Special Elections Bill Passes Senate, On To House

Jan 8, 2015

Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat, argues that it's constitutional, and within the General Assembly's rules, to pass a law creating a special election for comptroller in 2016.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

  Legislators are back at the capitol, where they have begun debating the prospect of a special election for comptroller in 2016. The Illinois Senate passed the measure this afternoon, Thurs. Jan 8, on a partisan vote, and now it's on to the House.

It became an issue after Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka suddenly died, ahead of beginning a new four-year term.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie say voters should have the opportunity to choose someone, rather than letting an appointee hold the post for such a long time.

"Certainly nobody expected Judy to die untimely. It was untimely. But it raises the question: what should the role of the Assembly be, given the constitutional opportunity that we are provided to set a special election? It seems to me democracy demands we do just that," Currie said.

The House is poised, like the Senate, to pass the measure this afternoon. That would leave time for Democratic Governor Pat Quinn to sign it before he leaves office. His successor, Republican Bruce Rauner, has signaled his opposition.

GOP legislators are trying to stop the majority Democrats from passing the bill. They say it's undemocratic to bend the rules to get it through in a single day.