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. 

state of Illinois

State legislators are done with their work until Republican Bruce Rauner becomes governor next month. Members of the House finished their work Wednesday, and after a morning of debate, the Senate adjourned yesterday afternoon.  The General Assembly meets over a two year cycle.  This one is coming to a somewhat lackluster close. Though the House declared itself totally done, Senate President John Cullerton is leaving open the possibility of calling legislators back to Springfield. "But it's not anticipated we'll be having any more action.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / "Money" (CC v. 2.0)

Illinois Senators approved a plan last night that would hike the state's minimum wage to eleven dollars an hour. 

Jackie Collins, a Chicago Democrat, says that would improve quality of life for low-income workers, and reduce their need for government assistance.

"I believe that what we are doing here, we will send a message to those corporations - the multi-billionaire corporations, that no longer will we support sub-par wages, in the knowledge that the government will help their workers afford food, housing and healthcare."

Illinois residents could have a harder time accessing government information under new legislation before the General Assembly. 

The plan, SB2799, makes it harder for people to get repaid legal costs when a government wrongfully denies access to public documents. 

At the same time, it makes it easier for governments to keep certain information off-limits.

The sole Illinois Supreme Court justice who was on the ballot in last month's election was sworn in for a second term this morning. Official results released last night by the Illinois State Board of Elections show just how close Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was to losing his seat, after an election that saw hefty spending on both sides.

Feeding Illinois

Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Gov. Pat Quinn has announced $4.5 million of funding for Illinois' food banks.

One of seven Illinois residents doesn't know where, or when, they'll get their next meal.

Director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository Kate Maehr says that's a sobering reality any day. But especially around Thanksgiving.

"At a time that we all come together around a table, to celebrate the joy and the fortune that we have, it is unconscionable to think that there are two million people in the state of Illinois who don't have food to eat."

Although one court has tossed out Illinois’ mega pension overhaul, state leaders are likely to wait on another legal opinion before deciding what to do next.

There’s no question -- the Sangamon County Circuit Court judge’s ruling is meaningful. But Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office is appealing to the state Supreme Court.

Madigan has said it makes sense for lawmakers to wait to hear from those justices.

Illinois' incoming governor has asked the outgoing one to put state hiring on hold for the remainder of his term.

Even as he was being impeached, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich kept making key appointments. A new Dept. of Natural Resources chief; Barack Obama's open U.S. Senate seat.

Gov. Pat Quinn is by no means under that sort of dark cloud.

And Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner says he has no reason to believe Quinn's doing anything inappropriate.

Amanda Vinicky

The sponsor of a minimum wage hike says she'll push to get it passed during the legislature's veto session, which began Wednesday.

Sen. Kim Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood, pointed to the results of a non-binding referendum. Sixty-seven percent of Illinois voters said “yes," Illinois should raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by Jan. 1, 2015. The current rate is $8.25.

Results showed support for an increase in much of the state, including traditionally Republican areas, like the Chicago suburbs and downstate.

uber.com

This week, lawmakers could decide whether Illinois will regulate ridesharing services, like Lyft and Uber.

Illinois Board of Higher Education

New legislation could help give veterans a leg up in securing a contract with an Illinois university or college. 

The measure does not put restrictions on the vendors universities can choose. But it does require they report how much they spend on veteran owned businesses, as well as those run by minorities and women.

Dan Johnson, who represents the Federation of Women Contractors, says many institutions already have diversity goals for their procurement programs.

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