Amanda Vinicky

Read Amanda's "The Players" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in '08 and '12.  

Though she's full-time with WUIS now, she previously interned with the station in graduate school; she graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in '05.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Amanda is insatiably curious, so please reach out to her and get in touch if you notice something interesting going on at the Capitol! She can be reached at (217) 206-6019 or (773) 217-0316. If she's not in the statehouse bureau, you can usually find Amanda tweeting, dining at a local restaurant, taking a jog around Springfield or Chicago or practicing yoga. 

On a freezing February day in 2007, President Barack Obama announced his bid for the nation's highest office in front of the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield -- the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic "House Divided" speech. At the time, Obama called for hope and change.

Nine years later -- to the very day -- Obama came back to Springfield. In his last year as president, he says he believes in the "politics of hope."

Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but the vaporized solution users inhale does contain nicotine.

Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Deerfield, says she doesn't consider them safe.

Morrison says she'd kept stories about young people "openly and blatantly using these products publicly, because there was no reason they shouldn't. There was nothing in law that prevented them from doing that.”

Morrison is sponsor of a new law, signed Friday, that she says closes a loophole.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

The President of the Illinois Senate, a Democrat,  is encouraging Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to rethink his priorities on student aid legislation, but the governor was quick to repeat his promise of a veto.

Senate President John Cullerton says he'll hold onto the legislation until Feb. 16 to give the governor time to "cool off," then he'll send it along.

In a statement, Cullerton urges Rauner to "not act rashly, but in the best interest of students."

www.il.ngb.army.mil

Soldiers from Illinois will soon be in Afghanistan and won't return until December.

About 30 members of the Springfield-based 233rd Military Police Company will get additional training in Texas before going overseas. 

At their deployment ceremony, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, commended and thanked the guardsmen -- such as Sgt. Chad Brown -- for volunteering.

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

College of DuPage

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

Budget gridlock has kept money from going to higher education since July. Then, in a matter of hours on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers approved a plan that would pump $720 million dollars into the system. 

Republicans are calling it a "cruel hoax" that's giving students false hope, even though they, too, say they want to help higher ed. It's a scenario that demonstrates the partisan tensions -- and politics -- at play.

Roughly one year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner stood before lawmakers and unveiled his so-called "turnaround agenda." He didn't use that phrase this time around. But Wednesday, the governor used his state-of-the-state address to continue fighting for his stalled vision. Rauner has spent months berating Democrats for failing to get on board. Not this time. He gave a more conciliatory message, and talked about "mutual respect." That wasn't enough for some of his critics, who don't trust the governor, or his change in tone.


 Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his second annual State of the State address at noon Wednesday. After a year of stalemate, he's expected to make some effort to bridge a bipartisan divide.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner delivers his second State of the State address tomorrow.  

  If you're curious about what Rauner will say, you're not alone. So is Senate President John Cullerton, a Democrat.

"Eager to hear what the governor's plans are on Wednesday, but it's in bad shape, and we want to change it.

Illinois is spending millions of dollars on foster care, Medicaid, and other expenses despite a lack of budget. 

That's because of laws that require it, as well as court orders. 

President of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Mark Stutrud says that's taken pressure off of politicians to reach a deal.

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