Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

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. 

Illinois Child Care Bureau

The future of a state-subsidized day care program is in limbo.

The budget passed by the last class of lawmakers and signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn cut it by millions of dollars.  That means money for it has run out.

While that's not expected to be an immediate problem, some say daycare providers could begin cutting off services as soon as later this month if payments are delayed. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner late last week blamed his predecessor for creating the high-pressure situation.

WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner nears the top of a national list of last year's biggest campaign contributors. 

The Center for Public Integrity gathered data on political giving to state races. It used that information to crown "sugar daddies of state politics."

Rauner and his wife, Diana, came in seventh. That's just counting the money Rauner put into his campaign committee before Election Day.

WUIS

It has been about two years since 26 people, most of them young children, died in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter was 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

A report studying him was released late last year by Connecticut's child advocate office. It shows problems identifying and treating his mental illness.

"There were several missed opportunities to help Lanza," said Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan on the opening day of the new General Assembly.

The fate of Illinois' pension law will stay on the fast track. Illinois' Supreme Court justices today rejected a request for a delay.

It can take a long time for a case to wend its way through the courts. But after a Sangamon County judge in November ruled Illinois' overhaul of public worker pensions unconstitutional, the state Supreme Court agreed to take up the case on an expedited basis.

On Tuesday, lawyers contesting the law tried to slow it down by a month.

ISBE

The Illinois Board of Education is asking for a $730 million increase in its budget next year.

The state superintendent of schools is well aware of the state's financial strain. 

Christopher Koch has been in charge as the state has failed to come through with all the money it's supposed to give to meet local district's  basic needs. But, Koch says, "education is the smartest investment we can make in the economic future of our state."

Office of the Illinois Attorney General

Unions and others fighting to prevent Illinois' pension law from taking effect are asking the state Supreme Court to ease up on its accelerated timeline. 

A Sangamon County judge ruled the measure unconstitutional. But Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed paperwork earlier this month that says the state can use "police powers" to cut pensions.

Ten other groups filed briefs backing Madigan’s position. 

John Fitzgerald is an attorney who represents retired public school teachers. He says lawyers need more time to respond to all of those additional arguments.

twitter.com/BruceRauner

During his campaign, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continually blamed "union bosses" for contributing to the state's financial woes. 

Now he's making direct appeals to workers. 

It wasn't just the campaign; during his inaugural address, Rauner touched again on what labor leaders consider an anti-union theme. He said Illinois has an ethical crisis because taxpayers “see government union bosses negotiating sweetheart deals across the table from governors they've spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect."

Anyone will be able to look up the names of political appointees to state jobs under an executive order Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Thursday, Jan. 15.

  By law, the vast majority of state employees are to be hired based on merit, not their political affiliation. Higher-level jobs are the exception. A governor gets to choose whoever he wants to be in his inner circle, and in policy-driven jobs. Rauner's executive order requires the names of these political hires to be published on a state website.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner stepped directly into a big budget hole when he was sworn in this week. The state’s about halfway through its fiscal year. 

Illinois' fiscal year goes through June. But before Rauner took over, state agencies had sent signals, they were already running short on cash.

All eyes on are the new governor to see how he deals with what the administration says is a $1.6 billion mid-year hole.

State employees will have to be more forthcoming about their volunteer work, legal status and property holdings under an executive order Gov. Bruce Rauner signed this afternoon. At the same time, the new governor was unwilling to specify what more he'll disclose about his finances.

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