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. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A week from today is a shameful anniversary for Illinois. It will mean the state has gone a full year without a complete budget.

          

Bruce Rauner has been at the state's helm since last January -- which means he'll be governor for at least another two and a half years.

Back in May, Democratic State Representative Lou Lang remarked:

“…That it was entirely possible that there would not be an agreed budget during the entire four years of Bruce Rauner's governorship."

State of Illinois

Illinois legislators who have been working privately for the past month to craft a temporary budget have one drafted, but that doesn't make it a done deal.

Illinois lawmakers will return to Springfield Wednesday. That’s only two days before the new fiscal year begins and the end of a full year of the state having no budget.

The strain of going nearly a year without a budget coupled with doubt that a full deal can be reached  in the near future have made a stopgap budget the priority.

www.congress.gov

Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville says the nation doesn't need new gun laws, including a ban for anyone on the terror watch-list.

He says the FBI already has 72 hours to block someone who's on the list from buying a gun.

"I would like to see law enforcement enforce the existing laws and I just don't think they're doing a good job of that, and that's exactly the case right now with what they say in Orlando,” Davis said.

Davis also opposes greater restrictions on so-called assault weapons. He says terrorists don't care if they break the law.

Flickr user Ryo Chijiiwa / "Tommy Guns" (CC BY 2.0)

In the wake of the recent mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, an Illinois legislator has a plan he says is a new path to keeping firearms from terrorists.

    

A plan before Congress seeks to ban anyone on the terrorism watch list from being able to buy a gun.

The proposal just introduced by Illinois State Representative Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, takes another tack.

It would essentially prevent anyone charged with making a terrorist threat from having gun.

Brian Mackey

The cause near and dear to the First Lady of Illinois' heart has taken a hit. She said so herself Thursday with Governor Bruce Rauner looking on.

As CEO of Ounce of Prevention, Diana Rauner gave a slideshow presentation at a meeting of the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth. She began by saying Illinois has long been a leader in early childhood education.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

Governor Bruce Rauner continues to publicly hammer lawmakers for canceling today's session in Springfield.

It's kicked off the latest round of a war of words between the state's top political leaders, as Illinois remains without a budget.

Rauner says House Speaker Michael Madigan reneged on his commitment to hold session every Wednesday this month.

"They should be here virtually every day, every day of the week. I'm here, workin'. They should be here, workin',” Rauner said.

mapamendment.org

Supporters of changing how Illinois draws its legislative maps are defending their effort in court.

  

The initiative is facing a lawsuit, similar to one that brought down a redistricting plan two years ago. Both attempts would have a commission to draw districts, instead of lawmakers themselves.

David Mellett is the Independent Maps campaign manager. He says the 2014 judge's ruling helped guide this year's plan.

Brian Mackey

The inability of Illinois Democrats to agree on a budget leaves open a window for Governor Bruce Rauner to push one of his own.

The Republican is doing a campaign-style tour to push for a skeleton budget. He says it would keep government's basic functions going until January -- except for education. 

He wants schools fully funded, for the whole year. Making sure schools have the money to open come fall is a top priority for most legislators. But they’re divided over how much to spend on education.

Illinois Democrats say they will not pass Governor Bruce Rauner's last-minute pitch for a stopgap state budget, at least not Tuesday, the final day of the legislature's regular spring session.

Just days ago, Rauner's office nixed the idea of a temporary budget -- saying it'd kick the can down the road.

Now, he's had a "turnaround." He's pushing a plan to fund schools, finally pay what's owed to cash-starved social service agencies, and generally keep things running through the calendar year.

Brian Mackey

Illinois legislators took time during session today to honor troops killed in war.

Senator Mike Hastings is a Democrat from Tinley Park, and also a combat veteran.

He says Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen.

"But I also think that it's a day to remember what you learned from their lives. And it's an obligation amongst yourselves to share their memories, to ensure that they're not forgotten," Hastings said.

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