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. 

Not so long ago, prior to 1999, Illinois considered bobcats a threatened species. Come winter, hunters will be able to harvest the cats.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is an avid hunter -- of birds. No word on if that hobby contributed to his decision to sign a new law, authorizing bobcat hunting.

His office sent word of his signature without comment.

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Illinois has been without a spending plan since the start of this month.

Democrats did pass a budget by the end of May deadline only for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to reject nearly all of it, calling it out of balance. He left school funding intact.

Last week, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan was coy about whether legislators would try to reinstate the vetoed spending.

"Well, we're working through that and so as soon as the information is available, we'll let you know, stay close to the phone," said Michael Madigan.

Illinois State Museum / state of Illinois

Supporters of the Illinois State Museum told state legislators Monday about a slew of reasons why it should remain open, but it doesn't appear like anyone who will make the decision on its future was there to hear much of it. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner targeted the museum and its collections center. But advocates told lawmakers at a public hearing that shutting down the museum would open the door to lawsuits.

Rauner's Dept. of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal was the first to testify.

WUIS

Illinois's high court has been asked to decide once and for all whether Illinois can pay government workers when there's no state budget.

Despite the budget impasse, state employees are getting their paychecks for July. The Comptroller's office says that's thanks to a decision from a St. Clair County judge.

But a Cook County judge had the opposite take, and ruled that without a budget, Illinois loses authority to pay all workers.

Illinois Issues / WUIS

Even as Gov. Bruce Rauner pushes for legislators to authorize a new way of drawing the state’s political map, a citizen-driven initiative is underway.

As part of the bargain Rauner is trying to make with Democrats, he wants the legislature to agree to give up control for drawing district boundaries.

Cindi Canary isn’t waiting around.

There's no clear path forward on a long-term budget solution for Illinois, and temporary solutions are murky too. As the stalemate in Springfield persists, Democrats are moving forward with an emergency spending plan, that would cover "essential" services through July. It would also keep state workers' paychecks coming for the next month.

Brian Mackey

In the midst of a budget stalemate, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he's re-introducing his five-point agenda, with some changes. The Republican is also putting out a new pension plan.

The state still has the nation's biggest unfunded pension liability. Illinois’ Supreme Court tossed lawmakers' last plan for dealing with it.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he'll soon introduce a new, 500 page proposal.

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

State employees can expect to get paychecks through July. That's for work performed before the new fiscal year began.

After that, will they get paid if a budget impasse continues? A court hearing this morning could help decide.

Talk to Illinois' Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, a Democrat, and it sounds simple. Without a budget, Illinois has lost much of its authority to spend money.

"In order for all employees to be paid their full amount of pay, a budget needs to be passed by the legislature and approved by the governor,” Madigan said.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Voters throughout central Illinois will Tuesday winnow down who will replace Aaron Schock in Congress. Schock, a Republican, left his seat in March following a swirl of controversy, and ethical questions.

Shock's resignation forced Illinois to schedule a special election. After a brief campaign, it's time for the primary.

Head of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan, says Democrats will be "competitive."

state of Illinois

The new fiscal year began Wednesday, and Illinois has no new spending plan in place. It could be a while before there is one, but Illinois isn't alone.

Across the border in Wisconsin, lawmakers can't reach a spending deal.

Over on the east coast, North Carolina is in budgetary flux. Pennsylvania's negotiations are dragging on, and New Hampshire and Alabama are also facing similar issues.

National Conference of State Legislatures' fiscal analyst Arturo Perez says more states than usual have unfinished budgets.

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