Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

Read Amanda's "Leadership" 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. 

Illinois Public Radio

By the end of this month, Illinois legislators are supposed to be finished with their work. That includes passing a new budget. And lawmakers are complaining that Gov. Bruce Rauner isn’t helping them move that process forward.

Rauner has spent a lot of time since he was sworn in traveling the state selling what he calls his "Turnaround" agenda, with statements like:

"You know we've got a mess on our hands, we've got a financial crisis. But we're going to get through it. We're going to restructure the government."

WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has stayed out of the public eye for the past couple of days. But he's making his feelings on the budget known in an article published late Wednesday night.

The Illinois legislative session is scheduled to end  May 31, but Rauner is signaling he's prepared to keep it going much longer. Rauner -- the first Republican governor Illinois has had in a dozen years -- wrote a first-person opinion piece for The State Journal-Register in Springfield.

state of Illinois

Partisan accusations continue with just a dozen days until the General Assembly is set to adjourn.

Republican legislators' leaders came out swinging Tuesday. They held a press conference to accuse Democrats of using "gotcha" politics to try to embarrass Governor Bruce Rauner and of not taking Rauner's pro-business prescription for Illinois seriously.

A case with a $10 billion verdict at stake returns to the Illinois Supreme Court this morning a decade after justices threw it out. 

The heart of the question is whether tobacco giant Philip Morris defrauded smokers by pitching "light" cigarettes.

Back in 2003, a court ruled "yes" and granted smokers a monster $10 billion judgment. It was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court, citing federal regulations. It volleyed the case down to a lower court.

Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who eked out another decade term in November's election, will once again be on the bench.

state of Illinois

A non-binding referendum on a so-called millionaires' tax got support from about 64 percent of Illinois voters during the last election. Now, state legislators are preparing to vote on it.

The measure would include an extra three-percent surcharge on all income over $1 million. The profit would go to education.

It's an idea that Speaker Michael Madigan tried to push before, but it was short on votes to get through the House.

state of Illinois

Politicians say one of the most common complaints they hear is about high property taxes.

A measure that would put a hold on them is inching forward in the Illinois House, but whether the measure ever will become law is uncertain.

Freezing property taxes was one of the promises Gov. Bruce Rauner made on the campaign trail.

But it wasn't his plan that got called for a vote, leading Rauner's fellow Republicans once again to accuse Democrats of pulling a political stunt intended to embarrass the governor.

New ways to tackle Illinois' underfunded pension systems could be emerging, as the Republican governor appears to be backing away from his plan.

There's good reason many lawmakers are feeling flummoxed. Illinois' budget is already sagging. And with last week's state Supreme Court decision tossing a major pension law, the deficit is larger still.

The court decision was unequivocal - it's not constitutional to cut state employees' retirement benefits.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The former chairman of Amtrak told Illinois lawmakers Wednesday that service cuts are inevitable should Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed 40 percent funding cut takes effect.

Fifty-six Amtrak trains run daily in Illinois. They run from Chicago to St. Louis, to Carbondale, to Quincy and up to Milwaukee, and more travelers are riding them.

Amtrak's former chairman Thomas Carper says he can't say how many, or which of those routes will be dropped.

But he says that will happen if Illinois doesn't come through with about $42 million.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.

    

The Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, but it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote. Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since.

But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.

WUIS

For the second time in two weeks, the Illinois House held a special committee hearing on part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda". This time, it's focused on what business interests call "tort reform." 

Critics say it's tort deform.

Gov. Rauner and his business allies say Illinois's legal system gives plaintiffs and the trial lawyers that profit when their clients win an unfair edge. They back Rauner's plan to prevent what's known as "venue shopping," or when lawsuits are filed somewhere lawyers expert will be friendly to their cause.

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