Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

Read Amanda's "Leadership" 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. 

state of Illinois

A non-binding referendum on a so-called millionaires' tax got support from about 64 percent of Illinois voters during the last election. Now, state legislators are preparing to vote on it.

The measure would include an extra three-percent surcharge on all income over $1 million. The profit would go to education.

It's an idea that Speaker Michael Madigan tried to push before, but it was short on votes to get through the House.

state of Illinois

Politicians say one of the most common complaints they hear is about high property taxes.

A measure that would put a hold on them is inching forward in the Illinois House, but whether the measure ever will become law is uncertain.

Freezing property taxes was one of the promises Gov. Bruce Rauner made on the campaign trail.

But it wasn't his plan that got called for a vote, leading Rauner's fellow Republicans once again to accuse Democrats of pulling a political stunt intended to embarrass the governor.

New ways to tackle Illinois' underfunded pension systems could be emerging, as the Republican governor appears to be backing away from his plan.

There's good reason many lawmakers are feeling flummoxed. Illinois' budget is already sagging. And with last week's state Supreme Court decision tossing a major pension law, the deficit is larger still.

The court decision was unequivocal - it's not constitutional to cut state employees' retirement benefits.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

The former chairman of Amtrak told Illinois lawmakers Wednesday that service cuts are inevitable should Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed 40 percent funding cut takes effect.

Fifty-six Amtrak trains run daily in Illinois. They run from Chicago to St. Louis, to Carbondale, to Quincy and up to Milwaukee, and more travelers are riding them.

Amtrak's former chairman Thomas Carper says he can't say how many, or which of those routes will be dropped.

But he says that will happen if Illinois doesn't come through with about $42 million.

state of Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner's right-to-work proposal will get a hearing today in the Illinois House. Unions are putting pressure on lawmakers to vote against the proposal.

    

The Illinois House is set to vote on the Republican governor's idea of local right-to-work zones, but it's not because Rauner's pushing for a vote. Gov. Rauner unveiled the concept in late January, during an appearance in Decatur, and has talked about it a lot since.

But no actual legislation's been introduced. There are only weeks left in the legislative session.

WUIS

For the second time in two weeks, the Illinois House held a special committee hearing on part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda". This time, it's focused on what business interests call "tort reform." 

Critics say it's tort deform.

Gov. Rauner and his business allies say Illinois's legal system gives plaintiffs and the trial lawyers that profit when their clients win an unfair edge. They back Rauner's plan to prevent what's known as "venue shopping," or when lawsuits are filed somewhere lawyers expert will be friendly to their cause.

state of Illinois

Illinois just overhauled its workers' compensation system in 2011, but lawmakers are considering further changes at the behest of businesses and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The full Illinois House spent much of Tuesday in a rare committee-of-the-whole meeting focused on workers' compensation. But they didn't vote.

Businesses say workers' comp is one of their biggest competitive disadvantages compared with companies in neighboring states. That's why it's at the top of Gov. Rauner's so-called Turnaround Agenda.

Illinois law requires that a contribution worth $1,000 or more has to be reported to the State Board of Elections.  And if it's just before an election, it has to happen right away.

After spending nearly $65 million, Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign has been assessed for a report that was received late, according to director Steve Sandvoss, who says he can't give details.

"In light of fairness to the respondent and due fairness principles, we don't comment publicly on the nature of an ongoing proceeding,” he said, “but rather, we'll let the process bear itself out.

WUIS

  Abraham Lincoln's hometown re-enacted his burial 150 years later in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. 

A funeral procession made its way through the streets of the capital city this weekend. It was replete with men wearing Civil War soldiers’ costumes and women in hoop skirts carrying black mourning parasols. 

There also were replicas of the ornate coffin, hearse and train car that carried the 16th president's body. 

The Illinois National Guard's leader, Adjutant General Daniel Krumrei, says the guard is headquartered at Camp Lincoln in Springfield.

Gov. Bruce Rauner this afternoon signed a law to help bring President Barack Obama's presidential library to Illinois. The General Assembly rushed to pass the measure just over a week ago.

At a private bill-signing in his office at the capitol, Rauner said he looks forward to having the President's library "come here, to the great state of Illinois."

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