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. 

A stalemate persists, as Illinois begins a tenth month without a budget. Legislators are back in Springfield after a spring break. They now have a few months to also find an agreement on a new budget, to cover next year.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno says the urgency to pass a budget has heightened.

WUIS

  Republican Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon told a House committee Monday that he wants to warn users of serious potential side effect such as hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking.

Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program was sponsored by Democrat Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. Lang says he'd rather wait until the pilot program ends in 20-17 rather than pass piecemeal legislation.

"There may be an opportunity in the future to work on something like this. I just think it's ill-timed," he says.

Most of the grandstand acts for this summer's Illinois State Fair have been announced.

Illinois was without a budget for last year's state fair, which means some vendors have been waiting since August to get paid.

Illinois still has no budget. But the show (and the fair) must, evidently, go on.

Officials announced a series of country acts including Dierks Bently, Little Big Town, Cole Swindell, and Jake Owen. 

Mothers and their midwives are behind an effort to bring one of Illinois' black-markets above ground.

Trish Sherman Pfeiffer of Carbondale gave birth to her oldest son in the hospital, where he ended up with an infection.

"So he actually became sick because of the hospital care," she said.

She decided to have her next child at home, with the assistance of a Certified Professional Midwife -- someone with training, but who isn't a nurse.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

Spring break is over for Illinois legislators, who return to the Capitol this week.

It's been a month since the Illinois House convened.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has continually said lawmakers were wrong to take a recess, saying he "expressed my frustration to the leadership in the supermajority - both the President and the Speaker - that they had their caucus leave Springfield for a month when we're in the middle of this crisis."

"cutest baby foot" by Flickr User Lisa Borbely / (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether midwives -- who aren't nurses -- should be legally permitted to oversee home births.

Democratic Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston says it's a matter of safety. She's sponsor of a measure that would establish training and other standards.  

Gabel says close to one thousand Illinois women hire midwives to help deliver their babies now. She wants the practice regulated.

The Illinois Lottery is backtracking on a warning that it would have to stop selling tickets over the Internet.

  Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history.  $10 million went to just two races for the legislature.  Governor Bruce Rauner or his campaign fund shoveled much of the money into those record-spending primaries. That led to calls for more transparency.  Rauner won't say if that's something he supports.

"I'm sure a lot of people have different ideas about campaign finance and campaign finance reform. That's all lovely. That's a great topic for another day. That’s not something I'm going to talk about today," he says.  

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

 Governor Bruce Rauner is expressing frustration at the lack of progress in Illinois budget negotiations with Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.  The Republican governor on Wednesday accused Madigan and fellow Democrats of  ``playing games'' by purposefully stalling on talks.

“I believe that the supermajority in the legislature is using Chicago State and many other service providers in Illinois as leverage to force a massive tax hike. I believe that’s what’s going on and that’s wrong,” he said.

Unions landed a victory Tuesday: A tie at the U-S Supreme Court on a case perceived as do-or-die for public employee unions means current rules will remain in place. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll continue to try to ban so-called "fair share" fees.

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