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. 

Brian Mackey

Any companies that may end up helping build a wall on the U.S./Mexico border would stand to lose Illinois investments, under a proposal unveiled Tuesday.

The legislation would forbid the state's pension funds from investing in any firm that participates in the wall proposed by President-Elect Donald Trump.

State Representative Lisa Hernandez, a Chicago Democrat, says the plan sends a message that Illinois supports immigrants, not divisiveness.

"Application - pen2" By Flickr User Flazingo Photos / (CC X 2.0)

Fewer than one percent of applicants with criminal records are turned away when they apply to the state for a professional license.

But Illinois' Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation, Bryan Schneider, says anecdotally, the department knows many former convicts don't even try:

"What was going on was people perceived it as being impossible. So why come downtown, or anywhere quite frankly, for an interview, if you know you're going to be denied?"

Schneider is optimistic that a new license application will change that.

Governor Bruce Rauner's Facebook page.

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner was part of an 80-member delegation that traveled to the Vatican.  They witnessed Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich become a cardinal.

Other notable members of the group included Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul.   None of their trips were financed by taxpayers.  

In a Facebook video, Rauner said he had a lot of “interactions” with the delegation.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Now that a state board says there's no point to Gov. Bruce Rauner resuming negotiations with AFSCME, his administration is beginning to impose new terms on members of state government's biggest labor union. AFSCME, however, wants Rauner to return to the bargaining table. State employees across Illinois rallied for their cause Thursday.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and all four leaders of the Illinois General Assembly met Wednesday to discuss pending issues after Democrats weren't able to make a previous meeting.  

Among the conversation topics was the state budget.  The Illinois deficit currently exceeds $10 billion, and a report from the governor's budget office says it could reach $47 billion within five years.  

A stopgap spending plan is in place through December, but Illinois remains without a complete budget.

Democrats say Illinois needs to focus on identifying cuts and hiking taxes.

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