Daisy Contreras

Daisy reports on various assignments for NPR Illinois. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues. Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter. She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

Gov. Bruce Rauner attempts to reset his campaign with a speech to a small group of supporters. Will it be enough to overcome the 14 percentage points that separate the Republican incumbent from his Democratic opponent, J.B. Pritzker?

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek re-election after over 15 years in office drew a plethora of candidates to the ballot. The last three standing, Republican nominee Erika Harold, Democratic candidate Kwame Raoul and Libertarian Bubba Harsy, continue to battle it out with just nine weeks until the general election.

Gov. Bruce Rauner last week vetoed three pieces of legislation, earning the ire of immigration advocates and some lawmakers.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of what was known as the Great Flood of 1993. State Climatologist Dr. Jim Angel covered the flood -- which affected Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. 

Illinois police officers who want to seek mental health care can now do so without jeopardizing their jobs.

Republicans held their annual rally at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield Wednesday with a message of party unity.  Bruce Rauner still holds the top office in state government. But as he pushes for re-election, he’s trying to appease conservatives who feel betrayed and whose support he needs to win a second term.   

Advocates say increasing access to hormonal contraceptives could help reduce unplanned pregnancies. One legislative proposal considered earlier this year aims to do just that by allowing patients to skip a physician's visit and head straight to a pharmacist. But it is having trouble catching on in Illinois.

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield is one week away and among the usual annual offerings is a new effort to raise awareness of community service projects.

Illinois politicians react to President Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel get into a Twitter fight over the anti-violence protest that brought the inbound Dan Ryan to a halt.

And J.B. Pritzker's campaign runs an ad with claims widely described as false.

Illinois lawmakers were unable to agree this spring on a plan to protect good Samaritans who rescue an animal left inside a hot car. Advocates say the push will continue.
 

With temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s over the next few days  -- and the heat index even higher, road buckling could become a problem for some Illinois motorists. 

The man at the center of the case of public sector unions and fair share fees is a state employee from Springfield.  Mark Janus took his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court and on Wednesday, he was victorious.  The decision means non-union members won't have to pay those fees to cover activities like collective bargaining. 

Even after the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation meant to tackle the backlog of discrimination cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission, Gov. Bruce Rauner is putting forth his own plan.

A team of Chicago Tribune reporters looked into cases of sexual misconduct in the city's public schools spanning a decade. Their series 'Betrayed' tells the stories of students abused by educators or other school employees. We talked to David Jackson — one of the reporters involved — about what they uncovered. 

The Illinois General Assembly has revived an effort to bridge the so-called “gender wage gap.”

The plan would ban employers from asking about salary history during interviews.

Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure last year. The latest version still keeps prior salary out of the interview process, but tries to address concerns from business owners who are worried about their bottom line.

Wendy Pollack is with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. She says no law is perfect and hopes Rauner acknowledges it’s a good starting point.

The debate continues over whether Illinois’ law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions violates the state constitution. A trial judge dismissed the case last year but anti-abortion advocates are fighting back.  

Nati Harnik / AP

Illinois anti-abortion groups were back in a Springfield courtroom today ... arguing against the new state law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions.

They’re asking the Fourth District Appellate Court to overturn a trial judge’s dismissal of their case last year.

State Representative Peter Breen, a Lombard Republican and lawyer for the plaintiffs, says this goes beyond abortion. He says his case is really about the procedures the state legislature follows when passing a budget.
 

A prominent state legislator, who led efforts in the Illinois House to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, has stepped down from his leadership post after being accused of bullying and intimidation. 

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a plan aimed at making sure people in jails can exercise their right to vote.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said he will cooperate with a special investigation over claims he used intimidation to pressure state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) to quit her part-time job with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office. Cassidy alleges Madigan retaliated after she criticized him over his handling of sexual harassment cases within his office earlier this year.

An Illinois House committee Monday discussed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reinstate the death penalty for mass shooters and for those who murder police officers. The proposal is part of a broader public safety plan put forth in an amendatory veto.  

After weeks of feuding within the Illinois Republican Party an unusual agreement has been reached with hopes of bridging the divide.

Update 5/16/18: The Senate approved the measure 35-18. 
 
After Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a proposal to license gun dealers, several legislators are suggesting a new, bipartisan approach in hopes of getting his support. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Larissa Puro

Pro-choice advocates in Illinois want the candidates for governor to pledge support for a law that expands abortion coverage, and oppose any push to repeal it.

After Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law providing abortion coverage under state health insurance and Medicaid - some, like State Representative Jeanne Ives who ran against him on the GOP ticket in the primary - said it showed Rauner’s position on the issue is too liberal.

The Illinois Senate approved a measure intended to upgrade security at public, large-scale events. Under the plan, law enforcement could use drones as monitors.

But Democratic state Senator Kwame Raoul of Chicago says this could also be a pathway for invading people’s privacy – and wants officers to obtain a warrant first.

“I want to trust to utilize the drones to protect against a tragic incident at Lollapalooza or some other mass gathering at a park. I’m not left with the feeling of comfort by a reference to no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

The Illinois Senate approved a measure intended to provide courts with more guidance on what to do when a minor is caught with a stolen car. But some juvenile justice groups say lawmakers are missing the bigger picture.

Several Illinois legislators are pushing to bring more construction jobs to the state. A plan under consideration in the House would award tax credits to companies that put up new buildings or improve existing structures. 

Brianna Laugher / Flickr
CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Illinois lawmakers are pushing to expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to fill orders without consulting a doctor. But state Representative Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, says this is an issue only a doctor should handle.

 

“I would like to express that this actually risks a patient’s safety. It’s an issue of a young person under the age of 18 being able to go in and get what should be a prescription medication.” Bryant says.

Dank Depot / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

A proposal to allow the temporary use of cannabis over opioids for pain management was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.   It would allow a patient who doesn’t have immediate access to a medical marijuana card to be temporarily certified by a doctor to use cannabis.

Chris McCloud is with HCI alternatives, a medical cannabis dispensary. He says this legislative approach is a unique plan addressing the problem of opioid addiction.

 

As the state works toward a budget for the next year, some lawmakers say they need a target for how much money is available.
  

One idea is if the state had a revenue estimate in place, drafting a balanced budget would be an easier process. Without one, budget negotiators say they are in the dark when it comes to how much is available to spend.    

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