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. 

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accused them of holding up progress, hundreds of Democrats packed into a ballroom rose to their feet and clapped when Senate President John Cullerton said this:

"We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don't work for Gov. Rauner, okay?"

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

At least a dozen Republicans are chasing the party's presidential nomination. But which of them will get a boost from Illinois' new, and privately wealthy, Republican governor?

During his campaign for the governor's mansion, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner kept bringing one well-known Republican in for help: New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie.

Here's Christie a year ago, stumping for Rauner in Springfield:

"Well, I'm thrilled to be back in Illinois,” Christie said. “I'm going to be back a number of times over the course of the next 55 days."

Updated estimates show that Illinois is on the trajectory to spend $2 billion more than the spending plan Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed because it's out of balance, even though it has gone 44 days without a budget.

Illinois has been without a budget since the start of July. And yet money's steadily flowing from state coffers, thanks to court orders, decrees, and other arrangements.

"We can't even close down the state right," said Republican Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Getting a speeding ticket in Illinois will cost you an additional $5, at least. It's part of a new state law regulating police body cameras.

A year after Ferguson, Missouri erupted in protests following the shooting of Michael Brown, Illinois has a law that's described as "landmark."

That $5 per $40 in fines tacked onto traffic citations will be used to create a fund police departments can draw on to pay for the cameras. Once they get them, the law sets standards for their use.

Brian Mackey / Illinois Public Radio

More than five billion dollars in federal funds may soon be on its way to social service agencies, despite Illinois still having no budget in place.

But it didn't happen without a political fight.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle joined together to release the federal money, but a slimmed-down version from what House Democrats wanted. They'd tried to also lump in $585 million of state money -- money they say Illinois has to pitch in, or it will lose out on more federal funding. 

Top political leaders say Illinois' lack of a budget won't put a dent in plans for the upcoming Illinois State Fair.

The fair in Springfield is set to kick off with the twilight parade on Thurs., Aug 13. When asked if there's a chance a budget will be in place by then, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan responded by saying it's possible.

"If everybody’s reasonable, and everybody functions in moderation and not in the extreme," he said last week. "And since we’re in continuous session..."

Many Chicago residents recently received a piece of mail criticizing their state legislator. That's a routine part of politics, but these flyers are getting special attention from one of Illinois' top politicians.

As Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan's organization frequently sends campaign brochures attacking Republicans. This time -- it's Madigan, and his fellow Democrats, who are the targets.

  Illinois' legislature and the governor remain at a standoff, as Illinois enters its seventh week without a budget. 

WUIS

State employees have begun receiving pink slips, as a budget impasse looms -- a total of 171 workers will lose their jobs. Workers have gotten notice that they'll be out of work by the end of September.

Those impacted are at the state's economic development and emergency management agencies, the commerce commission and the department of transportation. That also includes more than one hundred Dept. of Natural Resources employees.

The move comes as Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to close the Illinois State Museum and a shooting complex in Sparta.

Lisa Ryan

Lawmakers are looking to work around Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan to close the Illinois State Museum and related sites.

The Illinois Senate approved a measure Tuesday that would require the state to operate a museum and keep it open to the public. That comes after museum workers already receiving layoff notices.

Some Republicans, like Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, pushed back.

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