From Right to Left: 3 Key Issues Facing Illinois in 2013

Yahoo Contributor Network

National politics dominated much of 2012, but state-level issues still merit examination. Yahoo News asked voters to pinpoint issues within their own states that they'd like to see tackled in 2013. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | Going into 2013, as is true for the rest of the nation, the issues facing Illinois seem to run the political gambit, from the traditionally conservative to the traditionally liberal. From right to left, here are three topics that will have Illinoisans buzzing in the new year.

Concealed carry of firearms

Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow concealed carry of weapons, and it was Chicago's gun ordinance that the Supreme Court struck as unconstitutional in 2010. Ten mostly rural counties are now petitioning the state legislature for some type of concealed carry law. This request is likely to prove unpopular in the city of Chicago, which has seen homicides rise significantly in 2012.

Governor Pat Quinn said he would veto a concealed carry bill, but that promise alone is unlikely to end the issue in the state.

Videotaping of police officers

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of a case striking down an Illinois law prohibiting the recording of police officers performing their duties. The Seventh Circuit found the law violated the First Amendment right to free speech, and the ACLU will seek to have a permanent injunction issued against the law, meaning it cannot be enforced.

While the law as currently written cannot be enforced, it doesn't mean the legislature can't write a different version. According to the Chicago Tribune, even before Supreme Court declined to hear the case, lawmakers debated changes to statute. Now unconstitutional, it would require serious revisions to survive.

Medical marijuana

A lack of needed support delayed the vote on medical marijuana in Illinois in November, but given the momentum of marijuana nationwide, this issue is far from settled. Washington and Colorado voted this year to allow recreational use of marijuana, while 16 additional states permit medical use.

Almost like a scene out of the show "Weeds," the idea of marijuana has become so commonplace, former Microsoft executive Jamin Shively -- a Washington state resident -- plans to get into the high-end marijuana business. With the concept of cannabis so mainstream, it's more a question of when, rather than if, medical marijuana will find its way to Illinois.

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