 74.

The other side: Major medical associations have not endorsed medically assisted death.

  • The Chicago-based American Medical Association argues that "physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks."

Full story

2. 👀 Spring training players to watch

Manager Craig Counsell of the Chicago Cubs. Photo: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Spring training is underway in Arizona, and Chicago's ballclubs are taking different directions.

State of play: After fading last September and missing the postseason, the Cubs are hoping that a new manager can get them out of hibernation and into the playoffs.

The other side (of town): The White Sox have invited a staggering number of players to spring training as they look to rebuild after last year's historically bad season.

We've put together a list of players to watch for both teams. Here's just three that could bring you joy (or heartache) this summer:

🧢 Michael Busch: 3rd base/1st base, Cubs

baseball player swinging
Michael Busch of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 27, 2023. Photo: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Michael Busch came over in a trade this offseason with the Dodgers and is considered one of the top 100 prospects in baseball.

  • Right now, analysts have Busch penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Cubs, which is intriguing because Busch has played most of his major league games at third.

Projection: Starting first baseman on Opening Day.

⚾️ Colson Montgomery: Shortstop, White Sox

baseball player
Colson Montgomery rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the 2023 Fall Stars Game in Mesa, Arizona, on Nov. 5, 2023. Photo: Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

White Sox fans are excited about this rookie shortstop.

  • Montgomery looks to take over from Tim Anderson, who was let go this offseason. The highly touted prospect could have some growing pains, but early reports compare him to Rangers star Corey Seager.

Projected: Opening Day starter.

⚾️ Kevin Pillar: Outfielder, White Sox

baseball player
Kevin Pillar of the Atlanta Braves makes a diving catch during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 18, 2023. Photo: Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

Yep, that Kevin Pillar. He's not the only journeyman to be invited to Sox camp, but he has one of the best chances of sticking.

  • The defense-first outfielder has jumped around to several teams in his career, playing with the Braves last season.

Projected: Makes the team, maybe even starts in right field.

Go deeper: Cubs and Sox

3. Tips and hot links: CPS reading rebound

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

♻️ Chicago's godfather of recycling, Ken Dunn, is shutting down all of his operations, including the North Park Village recycling center, for good. (BlockClub)

📚 Chicago Public School students have rebounded to pre-pandemic reading levels, according to new data. (Sun-Times)

🗳️ Early voting at Chicago's supersite will resume tomorrow after being suspended due to a court order to remove a judicial candidate. (ABC-7)

🏟️ Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is expected to ask the state to finance the team's potential new stadium in the South Loop to the tune of $1 billion. (Crain's)

4. Chart of the day: Windy City scents

Chart: Axios Visuals
Chart: Axios Visuals

It's official! Our poll to select Chicago's signature smell got over 2,700 responses, and the winner is: Lake Michigan.

The big picture: Lake Michigan has all the smells, good and bad.

  • It was neck and neck until the final day, when Lake Michigan got a substantial push to win. (Hey, it's Chicago.).

What's next: We're going to take this highly scientific poll to Chicago's City Council to see what kind of proclamation can be had. WE DEMAND AN OFFICIAL SMELL!

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Sponsored job listings

New jobs to check out

💼 See who's hiring around the city.

  1. Internal Communications Director at Riveron.
  2. Director, Internal Communications at The Joint Commission.
  3. Managing Editor, Autos at U.S. News & World Report.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. La Grande Boucherie bets big on Chicago

La Grande Boucherie in River North is designed to transport you to 1920s Paris. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

New York-based La Grande Boucherie debuted its first Chicago outpost last week in the former Ruth's Chris Steakhouse spot, becoming one of the city's largest restaurants.

Why it matters: At a time when many eateries are still struggling, opening a 480-seat French steakhouse seems like a risky move — but also an encouragingly big bet on our downtown recovery.

What they're saying: "I personally fell in love with the city because of its great gastronomic scene, this location and the vibrant cool River North neighborhood," owner Emil Stefkov tells Axios.

The vibe: Warm, loud and elegant, with a two-tiered Art Nouveau dining room that feels like a trip to 1920s Paris.

lobster bisque
The lobster bisque ($22) is served with puff pastry and whipped cream. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

On your plate: Multiple steak dishes, a complete raw bar and top-notch French classics. Think steak frites, chateaubriand, oysters, mussels and lobster bisque.

More details

Our picks:

📺Carrie will admit it: She's watching "Love is Blind" season 6. Rest assured, Charlotte, the Chicago season was messy, too.

🎸 Monica is super-excited to see Jonathan Richman's action-packed show at Thalia Hall this Saturday.

🍿Justin is dying to show his teenager "This is Spinal Tap" but is petrified they won't like it.

Want more Axios Chicago content? Check out our Instagram for extra stuff to do, behind the scenes photos, videos and more!