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. 

In one of his first acts as Illinois' new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner Monday said he'll issue an executive order requiring all state agencies to stop spending money they don't have to.

A special election for the office of Illinois comptroller is almost surely on the horizon. Democratic members of the Illinois General Assembly hurried today to pass a measure setting the election up, and Democratic Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign it into law.                                                                                      

It goes back to last month, when Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka suddenly died. She was about to begin a new, four-year term.

A memo from Bruce Rauner's budget chief continues to spell out how Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner sees Illinois' financial situation. 

The three page document says, "Illinois' massive budget hole is the direct result of previous governors and General Assemblies giving away benefits they couldn't afford, deploying dishonest budget practices and kicking the can down the road." It lists borrowing, putting off pension payments, and the use of gimmicks as culprits. 

It was long a practice of Illinois politicians: Give a buddy a short-term job at the end of his career in order to boost his pension. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law that's supposed to put an end to that practice. But what about the friend who Quinn just gave a promotion?

The elevation of Jerry Stermer from the governor's budget director to Illinois' comptroller will bring with it a raise of ten thousand dollars for a full year's work.

The trade magazine "Institutional Investor" has ranked Illinois' incoming governor as its most influential player in U.S. pensions. An article says Bruce Rauner may regret ever having run for office, given the state's massive longterm pension debt, and the difficulty he is expected to have in addressing it.

Many of Illinois' top politicians will pay their respects to the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at a memorial service today (Wed., Dec. 17). Topinka died last week at the age of 70, shortly after having a stroke. Even as she's being mourned, political jockeying is underway to determine who'll next take her job.

Topinka passed away a month before she was to be sworn into her next term as Comptroller -- the position in state government responsible for paying the bills.

Hints are popping up that the controversial rideshare service called Uber may be expanding its reach in Illinois.

Uber is riding a wave of victory in Illinois. The company fended off regulations it said were too onerous, and helped the General Assembly craft a compromise measure instead. That's awaiting action from the governor.

But the rideshare service may already be making good on plan to grow outside the Chicago region.

Illinois DNR website

Bobcats may become fair game for Illinois hunters. Legislators this week sent the governor a plan to make it legal to kill the animal.

The once-threatened species has rebounded, to the point that the state's Department of Natural Resources says there are too many.

Since bobcats were removed from the protected list in 1999, Sen. John Sullivan, D-Quincy, says they've gotten out of control.

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."

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