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. 

Illinois Lottery

More Illinois Lottery prizewinners won't be able to reap their rewards immediately. The Lottery says claims will be paid only once a budget is passed.

The Illinois Lottery website has a press release, dated Aug. 13, 2015. It quotes Homer Glen resident Rhonda Rasche, who'd won $50,000 on a Crossword ticket, exclaiming "This is amazing! I can't believe it's happening to me!"

Rasche is still waiting on the cash, and is suing the state to get it.

Illinois won't make its next pension payment; Comptroller Leslie Munger Wednesday announced she can't, because the state doesn't have the cash.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner wants to sell the state's office space in the heart of downtown Chicago. That could mean the demise of the iconic, 1985 structure known as the Thompson Center.

Illinois lawmakers are increasingly trying to make it easier for residents to be involved in politics.

There will be a hearing Tuesday in Chicago on automatic voter registration. Another proposal goes in the opposite direction. But its sponsor says, it's for good reason.

Illinois' next election isn't until March, but you can go ahead right now and register to vote in it. More the procrastinating type?

A new state law says you can now also register right up until, and on, the day of the election. At any precinct.

Amanda Vinicky

Another lawsuit over a pension law was filed this week in Illinois, this time seeking to strike a law that reduced Chicago Park District pensions. That could be significant for other local governments, and future negotiations.

When it first passed, the park district pension law was seen as a possible model for future ones. That's partially because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Flickr User Medisave UK / "Littmann Stethoscope" (CC BY 2.0)

At least sixteen of Illinois' 97 public health departments have laid off employees or cut back service hours. More are expected unless the state comes through with funding.

It comes as flu season approaches, after regional outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease and the mumps, and after the state announced that it will no longer pay for testing STD specimens. This means the local departments have to take on an additional cost.

President of the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators, Miriam Link-Mullison, says the fiscal situation is increasingly desperate.


Low-income, working parents are once again fighting for help from the state for childcare.

Since July, Illinois drastically reduced who's eligible for the state's daycare assistance program. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made the change, he says, to save money.

For nearly two hours Tuesday at a hearing in Springfield, daycare providers and parents -- like Chante Morrison -- pressed Rauner to cancel the rollbacks.

Morrison is a single mother of two girls from Galesburg.

"I wanna work; my children need to know that you have to work to succeed," Morrison said.

Flickr user E Photos / "IMG_1927 - Power Lines" (CC v 2.0)

Commonwealth Edison's CEO says the state's largest utility is about halfway through with a major component of a grid modernization program.

A controversial law passed in 2011 hiked the price for the delivery of electricity. Ameren and ComEd were to use the money for infrastructure upgrades, like the installation of so-called "smart meters."

Smart meters are digital devices that measure electricity use, and send that information back to the utilities.

Flickr User James Bowe / "Lightbulb" (CC BY 2.0)

The CEO of Commonwealth Edison says the utility is continuing to push for changes that failed to win legislative approval in the spring.

Anne Pramaggiore told an audience at the City Club of Chicago that a 2011 so-called "Smart Grid" law has led to savings and a more reliable power network.

But she says further improvement—like microgrids that can keep electricity flowing when there's an outage, and charging stations for electric cars—depends on help from Springfield.

ConAgra Foods

Governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois will see a net gain of jobs from a  Fortune 500 company that just received state tax breaks. 

ConAgra already employees Illinois workers, but it's transferring them from Naperville to Chicago. That’s part of a larger move to the city from its headquarters in Omaha.