Sam Dunklau

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

Newly-released tax data from Illinois’ gambling businesses shows an industry in flux. 

Illinois brought in more tax money from gambling in the fiscal year that ended in June. That’s just one of several highlights from a new report released Monday.


Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services plans to put all 16,000 children in its custody on Medicaid health insurance. But at a hearing Tuesday, state lawmakers expressed skepticism, saying they’re worried those kids may fall through the cracks.

A new survey of Illinois hospital nurses shows a large majority feel overworked, undervalued, and even unsafe.

Several people in the Chicago suburbs are suing two medical companies for allegedly releasing unsafe levels of a cancer-causing gas into their communities.


State university officials were grilled by lawmakers Tuesday. At issue is a record of lucrative severance packages for outgoing administrators.


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A package of bills signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker is aimed at helping newly-released Illinois prisoners find their way back into the democratic process.

At least one person has died in Illinois, after they used an e-cigarette product that appears to have caused fatal breathing problems. The death may be the first vaping fatality in the nation.


The minimum salary a teacher can be paid in Illinois will soon increase. Governor J.B. Pritzker joined educators and activists to sign a wage increase plan into law Thursday.


Immigrants to Illinois are now able to sue their landlords if they are evicted because of their citizenship status.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

In the wake of two high profile mass shootings this month, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office is making gun violence prosecutions a priority. A leader of the Illinois House, meanwhile, said new gun legislation will be on the table during the next legislative session.

The Illinois Republican Party’s top brass says it’s optimistic about its chances in 2020. Officials rallied the base Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.

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State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is among the first Illinois officials to endorse a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and he's backing Elizabeth Warren.

Frerichs made the announcement seemingly out of the blue this week. Other statewide officeholders — including Governor J.B. Pritzker — have so far kept out of the crowded Democratic primary.

He said Warren “stands out” among the 20-plus candidates — and particularly likes her plan to cancel student loan debt for a large swath of Americans, paying for it with a wealth tax.

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Illinois’ 45 billion dollar infrastructure plan is expected to attract a lot of outside contractors to help complete the work. But union worries over whether those contractors will pay the required salaries has spurred action from the Comptroller’s office.

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is getting a second wind. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a pair of bills on Monday expanding who can get a medical card, and when they can use it.


At least three young people in Illinois have been sent to the hospital in recent months after having used e-cigarettes, also known as “vapes.” That’s according to an investigation by the state’s Department of Public Health.


Ahead of the start of the Illinois State Fair next week, organizers say they’re optimistic about attendance and attractions. But the fair’s success is an open question.


In the wake of an increase in roadside injuries and deaths among Illinois state troopers, Governor J.B. Pritzker has approved harsher penalties for those who break what’s known as Scott’s Law.


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An unprecedented number of Illinois State Police troopers have been injured or killed this year at the hands of drivers who don’t move over when directed to. That’s prompted state and federal lawmakers to get tougher and more changes could be coming.

Kids across Illinois will be heading to school next month. For parents, that means checking off supply lists, calming those first day jitters, and even getting their kids vaccinated. Not everyone believes in that last one, which is why states like Illinois offer families exemptions for religious reasons.

But just last month, New York joined a handful of states that ban the practice, citing a large spike in measles cases. Though it hasn’t happened yet in Illinois, lawmakers across the country are mulling whether or not to do the same.

We explored whether Illinois could—or should—end religious exemptions for vaccines.


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Illinois reached an agreement this week with a suburban Chicago cleaning facility that was releasing toxins into the air at unsafe levels. But attorneys representing residents who live near the plant aren’t happy with it.

Springfield-based Land of Lincoln Goodwill is backpedaling on its recent decision to lay off a number of workers with disabilities. The move by CEO Sharon Durbin sparked broad criticism this week.


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A hot and unusually wet summer has stretches of Illinois roads at the breaking point. Drivers are being warned to watch out for road buckling.

Illinois farmers now have until July 15 to officially say they won’t be planting crops this year. A key deadline has been extended for claiming some types of crop insurance.

It's been one of the wettest springs in state history. Just last month alone, Illinois averaged more than five inches of rainfall, a whole inch above normal. It’s been so wet for so much of the planting season, farmers across the state haven’t had much of a chance to get their crops in the ground.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is rejecting a push to take on Chicago’s pension debt. But local pension costs are a growing problem across the state.

Illinois’ weed legalization law won’t take effect until next year, but the Illinois State Police is wasting no time. That agency is preparing to enforce new regulations surrounding legal cannabis.


The age to buy tobacco products in Illinois will officially be raised from 18 to 21 next week. Supporters say the move is aimed at stopping young people from starting a bad habit.


Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana. That makes the state the 11th to approve recreational use.

Illinois lawmakers from both parties have been bragging about passing a balanced budget this year, but Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state still needs to address more than $7 billion in unpaid bills.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed a controversial bill expanding access to reproductive healthcare, including abortions. The move comes as several other states have all but banned the procedure.


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