Sam Dunklau

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.

Food and drink vendors at this year’s Illinois State Fair say fewer people lined up for things like corn dogs and lemon shake-ups. That fits with an official report of declining overall attendance.

    

NPR Illinois' Sam Dunklau sat down with Bishop Paprocki of Springfield this week. He says he regrets the child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy that happened in the past, and calls on the Church to heal together.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a measure aimed at shortening wait times at driver services locations. The new law will give drivers the option to renew their license plates for multiple years.


Illinois government wants to keep kids from leaving the state for college. Its latest effort is a website and app that allows students and their parents to compare in-state schools.

Public health advocates and some state lawmakers spurned Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the legal tobacco age to 21.

Rauner axed the bill last Friday, though his own Department of Public Health supported it. While he called smoking “detrimental” in his veto message, the governor said Illinois couldn’t take the risk of losing tobacco sales tax revenue to neighboring states.

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

Illinois hospitals will soon receive money to treat millions of people who are covered through Medicaid. The federal government has approved state's latest hospital assessment program, which gives money to hospitals for treating its poorest individuals.


While Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner celebrated the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus labor case on Wednesday, his chief opponent on the campaign trail was quick to criticize. J.B. Pritzker took to the podium in Springfield to do just that.


Illinois will soon mint commemorative coins to mark the state’s 200th birthday. They're the latest in a string of products the state is offering to mark its bicentennial year.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs hosted a several months-long contest, challenging designers to capture Illinois’ history on a single coin face. Submissions poured in from far and wide, but they were eventually whittled down to five finalists, whose designs were then voted on by the public.

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Democratic U-S Senator Dick Durbin is supporting a Republican state senator to be the next ambassador to Kenya. That’s despite the significant political differences Durbin has with state Senator Kyle McCarter.

Durbin says he’s impressed with McCarter’s decades-long experience with the African nation.

“I doubt if very many people in Illinois know the commitment that Kyle and his family have made to Kenya, and the medical care that they provide through a clinic there is nothing short of amazing.”

Federal net neutrality protections ended Monday, despite Illinois lawmakers attempting to block the move earlier this year.

Democrats in both the Illinois House and Senate worked feverishly to get some kind of net neutrality measure passed ahead of the rollback, but to no avail. Its supporters say changing the Obama-era rules allows internet companies to prioritize some websites and content over other kinds. 

Ed Yohnka of ACLU Illinois says internet users should have the right to choose what they see.

As part of the new Illinois budget, thousands and thousands of state workers will get paid for salary increases they were supposed to get as far back as 2011.


Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would let schools, churches, and workplaces take out restraining orders against someone considered dangerous.

Under current Illinois law, only an individual can take out a restraining order against another person. But after recent shootings at schools and churches, state lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to protect those places from future attacks.

The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a full year budget Thursday. It includes a few plans to cut down on the state’s massive pension debt.


The legal age to buy tobacco in Illinois may soon go up from 18 to 21. The measure narrowly passed the Illinois House Wednesday night 61 to 49, after failing once before.


Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday voted to make it easier to try to take guns from someone a court determines is dangerous. Supporters say “lethal order of protections” could prevent mass shootings.


The Illinois legislature has again moved to regulate gun dealers. It comes after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure back in March, calling it "onerous bureaucracy."


Legislation allowing a major expansion of gambling in Illinois failed on Monday. It’s something lawmakers have been working on for years, as an effort to raise money for state and local governments.

It’s been just about six months since a new Illinois law allowing 16 and 17 year olds to donate organs went into effect. Has the change made a difference for those waiting for life-saving organ transplants?

State lawmakers are continuing to push Illinois gun legislation in the wake of a recent run of mass shootings. The Illinois House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow police to take guns away from someone if a court finds them dangerous.


Illinois lawmakers are pushing a measure to allow immigrants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse to more easily make their case to the police.


After more than two years of extensive renovations, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner moved back into the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield on Monday.

The Illinois General Assembly approved a measure allowing parents to give their kids medical marijuana while at school.


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner this week added sweeping changes to a piece of gun legislation, in a move some state legislators called “political gamesmanship” and “unconstitutional.” But the lawmaker behind the original bill isn’t backing down, announcing Wednesday he's asking the Illinois House to agree with those changes.


About 114 million people visited Illinois last year, setting a new state record. That’s according to the latest state tourism data released on Tuesday.


Illinois legislators are taking up a measure to change the way police gather information for gang databases. It comes after more than a year of controversy surrounding the Chicago Police Department’s data collection practices.


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state should be able to execute those who kill police officers or commit mass shootings. The Governor proposed that and several other measures on Monday in an amendatory veto of gun legislation.


Ongoing budget talks at the Illinois Statehouse have shown no real sign of progress. This week, Senate Democrats pressed Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration this week to explain its proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts.


Illinois is promoting its ties to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. State tourism officials on Tuesday unveiled a self-guided trail linking more than a dozen Wright-designed homes.


lllinois' 3 million Medicaid users will soon have more access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. Officials in Washington, D.C. ok’d a new state program that sets aside about $2 billion in Medicaid funds for the services.


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