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.

Republicans are trying to get back in on next year's budget negotiations. Meanwhile, as red states compete to place more and more restrictins on abortion, activists want Illinois to move the other way.

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states outside of Nevada to set up their own sports betting rules, some experts are offering Illinois lawmakers tips as a final proposal is drafted. 

Some rock and roll star power showed up in the Illinois Statehouse Wednesday to help push for a new casino. 

The Illinois Senate last week approved increased protections for those who use alternative electric and gas suppliers.
 

Listen to a special State Week, recorded in front of an audience at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices state historic site in downtown Springfield.

Host Sean Crawford, along with regular panel members Brian Mackey, Daisy Contreras and Charlie Wheeler, are joined by guest Hannah Meisel of The Daily Line. The discussion focused on the governor’s push for a graduated income tax and Senate Democrats pushing it through that chamber. You'll also hear about prospects for recreational marijuana, sports betting, a capital construction program and more.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tried to convince business groups Wednesday to accept his graduated income tax plan. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed changes to the state's pension systems. He says this could help cover other pressing areas, like education, healthcare and public safety. But the plan would mean cutting back on pension payments --- atleast on the short-term, that's according to Amanda Kass, the associate director of the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Illinois’ former legislative inspector general went public this week with a complaint that one of her reports was buried. She says the office is desperately in need of reform, and absent that, is effectively powerless.

Meanwhile, WBEZ-FM is reporting Gov. J.B. and First Lady M.K. Pritzker are under federal investigation for removing toilets from a mansion in order to lower their property tax bill.

Several of Illinois’ Division I athletic directors say they don’t want gamblers to be able to bet on college sports. Lawmakers heard from them and others Thursday in Chicago as talks continue on how to legalize and regulate sports betting. 

A group of 16 Illinois organizations and agencies have teamed up to help the monarch butterfly survive. 

Even though it’s the legislative spring break, there are several issues still to be negotiated, including a potential construction program funded with a gasoline tax, legalization of recreational marijuna, dealing with the state’s growing pension debt, and what to do about a declining population.

In 2017, then-Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law what was known as Charlie's Law that required insurance companies to cover treatment costs for certain auto immune diseases in children.

One of those conditions is called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS). And approximately one in 200 children suffer from it. 

PANDAS advocate Wendy Nawara sat down with us to talk about how despite the law, some insurance companies are still not covering treatment costs. 

Some Illinois lawmakers want more protections for employees who are sexually harassed in private sector jobs. 

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot spends two days meeting with Illinois lawmakers. How much of her agenda runs through Springfield?

Meanwhile, Democrats began moving on a centerpiece of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's agenda: a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for a graduated income tax.

Artist R. Kelly was in Springfield last weekend, where according to TMZ and their sources, the singer earned $20,000 for a one hour show to meet with fans. But his actual show was allegedly no more than a minute and fans paid up to $100 to see him. R. Kelly took to Instagram to address the media before his appearance, asking them to "take it easy on him."

Thousands of Illinois’ home care workers who help seniors are asking for a wage increase— before the state’s minimum wage reaches $15 an hour in 2025. 

This week, rallies at the statehouse over gun rights and abortion; still more questions about legalized sports betting; and despite the launch of a new awreness campaign, another State Trooper killed by a semi-trailer on the highway.

As Illinois considers legalizing sports betting, state and national sports leagues are asking for a share of the money. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

Among the subjects discussed this week: medical and recreational marijuana, an anti-abortion rally at the capitol building, Illinois' teacher shortage, and legalizing sports gambling.

Copyright 2019 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS. To see more, visit NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS.

Illinois Democrats are offering several options on how legal sports gambling could work in the state. 

 

Several Illinois environmental and labor groups say the state needs more workers to upgrade its aging water and sewer systems. Money to prepare these workers could come from an infrastructure plan.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has agreed to pay raises and money owed to the state’s more than 40,000 child care workers and home aides.  

The Illinois Senate Thursday approved raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. All eyes now turn to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has yet to say where he stands on the idea. 

It's not the first time some Illinois lawmakers are pushing to end the so-called gender pay gap. The House of Representatives approved a measure Wednesday that could be a first step. 

Illinois lawmakers in the House voted Tuesday to raise the age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.  Last year, the proposal made it to the governor’s desk, but then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. Supporters of the change are more optimistic this time.  

 

Reproductive-rights groups are fighting the new changes to the federal family planning program known as Title X. The new rule prohibits health providers under Title X funding to give information about abortions or refer patients to those who perform abortions. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has finally revealed a few details about his plans to change the Illinois income tax. He's asking the General Assembly and voters to approve a constitutional amendment making the flat tax into one that's graduated, where the wealthy pay higher rates.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month laid out his plan for a state budget.  But the Democratic governor is perhaps being too optimistic, counting on proposals for tax revenue sources that still need to be negotiated. One of those is the expansion of gambling and raking in the money from taxing and further regulating it. 

Illinois lawmakers questioned Department of Children and Family Services officials Tuesday after a 2-year old Decatur girl died in February, just months after the agency closed her case. 

During the two-year budget impasse, many mental health service providers were forced to close their doors or cut back on services. Now advocates want to bring back the focus to treatment and increase funding. 

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