Chicago City Council
What does the city council do?
The City of Chicago is divided into 50 legislative districts, or wards, each of which is represented by their own elected alderman. All 50 aldermen comprise the Chicago City Council, the legislative body of the City of Chicago, where their responsibilities include “the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.” Bills passed by the City Council become part of the Chicago Municipal Code and do not require the signature of the mayor.
Aldermanic prerogative concerns the power of aldermen to initiate or block city council or even city government actions concerning their own ward. It relies upon informal arrangements amongst aldermen or city officials. Land use and zoning matters, for example, are typically handled by local aldermen.
Aldermen, like all other city-wide elected officials, serve four-year, nonpartisan terms. To get on the ballot, aldermanic candidates must reside in the ward for more than a year and submit nomination papers with the appropriate number of petition signatures: 4% of the votes cast in the last election. This year that number was 473 signatures.