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.gov

Director Melissa Mlynski says the board usually must determine whether a public employer and a public employees’ union are legitimately at an impasse, or whether they should work it out.

This time, the contract talks in question cover 36,000 state employees.

“Our process will be as it always is, with all of our cases. Our investigation process and if necessary, our investigative hearing process, will follow the same course that they all do,” Mlynski said.

It’s expected to take weeks. State law doesn't set any deadlines. 

A new pension plan introduced Thursday by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner as a bipartisan deal immediately crashed and burned. 

afscme.org

Union leaders say Governor Bruce Rauner's move to end negotiations with Illinois' largest state employees union is frustrating and capricious. 

Rauner announced Friday that he was seeking an impasse in talks with AFSCME after roughly a year of talks.

Public school teachers aren't directly affected.

But Dan Montgomery -- who heads the Illinois Federation of Teachers -- says some of its members do work for the state.

Mongtomery says it was a knock to labor, especially given that it happened heading into Martin Luther King weekend.

A Chicago-area lawmaker is pushing for a measure allowing the city's mayor to be recalled. Now some want to take it a step further. 

Democratic State Sen. Napoleon Harris of Harvey says he’s introducing a plan to:

"...make sure that everyone was held accountable, no matter what level of government that you're in. This goes for county, township, alderman, everyone."

A Republican is sponsoring a similar plan.

New recall proposals include one that would only apply to Chicago's mayor.

Lawmakers return to Springfield with some new ideas, but the unfinished business of 2015 will likely overshadow other topics in the second year of the legislative session. 


afscme.org

Gov. Bruce Rauner says his team is trying to assess its options after an apparent breakdown in talks with AFSCME last week. 

The union is bargaining on behalf of 36,000 state workers for a new contract.

There's an impasse over whether there's an impasse. In this case, that's not just a synonym for "not going well." It's a high-stakes legal term, that basically signals the gulf that divides the two sides is so wide it can't be bridged, so there's no point to negotiating further.

Rauner says after a year and 67 bargaining sessions, he's seen no progress with AFSCME.

Wikipedia

Gov. Bruce Rauner says passage of his pro-business Turnaround Agenda would help curb violence in Chicago. Rauner recently said he's "disappointed" in how Mayor Rahm Emanuel has handled the outcry over video of a police officer killing Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.

State of Illinois

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is observing his first anniversary in office.

Rauner campaigned on a promise to shake up Springfield. On that account, at least, he has succeeded. Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse -- with no signs of it coming to an end.

Critics, including Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, lay the blame on the governor.

Some 36,000 state employees are members of AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union. Friday afternoon, the union announced that Gov. Bruce Rauner made a push to walk away from contract talks.


It's a week into the New Year, and gyms across the country are packed with people who've vowed to get in shape. Our Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky had resolved to be one of them, but admits that already, she's fallen short. Maybe Illinois' leaders will have better luck. Vinicky asked around for their civic-minded resolutions.

No matter your political persuasion, given the stalemate that's gripping the state, we can all agree that Illinois could use some self-improvements.

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