Amanda Vinicky

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.

Amanda Vinicky covered Illinois politics and government for NPR Illinois and  the Illinois public radio network from 2006-2016.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in 2008, 2012 and 2016.  

She interned with WUIS in graduate school; she  graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in 2005.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

The governor and Illinois' top leaders are set to meet Tuesday morning, after Republicans on Monday accused Democrats of a dereliction of duty.

It's been one year, four months and 15 days since the state of Illinois had a regular budget.

If you're wondering why Illinois' top politicians haven't been able to do something as important as passing a budget, here's a clue: They have a hard time even agreeing on when to meet.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's office made a big deal of wanting a meeting Monday with the legislative leaders.

It's been 1 year, 4 months and 14 days since the state of Illinois had a regular budget. Today Republicans staged a news event intended to make their Democratic colleagues look bad. 

Illinois lawmakers will meet in Springfield this week for the first time since the election, but things are already off to a rough start.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies made a big public push last week about his wanting to meet with the General Assembly's for top leaders ... including Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mind you, Rauner and his allies spent months making a much bigger public push -- in hundreds of campaign ads -- to paint Madigan as a greedy, corrupt insider.

Sunday evening, Madigan's spokesman issued a short statement.

Illinois legislators will only get a brief post-election respite from politics. They are scheduled to be back in Springfield next Tuesday to begin the veto session. The current makeup of the General Assembly will remain in place for that but, come the new year, the Capitol welcomes a new set of lawmakers elected Tuesday night and the balance of power will shift -- slightly.

Election Day is like the Super Bowl of politics.

She may be a Democrat, but the new U.S. Senator from Illinois says she's prepared to work with President-Elect Donald Trump to reunite and heal the nation.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth is a veteran; she lost her legs 12 years ago while flying a helicopter in the Iraq War.

Trump will be the first President who hasn't served in government or the military.           

Illinois legislators will only get a brief post-election respite from politics; a week from Wednesday they’ll be back in Springfield to begin the veto session.The current makeup of the General Assembly will remain in place for that, but come the new year -- when the Capitol welcomes a new set of lawmakers elected Tuesday night -- the balance of power will shift, slightly.

Election Day is like the Super Bowl of politics.

Illinois legislators will only get a brief post-election respite from politics. A week from today  they’ll be back in Springfield to begin the veto session. The current makeup of the General Assembly will remain in place for that. But come the new year … when the Capitol welcomes a new set of lawmakers elected last night … the balance of power will shift ... slightly.  Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky has the story.

Election Day is like the Super Bowl of politics.

Illinois voters went “blue” statewide, but Republicans added to their ranks in the General Assembly.  Illinois’ 20 Electoral College votes went to Hillary Clinton.  Voters also chose to send Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth to the U.S. Senate, over incumbent Republican Mark Kirk.  And GOP Comptroller Leslie Munger was unseated, in favor of Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza.  

Tamie Yost

Officials are on standby at polling places across Illinois today.  Here are some of the rules you may not know.  This is the first presidential election when Illinois is allowing voters to register to vote on election day.  But you have to come with two forms of identification, such as a driver's license and a utility bill going to your current home.

Illinois makes it easier than other states to register to vote, but do residents take advantage of the state's laws?

Illinois residents who don't have much of an excuse for not casting a ballot.

Wallet Hub's Jill Gonzalez looked at whether states offer early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, online voter registration and election-day registration.

"Illinois is 4 for 4 for each of those voter accessibility policies," Gonzalez said. That puts Illinois at the top of states when it comes to voter accessibility.

Illinois ranks right in the middle of the pack, 23rd, when it comes to voter engagement.  That's according to a recent study from Wallet Hub. Analyst Jill Gonzalez says voter registration and turnout, and campaign contributions were taken into account.

There wasn't supposed to be an election for a statewide constitutional officer this year, but Democrats essentially foisted one, following the sudden death of Republican Judy Baar Topinka. That's led to an expensive, competitive race for comptroller this year --- a race that could show who's winning the war of public opinion in Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan's battle for Illinois' future.

Who knows what would have happened had Democrats held onto the governor's office in 2014?

Illinois is about one year into its experiment with legalized medical marijuana.  One change since the program began is that doctors no longer have to recommend their patient try cannabis.

Flickr Creative Commons/Arturo Pardavila III

When the Cubs celebrate their win tomorrow with a parade in Chicago, it'll be on World Champion Chicago Cubs Day in Illinois.  Governor Bruce Rauner just issued a proclamation making the designation official. 

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he apologized, and that apology was accepted, so it's time to move on from a controversial comment he made at last week's debate minimizing his opponent's family legacy of military service. The Republican gave an interview to public radio on Wednesday; click below to listen to the bulk of it.

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he apologized, and that apology was accepted… so it's time to move on from a controversial comment he made at last week's debate. The Republican spoke with public radio today.   The backlash against Kirk was swift, after he said this:

Illinois legislators are being graded on whether they've helped or hurt people with disabilities. The scorecard is believed to be the first of its kind, and comes from an organization led by concerned parents.

It would seem that you'd be hard-pressed to find much that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan have in common.

But on this issue, they both did pretty poorly, with a score of 50-percent.

Flickr Creative Commons/Steven Depolo

Illinois' new policy on shackling juveniles takes effect today.  No longer can youth be handcuffed or forced to wear ankle chains in courtrooms without reason.  Head of the Juvenile Justice Initiative Betsy Clarke calls automatic shackling an outdated practice. 

Illinois has taken steps to prevent 260,000 residents from losing government food assistance. That gives the state a year to prepare these individuals for the job market.

Flickr Creative Commons/U.S. Department of Agriculture

Illinois has taken steps to prevent 260,000 people from losing government food assistance.  That gives the state a year to prepare these individuals for the job market.  Under federal law, poor people without kids or significant health problems are cut off from food stamps after 3 months.

Illinois Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has apologized for mocking his challenger Thursday night during a Springfield debate, and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth accepted.

A relatively small crowd was there to hear it live, but thanks to social media, Kirk's gaffe was quickly heard (and criticized) round the nation.

In talking about the cost of war, Duckworth brought up that her family's military service goes back to the American Revolution.

Illinois' already strained bank account will be stretched by another 4 and a half billion dollars, because of action taken by the state government's largest pension fund.  There were warnings this was coming.  But now, the harsh numbers are reality.

The Illinois Supreme Court is committing to a redesign of pretrial justice procedures, the system in place to deal with individuals from the time they're arrested, until their case is resolved.

The state is working with the national Pretrial Justice Institute, which is trying to get 20 states on board. Its CEO, Cherise Fanno Burdeen, says Illinois is the second.

Illinois voters aren't getting many chances to see their candidates for U.S. Senate face off. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and the incumbent -- Republican Mark Kirk -- met Thursday in Springfield. It was the first of only two televised debates, and their only downstate match-up.

The Illinois Supreme Court is committing to a redesign of pretrial justice procedures -- the system in place to deal with individuals from the time they're arrested, until their case is resolved.

The state is working with the national Pretrial Justice Institute, which is trying to get 20 states on board. Its CEO, Cherise Fanno Burdeen, says Illinois is the second.

Fanno Burdeen says one aim is to replace the cash bail system. She says risk should be based not just on the charge someone was arrested for ... but also their criminal history.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner did his part with a live video session on Facebook from the Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield.

Rauner, a Republican, touted a new law he signed this summer that requires insurance companies and Medicaid to cover 3-D mammograms. He congratulated a nurse practitoner, who stood alongside him to answer commenters' questions, for celebrating her one-year anniversary of being cancer free.

With Illinois finances stretched thin, the role of Illinois Comptroller has taken on an elevated importance. There haven't been many chances for voters to compare the candidates vying for the job face-to-face, but the top candidates squared off Tuesday night in an interview on Chicago's WTTW-TV.

The comptroller is in charge of cutting the state's checks.

That's more complicated than it may sound. After all, Illinois doesn't have enough money to actually PAY all of its bills.

Even though he appointed her, Comptroller Leslie Munger says she isn't beholden to Governor Bruce Rauner.  But the two Republicans are alike in at least one way: Both refuse to talk about their party's nominee for President, Donald Trump.

Munger said Tues. night in a public television debate that given Illinois' budget stalemate, she's focused on unity.

Politicians will not be ON the field as the Chicago Cubs compete in the World Series for the first time since 1945. But some have found another way to get in on the game.

The Chicago Cubs versus the Cleveland Indians is pitting Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner against Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rauner stood outside Wrigley Field earlier this week (alongside Cubs owner Tom Ricketts) to say he'll send Kasich Chicago-style, deep dish pizza and a Chicago microbrew if Cleveland is victorious.

Flickr Creative Commons/Arturo Pardavila III

Politicians will not be on the field as the Chicago Cubs compete in the World Series for the first time since 1945. But some have found another way to participate in the game. The Chicago Cubs, versus the Cleveland Indians is pitting Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner against Ohio Gov. John Kasich .

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