Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

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. 

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Politics
6:05 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Rauner Rings Warning Bells In Advance Of Inauguration

A memo from Bruce Rauner's budget chief continues to spell out how Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner sees Illinois' financial situation. 

The three page document says, "Illinois' massive budget hole is the direct result of previous governors and General Assemblies giving away benefits they couldn't afford, deploying dishonest budget practices and kicking the can down the road." It lists borrowing, putting off pension payments, and the use of gimmicks as culprits. 

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NPR Story
7:36 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Will Stermer's Promotion Bring A Pension Bump Too?

Gov. Pat Quinn Friday appointed Jerry Stermer as comptroller.

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 5:56 am

It was long a practice of Illinois politicians: Give a buddy a short-term job at the end of his career in order to boost his pension. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law that's supposed to put an end to that practice. But what about the friend who Quinn just gave a promotion?

The elevation of Jerry Stermer from the governor's budget director to Illinois' comptroller will bring with it a raise of ten thousand dollars for a full year's work.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Rauner Named Nation's Most Influential Pension Figure

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:43 pm

The trade magazine "Institutional Investor" has ranked Illinois' incoming governor as its most influential player in U.S. pensions. An article says Bruce Rauner may regret ever having run for office, given the state's massive longterm pension debt, and the difficulty he is expected to have in addressing it.

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NPR Story
5:57 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Rauner Favors Merging Comptroller, Treasurer. Just Not Now.

Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner took a handful of questions from reporters following his appearance Tuesday at a Better Government Association in Springfield; the audience was delighted to hear that he'll live in the capital city.

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:00 pm

Many of Illinois' top politicians will pay their respects to the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at a memorial service today (Wed., Dec. 17). Topinka died last week at the age of 70, shortly after having a stroke. Even as she's being mourned, political jockeying is underway to determine who'll next take her job.

Topinka passed away a month before she was to be sworn into her next term as Comptroller -- the position in state government responsible for paying the bills.

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NPR Story
3:14 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Online Ads Hint At Rideshare Expansion Downstate

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 3:10 pm

Hints are popping up that the controversial rideshare service called Uber may be expanding its reach in Illinois.

Uber is riding a wave of victory in Illinois. The company fended off regulations it said were too onerous, and helped the General Assembly craft a compromise measure instead. That's awaiting action from the governor.

But the rideshare service may already be making good on plan to grow outside the Chicago region.

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General Assembly
9:57 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Lawmakers Approve Bobcat Season

Credit Illinois DNR website

Bobcats may become fair game for Illinois hunters. Legislators this week sent the governor a plan to make it legal to kill the animal.

The once-threatened species has rebounded, to the point that the state's Department of Natural Resources says there are too many.

Since bobcats were removed from the protected list in 1999, Sen. John Sullivan, D-Quincy, says they've gotten out of control.

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Politics
6:36 am
Fri December 5, 2014

State Lawmakers Done For The Year

Credit state of Illinois

State legislators are done with their work until Republican Bruce Rauner becomes governor next month. Members of the House finished their work Wednesday, and after a morning of debate, the Senate adjourned yesterday afternoon.  The General Assembly meets over a two year cycle.  This one is coming to a somewhat lackluster close. Though the House declared itself totally done, Senate President John Cullerton is leaving open the possibility of calling legislators back to Springfield. "But it's not anticipated we'll be having any more action.

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Politics
6:26 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Illinois Senators Approve Wage Hike...Without House

Credit Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois Senators approved a plan last night that would hike the state's minimum wage to eleven dollars an hour. 

Jackie Collins, a Chicago Democrat, says that would improve quality of life for low-income workers, and reduce their need for government assistance.

"I believe that what we are doing here, we will send a message to those corporations - the multi-billionaire corporations, that no longer will we support sub-par wages, in the knowledge that the government will help their workers afford food, housing and healthcare."

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NPR Story
6:33 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Last Minute Rush To Change Freedom Of Information Act

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:06 pm

Illinois residents could have a harder time accessing government information under new legislation before the General Assembly. 

The plan, SB2799, makes it harder for people to get repaid legal costs when a government wrongfully denies access to public documents. 

At the same time, it makes it easier for governments to keep certain information off-limits.

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NPR Story
2:46 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Karmeier Keeps Seat ... Barely, After Big Money Race

Justice Lloyd Karmeier

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:21 pm

The sole Illinois Supreme Court justice who was on the ballot in last month's election was sworn in for a second term this morning. Official results released last night by the Illinois State Board of Elections show just how close Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was to losing his seat, after an election that saw hefty spending on both sides.

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