Christine Hatfield


Christine Hatfield, a graduate student in University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program, is WGLT and WCBU's PAR intern for the first half of 2021.

Previously, she graduated from Ball State University with a degree in journalism and telecommunications in May 2020, and during her undergraduate experience, she reported for WNIJ in DeKalb and Ball State's own Indiana Public Radio.

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The leader of the independent oversight organization for Illinois prisons says the state is in "uncharted territory" as the Department of Corrections works on starting in-person visits again.

The Illinois car dealer lawsuit against electric automaker Rivian is the latest chapter in a nationwide debate over the options consumers have to buy cars.

Within a month, Illinois prisons will be allowing in-person visitation again.

Lilija Stevens

UPDATED 3:42 p.m. | As voters in Washington elect Gary Manier to a sixth term as mayor, his opponent said she's leaving the door open to another run in the future.

A new book co-edited by an Illinois State University professor showcases stories, art, and poetry by LGBTQ high schoolers. The project includes a broad spectrum of student experiences.

Jeff Smudde / WCBU

Lawmakers want to change how people get insurance company approval before medical treatment. Advocates say the current process harms patients.

Peoria residents and organizations are making their voices heard as the Illinois House Redistricting Committee begins to determine how to redraw the state's legislative maps. 

Democratic lawmakers serving Peoria at both the state and federal levels are putting their support behind a variety of LGBTQ bills. Community members are sharing what those bills would mean to them.

Bloomington-Normal LGBTQ residents and allies told area legislators about their wants and needs Monday night at a virtual town hall to highlight issues still facing the community. They favor certain pieces of legislation, and say they're hoping for lawmaker support.

Many Illinois Republicans are calling for an independent redistricting process. This comes amid uncertainty when data from the U.S. Census Bureau will be available.

A bill that would expand voting rights is on its way to the governor after passing the Illinois Senate on Thursday. It would increase vote-by-mail options and allow curbside voting permanently.

Next month, the Illinois House Redistricting Committee is set to hold a series of hearings to determine the direction the map redrawing process proceeds in. Lawmakers won't have census data until September, but are constitutionally required to complete the process by the end of June.

The pandemic has reduced the number of students who want to become teachers.

Uncertainty over the ongoing redistricting process was a main topic at a Senate committee hearing Monday focused on West Central Illinois' needs over the next 10 years.

A health care bill spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus has passed out of the State House on a party line vote.

A bill requiring updated sex education standards in Illinois public schools has advanced out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on School Curriculum and Policies in the Illinois House. The vote fell along party lines.

A Bloomington state senator's bill would allow businesses producing mead to sell to local breweries. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey.

A state representative wants to ban violent video games. He says they contribute to increased carjacking in Chicago. It’s far from the first time state lawmakers have taken the idea for a test drive.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department of Employment Security continues to take criticism over issues ranging from fraud to its response time for unemployment claims. State lawmakers say there needs to be a paradigm shift.

Rape crisis centers are facing many hardships during the pandemic. Many are struggling to maintain services their clients rely on and balance budgets. Center leaders say it’s a repeat of what they went through during the Illinois budget impasse.

A new study shows Illinois is still struggling with a teacher shortage as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

Gov. JB Pritkzer has signed a criminal justice reform bill spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. But questions linger among activists, lawmakers and law enforcement officials over the effects of the bill.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has released his proposal for the next Illinois budget as part of his State of the State address. But Republican lawmakers in the Peoria and Bloomington-Normal areas say it doesn't provide solutions to some of the state's biggest challenges.

In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden has rolled back multiple federal policies that negatively affected LGBTQ+ people under former president Donald Trump. But in Illinois, policy advocates say there’s still more battles to be fought.

Ameren Illinois and environmental groups are fighting over what is fair pay for solar power generators.

Bloomington-Normal and Peoria Republicans are blasting Gov. JB Pritzker's decision to include state lawmakers in phase 1B of Illinois' COVID vaccination efforts.

Illinois Republicans have introduced state constitutional amendments that would give voters more control over state laws and officials, along with the constitution itself. A political scientist with University of Illinois Springfield said the bill may give voters too much control.

Jeff Smudde / WGLT

An education bill with wide-ranging provisions is drawing mixed reaction from Central Illinois school superintendents.

Sexual health education could soon be mandatory in Illinois public schools under reintroduced legislation from Democrats in the General Assembly.

One out of every 20 children in Illinois has had a parent in jail or prison, according to a new report released Wednesday from a task force that members hope will ease challenges those children face.