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. 

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline.  But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday saying that a deal is “possible,” it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch. He says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it,” he said. “I will veto that bill."

Governor Rauner's relentless push for a reduction in unions' power and Democrats' sustained refusal to go along has Illinois set to round out an eleventh month without a budget.

It's under this backdrop that the two parties are also tasked with crafting next fiscal year's budget.

Indications early this week were that it wasn't going well.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said following a meeting with Rauner on Wednesday that the governor and his "agents" were "unpersuasive" in making the case for Rauner's agenda before small "working" groups.

Ounce of Prevention

Governor Bruce Rauner is being sued by his wife.

Well, her organization anyway. Diana Rauner is the CEO of Ounce of Prevention, a nonprofit that's owed $6 million dollars from Illinois per a contract.

Ounce's Chief Operating Office Sarah Bradley says there's nothing to make of the First Lady's involvement in the lawsuit. "This was a business decision that we made with the support and leadership of Diana and the support of the board. And this is for us about fairness and our contracting with the state," she said.

  A potential new state budget barely passed the Illinois House last night,  but Gov. Bruce Rauner is already signaling a veto.

The Republican says the budget spends $7 billion more than the state takes in.

But Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie -- one of the top Democrats -- says that, with less than a week left until the end of the legislative session, the spending plan is like insurance.

An attempt to reach a deal on Governor Bruce Rauner's pro-business, anti-labor demands isn't working out for House Democrats who are set to go it alone on a new state budget.

    

That's the takeaway from a meeting between Rauner and the legislative leaders this morning.

Republicans, led by Rauner, say they won't increase taxes to balance the budget until they get fundamental economic changes.

To that end, bipartisan groups of legislators have been meeting in private on the governor's agenda.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he told Rauner:

WUIS

  The end of the month -- and a major deadline for getting a state budget passed -- is getting closer.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is standing firm. He says he'll agree to raising taxes, if Democrats agree with his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

Lawmakers continue to negotiate those items in private.

Representative Dan Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, is part of the talks.

He says the issues are "tender."

Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

  Last week, thousands of union members rallied in Springfield,  asking lawmakers to override a gubernatorial veto.  The bill would change how the state negotiates with labor.

Democratic Representative Emanuel Chris Welch now says he  plans to call the measure for a vote.

He says state employees made their voices heard.

"Both in the districts and down here. I think the rally in Springfield last week was very impressive. And people are hearing that. So we're going to put it on the board and see if the votes are there," he said.

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