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. 

ILGA.gov

It can take a decade or more for the FDA to approve a new medicine, but a measure in the Illinois House is meant to help people who can't wait that long.

Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat from Chicago, says for people who have been told they have just a short time to live, it could be a ray of hope. 

"It's the last, best hope for some of our constituents," Harris said. "I'm very proud to carry it. I'm proud to give this hope to people who have no place else to turn."

Tim Nuding LinkedIn profile

Social service agencies are reeling from sudden budget cuts. But more could be on the way.

Some Democrats say they were taken off guard when, two weeks after legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner passed a law to handle the budget through June, Rauner's administration said certain programs would be cut off.

Grants for a quit-smoking hotline, support for autistic kids and funding for a teen after-school program were all eliminated. In some cases, workers have been laid off, and services were discontinued.

WUIS

Illinois legislators will return to Springfield this week after a two-week break. There's some suggestion it will have been their last hiatus for a while.

Legislators are set to spend a lot of the next seven weeks in session.

There's a lot to do: Gov. Bruce Rauner is pushing a massive agenda. He wants to overhaul the workers' compensation system, and to give municipalities the ability to rein in labor unions. Plus, there's dealing with a $6 billion deficit.

WUIS

Illinois’s House speaker is staking an early claim in what may be a contentious budget battle. 

Billions of dollars in cuts proposed by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner already spurred rallies at the capitol. Groups foretell of grave consequences. 

House Speaker Michael Madigan says he acknowledges Illinois is in a difficult budget situation.

But there's one area he wants to spend more on: state crime labs.

U.S Sen. Mark Kirk will face a challenge from Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who announced Monday she'll run for the seat. It's unknown who else will vie for the spot, but it's already expected to be a tight race.

Duckworth, who was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, took to YouTube to declare her candidacy.

"I'm running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 because it's time for Washington to be held accountable, and to put Illinois' families and communities first," she said in the video.

WUIS

Legislators are trying to protect kids from measles, without offending anti-vaccine parents.

The outbreak of measles at a Palatine learning center in February has lawmakers wanting to protect children, but it's a politically sensitive topic.

When Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno presented her proposal to a legislative committee, she was upfront about her desire to not step on the toes of parents who choose to not vaccinate their kids, while at the same time wanting to protect children.

state of Illinois

There's a reason analysts say Illinois has the nation's lowest credit rating. It has the nation's largest unfunded pension liability. 

Credit analysts like Moody's Ted Hampton are waiting to see what the Illinois Supreme Court has to say about Illinois' 2013 law reducing workers' pensions. 

A ruling against the law it may not further downgrade Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating. That's because Hampton says the rating already presumes it's not feasible. 

But Hampton says there is way the justices' decision may nudge the rating higher.

state of Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court has opened its doors for a special evening session tonight. The justices want Gov. Bruce Rauner and other legislators to meet and watch as they hear a case. 

Chief Justice Rita Garman says in a news release that she wants to give lawmakers a window into the system's essential checks and balances. 

Rauner's office announced that he will attend the session, beginning at 6:20 p.m.

childcarecenter.us

Protestors filled the Illinois capitol yesterday and staged a small sit-in in front of Gov. Bruce Rauner's office. They're trying to pressure Rauner and legislators to come up with money for a program that helps low-income families afford daycare. 

Valena Mulonzi works at Steps to the Future daycare in Calumet City. She says lawmakers should listen to parents' pleas.

The many years legislators spent crafting a measure to rein in the state's pension costs came to a head yesterday in 52-and-a-half minute hearing before the Illinois Supreme Court. It's now up to the seven justices whether a law that reduces employees' and retirees' benefits is constitutional.

Even before then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension overhaul into law just over a year ago, everyone knew it would come to this.

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