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

The cause near and dear to the First Lady of Illinois' heart has taken a hit. She said so herself Thursday with Governor Bruce Rauner looking on.

As CEO of Ounce of Prevention, Diana Rauner gave a slideshow presentation at a meeting of the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth. She began by saying Illinois has long been a leader in early childhood education.

FLICKR User Jim Bowen

Governor Bruce Rauner continues to publicly hammer lawmakers for canceling today's session in Springfield.

It's kicked off the latest round of a war of words between the state's top political leaders, as Illinois remains without a budget.

Rauner says House Speaker Michael Madigan reneged on his commitment to hold session every Wednesday this month.

"They should be here virtually every day, every day of the week. I'm here, workin'. They should be here, workin',” Rauner said.

mapamendment.org

Supporters of changing how Illinois draws its legislative maps are defending their effort in court.

  

The initiative is facing a lawsuit, similar to one that brought down a redistricting plan two years ago. Both attempts would have a commission to draw districts, instead of lawmakers themselves.

David Mellett is the Independent Maps campaign manager. He says the 2014 judge's ruling helped guide this year's plan.

Brian Mackey

The inability of Illinois Democrats to agree on a budget leaves open a window for Governor Bruce Rauner to push one of his own.

The Republican is doing a campaign-style tour to push for a skeleton budget. He says it would keep government's basic functions going until January -- except for education. 

He wants schools fully funded, for the whole year. Making sure schools have the money to open come fall is a top priority for most legislators. But they’re divided over how much to spend on education.

Illinois Democrats say they will not pass Governor Bruce Rauner's last-minute pitch for a stopgap state budget, at least not Tuesday, the final day of the legislature's regular spring session.

Just days ago, Rauner's office nixed the idea of a temporary budget -- saying it'd kick the can down the road.

Now, he's had a "turnaround." He's pushing a plan to fund schools, finally pay what's owed to cash-starved social service agencies, and generally keep things running through the calendar year.

Brian Mackey

Illinois legislators took time during session today to honor troops killed in war.

Senator Mike Hastings is a Democrat from Tinley Park, and also a combat veteran.

He says Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen.

"But I also think that it's a day to remember what you learned from their lives. And it's an obligation amongst yourselves to share their memories, to ensure that they're not forgotten," Hastings said.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline.  But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday saying that a deal is “possible,” it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch. He says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

"That's the bill that has a $7 billion implied deficit in it,” he said. “I will veto that bill."

Governor Rauner's relentless push for a reduction in unions' power and Democrats' sustained refusal to go along has Illinois set to round out an eleventh month without a budget.

It's under this backdrop that the two parties are also tasked with crafting next fiscal year's budget.

Indications early this week were that it wasn't going well.

House Speaker Michael Madigan said following a meeting with Rauner on Wednesday that the governor and his "agents" were "unpersuasive" in making the case for Rauner's agenda before small "working" groups.

Ounce of Prevention

Governor Bruce Rauner is being sued by his wife.

Well, her organization anyway. Diana Rauner is the CEO of Ounce of Prevention, a nonprofit that's owed $6 million dollars from Illinois per a contract.

Ounce's Chief Operating Office Sarah Bradley says there's nothing to make of the First Lady's involvement in the lawsuit. "This was a business decision that we made with the support and leadership of Diana and the support of the board. And this is for us about fairness and our contracting with the state," she said.

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