Amanda Vinicky

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. 

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Politics
8:27 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Update: The Status Of The Third Party Candidate For Illinois Governor

Chad Grimm
Credit GrimmForLiberty.com

Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are nearly tied in the polls as the November election approaches.

Libertarian's nominee, Chad Grimm, wasn't part of the first televised gubernatorial debate, hosted by public broadcasting stations and the League of Women Voters in Peoria Thursday night. The League's established rules require a candidate poll at least ten-percent; Grimm has polled at five-percent, or at times edging closer to eight.

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Politics
8:09 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Both Major Party Gov. Candidates Don't Approve Of Education Funds Distribution

Credit facebook.com/GovernorQuinn & facebook.com/BruceRauner

Both major party candidates for governor say Illinois should put more money into education. But neither is ready to embrace a controversial plan that would change how state money is distributed to schools.

A proposal passed by the state senate is meant to even out how much money schools have to operate. Schools where poverty is high and property values are low would get more state funding by cutting money for wealthier districts.

Supporters say the change is fair. Gov. Pat Quinn isn't on board.

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NPR Story
7:24 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Removing The Pension Protection Clause

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 12:32 pm

Illinois' ability to change retirement benefits of government workers is limited because of a provision in the state Constitution. But what about trying to make that a non-issue, by doing away with that clause?

Article XIII, Sect. 5 of the Illinois Constitution is direct: pension benefits, it says, "shall not be diminished or impaired."

Nevertheless, a law passed last year cuts benefits for current workers and retirees. Whether that squares with the Constitution is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

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NPR Story
3:19 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Toxic Ads Scorch, Spur Defamation Suit

A screenshot of the "Daisy" ad that aired in September, 1964. It's widely believed to be the first attack ad, and a political game-changer.

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 3:25 am

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm.

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-Illinois
7:47 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Organizations Collectively Register Thousands For "Every Vote Counts" Program

Credit League of Women Voters

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own.

A coalition of organizations, including the Latino Policy Forum, announced in Chicago on Monday that they collectively registered 100 thousand Illinois residents to vote as part of the "Every Vote Counts" movement.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

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Politics
7:27 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Today Is The Last Day To Register For Nov. 4 Election

Today is the final day to register to vote before the November election. Officials encourage voters to have their paperwork in by the regular registration deadline.

But those who miss it are not completely out of luck. Grace period registration and voting starts tomorrow and runs longer up to and including Election Day.

This spring, legislators approved online voter registration, which entails visiting the State Board of Elections website and providing information like name, address, the last four digits of a social security number, and a driver's license number.

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NPR Story
5:17 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Latino Voter Drive; Time Left For Procrastinators

Martin Torres has lead the Latino Policy Forum's voter registration drive this fall.

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:48 pm

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.

He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

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Politics
6:23 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Gov. Quinn Brings High-Profile Supporters Into Minimum Wage Campaign

Martin Sheen, "The West Wing"
Credit IMDb.com

This week, Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to campaign for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. But over the weekend, actor Martin Sheen lent a hand.

According to the trade magazine "Variety," Sheen made as much as 300-thousand dollars an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing." He says he was paid nothing fundraise for Quinn and call for an increase in minimum wage.

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County by county stats
1:56 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Competition Fierce To Grow, Distribute Medical Marijuana In Illinois

Illinois State Police districts
Credit Ryan Pumroy / WNIJ

Entrepreneurs looking to get in on the business side of Illinois' new medical marijuana program are facing fierce competition.  The state has come out with numbers showing just how much.  

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Government
8:12 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Inmate Escapes Vandalia Correctional Center, Found Nearby

Booking photo of Marcus Battice

The Illinois Department of Corrections is still investigating how an inmate escaped from the Vandalia Correctional Center last week. Investigators talked with more than 100 people to determine how Marcus Battice broke out of the minimum-security facility.

Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says that'll continue for a while; anyone in contact with Battice in the weeks leading up to his escape must be interviewed. The department has concluded it does NOT need to change what it does to prevent escapes.

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