Political news

Gov. Pat Quinn called a special legislative session for Jan. 8, 2015, to create a special election in 2016 for Illinois Comptroller.  Incumbent Judy Baar Topinka died last week after winning re-election in November.  

“60 Minutes” shined a light Sunday on the issue of patients denied mental health treatment by doctors who never even saw them. That’s despite mandatory coverage for mental health services under the Affordable Care Act.

The claim denial rate often exceeded 90 percent.

Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography / "Fizzy Purple Grape Soda" (CC v. 2.0)

Another attempt to tax sugary drinks is expected in the upcoming Illinois legislative session. Drinks like soda and even some juice have been linked to obesity, diabetes and other problems. 

Elissa Bassler, with the Illinois Public Health Institute, says a plan that came up in the past year would have imposed a penny per ounce tax on the drinks.  She says the new measure will be similar:

"It's a big idea and it takes some time for people to wrap their arms around it."


A public memorial service for the late Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is scheduled for next week. The service will be held Wednesday morning at the Operating Engineers' Local 150 headquarters in Countryside.

Topinka died unexpectedly this week after complications from a stroke. Fellow state leaders, colleagues and family are scheduled to attend.

Meanwhile, Illinois officials are trying to figure out who has the power to name the state’s next comptroller and for how long.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Illinois political leaders are remembering Judy Baar Topinka.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn says he's "heartbroken" about the death of Republican state Comptroller. Topinka's office says she died early Wednesday after suffering a stroke. Quinn called her "a trailblazer in every sense of the word" and a "force of nature."

Gov.-Elect Bruce Rauner, a fellow Republican, remembered Topinka for her "magnetic, one-of-a-kind personality." He said she cared "about what was best for the people" of Illinois.

The death of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka raises questions about how to fill her post. According to the state Constitution, it's up to the Governor to appoint a successor until the next election. But election officials are unsure about the process.

That's because the term ends January 12  and an election has already been held.  State Board of Elections Director Rupert Borgsmiller says they are not sure how to handle it: "Nobody knows at this point by looking at the Constitution and the election code itself."


It looks like Congress can avert a government shutdown, as tomorrow’s deadline to approve a spending bill approaches. Northern Illinois Congressman Randy Hultgren says there’s still a lot to pull together in the next few days.  

City of DeKalb

The filing period for DeKalb city candidates’ petitions for the April election starts next week and ends Dec. 22.

The offices up for election are: Wards 1, 3, 5, 7 and City Clerk.

Petition packets are filed with the City Clerk’s office. The Candidates’ Guide can be downloaded from the city’s website.

state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers passed legislation giving the attorney general more power to stop state pension payments to anyone convicted of a felony related to their public service. 

The Senate unanimously approved the measure yesterday. The House approved it last month. 

state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers approved eavesdropping restrictions to replace those the state Supreme Court struck down.

The Senate voted yesterday to prohibit recording private conversations without the consent of everyone involved.

The measure exempts recording police in the line of duty, loud conversations in public or cheering fans at a ballgame. Critics objected the bill does not include provisions for police to wear body cameras.

The measure goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has not said if he will sign it.