Political news

Republican lawmakers in the Illinois House say the state could save a lot of money by tightening welfare rules. They unveiled a package of reforms at Memorial Hall in Rockford Wednesday. 

Illinois House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Apr 17, 2013
Caveman 92223 / Flickr

Medical marijuana took a significant step toward becoming law in Illinois Wednesday. For the first time, it won approval in the House of Representatives.

Illinois’ Second Congressional District has a voice again. Democrat Robin Kelly easily beat five opponents in the special election to fill former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s U.S. House seat. The district has been without representation since Jackson resigned in November, shortly after winning re-election, in spite of corruption allegations and an extended leave to deal with bipolar depression. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

There’s a lot of change in store for the city of DeKalb…at least when it comes to who’s in charge. There’s turnover in most leadership positions, from Northern Illinois University to city government. WNIJ’s Susan Stephens takes a look at the four-way race for DeKalb mayor.

EasyPickle / Flickr

A new gambling expansion plan is moving to the full Illinois Senate, just days after Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a similar plan.

American Judicature Society

Former Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch has died.  She was 86.  She announced in January she had ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Environmentalists and business groups have reached an agreement that paves the way for "fracking" in Illinois. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Members of Congress are back home instead of trying to work out a plan to avoid massive across-the-board cuts scheduled to take effect March 1st. Many are using the opportunity to show how sequestration will hurt the people who live and work in their districts. 

This week, the Illinois Senate President hopes to pass a same-sex marriage bill. Democrat John Cullerton wants the upper chamber to approve the bill by Valentine's Day, and send it to the House. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he'd sign SB 10, but the bill faces an uncertain future in the lower chamber.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Freeport residents packed a Highland Community College auditorium last night: they were there to hear from the four mayoral candidates they’ll choose from in the February 26th primary election. 

Chris Slaby / Illinois Public Radio

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his State of the State address this week. He repeatedly hammered a theme of political courage during his speech to the General Assembly.

Jessica Cabe / WNIJ

A bi-partisan Senate effort to come up with an immigration reform plan is getting a good reception -- but some members of Congress are hanging back in their support until they know more details.

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

Members of Illinois' 98th General Assembly were sworn in today in Springfield. There are a number of new faces -- but the four at the top remain the same. 

Amanda Vinicky / Illinois Public Radio

A new session of the Illinois General Assembly begins Wednesday, when candidates who won in November's elections take the oath of office. The outgoing class of legislators left the incoming one with quite a burden. On Tuesday, the previous General Assembly adjourned without doing anything to address the state's massive pension woes. However, there were some last minute attempts.

Pension Overhaul Remains Up In The Air

Jan 8, 2013

A proposed overhaul cleared a House committee Monday. But the full House adjourned for the day without taking action. Observers say legislative leaders are trying to round up of enough votes for the bill to pass.

Pension Reform Passes Committee, No House Vote Yet

Jan 7, 2013

There’s no deal on a pension reform plan at the Illinois Capitol…yet.

The Illinois House adjourned without a floor vote on a contentious plan to change the state’s troubled public employee pension system. An Illinois House committee today gave bi-partisan approval to a plan sponsored by Representative Elaine Nekritz. She says she expects it to be called for a vote by the House Tuesday, at the earliest.

Bill Daley Considering Run For Illinois Governor

Dec 21, 2012

Governor Pat Quinn could have a primary challenger if he seeks re-election in 2014. Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley says he's seriously thinking about running for Illinois governor.

Kirk Planning To Return Next Month

Dec 7, 2012
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Center for Stroke Rehabilitation

Illinois' junior U.S. Senator will soon return to work. Senator Mark Kirk will head back to Washington on Jan. 3, a year after suffering a major stroke that required months of intense rehabilitation. 

The Illinois Senate Tuesday approved drivers' licenses for immigrants who came to the U-S illegally. The legislation has bipartisan support.

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. has resigned: a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner confirms he has received Jackson's letter of resignation.


A west central Illinois lawmaker is stepping down, just days after he won re-election.   House Republican Jim Watson of Jacksonville says he will leave the seat to take over as Executive Director of the Illinois Petroleum Council.  The group represents oil refineries, marketers and others in the industry.

Hastert And Lipinski Discuss Election

Nov 9, 2012

Two former Congressman from northern Illinois held a political discussion Thursday night. Dennis Hastert and Bill Lipinski offered their thought's on this week's election.

Secretary of State

An immigrants’ rights group is renewing an effort to get a special type of Illinois driver's license for people who came to the United States  illegally. If the legislature decides to take it up, it would be part of a tradition of waiting until after an election to tackle controversial legislation.

County Board races, electricity aggregation and judge retention are only some of the categories on ballots around Northern Illinois in Tuesday's election. Here is a sampling of those results:

Democrats have retained control of the Illinois legislature. In Rockford, a State Senate seat long-held by a Republican went to a Democrat. And a Winnebago County Republican appointed to a State House seat holds on to it.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Two contentious races for State’s Attorney were decided Tuesday in Winnebago and DeKalb Counties.

Matt Streb Blogs Election 2012

Nov 6, 2012

Matt Streb chairs the political science department at Northern Illinois University. He's analyzed elections for a dozen years (although he did so as an amateur since he was 2). He offers his observation on tonight's contests, with an emphasis on U.S. House races in northern Illinois. Of special consideration: The 17th, 16th, 14th, 11th, 8th & 6th Districts.

11:45 pm

Illinois Election Night Results

Nov 6, 2012

Illinois Congressional Races:

17th Congressional District:

  • Bobby Schilling (R,incumbent): 115,376 (47%)
  • Cheri Bustos (D):     131,381  (53%)  (PROJECTED WINNER)

16th Congressional District:

  • Adam Kinzinger (R, incumbent):     177,621  (59%)  (PROJECTED WINNER)
  • Wanda Rohl (D):     121,652  (41%)

14th Congressional District:

Money has been pouring into one contentious Congressional race in the Chicago suburbs. National SuperPACs are fueling the negative advertising dominating the airwaves in the new 8th district, which covers an area including Schaumburg, Elgin, and Lombard.  Republican Congressman Joe Walsh faces Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi War vet who most recently worked for the Veterans Administration in Washington.

State's Attorney's Race: DeKalb County

Oct 30, 2012

Republican Clay Campbell has served as DeKalb County State’s Attorney since 2010, when he won a special election. He is seeking another term. Campbell’s opponent this fall is Democrat Richard Schmack, a private attorney who has previously served as an assistant state’s attorney in DeKalb County. The two candidates were asked a set of questions by WNIJ's Mike Moen.