Political news


The president of the Illinois Senate is continuing to withhold a piece of legislation from Gov. Pat Quinn.

At the tail end of its session, the General Assembly rushed to pass a measure that makes it easier for Illinois' big utilities--Ameren and Commonwealth Edison--to charge more for delivering power.

The companies say it's necessary so they can continue to improve the electric grid. But legislators' quick action came to an abrupt halt when Senate President John Cullerton used a parliamentary maneuver to keep the measure from going to Gov. Quinn.

Rauner Inauguration Aired Live Today

Jan 12, 2015

Republican Bruce Rauner will take office today as Illinois' 42nd governor. 

There will be a morning prayer service followed by the swearing in of constitutional officers.

Rauner beat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November's election and will be the first GOP governor since George Ryan left in 2003. There will be an open house at the Old State Capitol and a dinner, capped off by a concert featuring country star Toby Keith.

A special election for the office of Illinois comptroller is almost surely on the horizon. Democratic members of the Illinois General Assembly hurried today to pass a measure setting the election up, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign it into law.                                                                                      

It goes back to last month, when Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka suddenly died. She was about to begin a new, four-year term.

Tougher Gun Laws Are Revisited in Springfield

Jan 9, 2015
state of Illinois

A controversial idea to toughen gun sentences is being revisited in Springfield. Chicago’s police superintendent says Illinois lawmakers can reduce gun crime by passing stricter gun laws.

But the National Rifle Association fought previous attempts to pass a bill. Members argue legal gun owners could get caught in the wide-ranging proposal. 

Mike Zalewski - a suburban Democratic state representative - supports harsher gun penalties. He says the past failures means he’ll tweak the bill.

Special Election For Comptroller Becoming More Likely

Jan 8, 2015
state of Illinois

Chances the state will hold a special election for comptroller in 2016 have improved, now that the Illinois House Speaker has signaled his support. Lawmakers will be back in Springfield for special session today to vote on it.

Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, says Madigan will support giving voters a say, instead of allowing an appointee to take over long-term.

Brown had previously only said that Madigan believed the future of the comptroller's office was a matter to be settled by the executive branch.

state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers missed a Jan. 1 deadline to approve a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Without its own exchange, the state forfeits millions of federal dollars while leaving consumers vulnerable to paying more for insurance.

Illinois was facing dual deadlines last month when lawmakers made a final effort to create its own marketplace. The first was the looming New Year---which they blew past last week, losing out on as much as $270 million.


Yesterday was the first day of the new congress, and that means Illinois’ Senator Mark Kirk is now in the majority party. Republicans now control both chambers of congress. 

But when laying out his legislative priorities for the year, Kirk strayed from typical conservative talking points. He says his top two goals are banning sewage dumping in the Great Lakes.

"I wanna make sure that we’re protecting the water supply for 8 million Americans with the reverence and protection that it should be getting."

Quinn: Immigration Status Not Enough To Detain

Jan 6, 2015
State of Illinois

Immigration status alone will no longer be a valid reason for the Illinois State Police to detain someone, under an order issued Monday by Gov. Pat Quinn. 

In the executive order, Quinn says that "community policing efforts are hindered" when immigrants who are victims of, or witness, crimes are wary of cooperating for fear they'll be deported.

Quinn's order only applies to agencies under the governor's control: state troopers and conservation police.

New Illinois Law Bans Police Ticket Quotas

Jan 6, 2015
Flickr user woodleywonderworks / "police trooper writing a ticket" (CC BY 2.0)

Some police departments in Illinois could be issuing fewer tickets in the new year. 

A new state law went into effect that aims to get rid of ticket quotas.

Few police departments would ever admit to having a target number of tickets officers have to write each month. Even if there's no official policy in place, some police departments still follow a loose system.

A $26 million investment by Illinois taxpayers will allow communities to buy land for parks.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced the grants Saturday as part of a plan to increase recreational opportunities and help the economy. The money comes from the state’s Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program.