Sam Dunklau

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.

"Credit Score" by Flickr User InvestmentZen / (CC x 2.0) /

Last year’s data breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency brought attention to the fees customers can be charged for freezing their accounts. The Illinois Senate Wednesday approved a ban on such fees.

More than five million Illinois residents were victims of the massive Equifax data breach last year. They got another shock when Equifax initially refused to waive its ten dollar fee for freezing credit.

At the time, Attorney General Lisa Madigan called that unfair.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

In response to a nationwide call for tighter gun laws, the Illinois Senate Wednesday passed several  measures. But so far Illinois has no new laws from that effort.

Following the lead of students across the country, a couple dozen senators staged their own brief walkout in memory of the Parkland, Florida shooting victims. Later, they voted on several proposals, including one to increase the wait time when purchasing an assault weapon from one day to three days.

That's the only measure to pass both the House and Senate, and will be sent to Governor Bruce Rauner.


Illinois is using emergency spending rules to upgrade the water system at the veterans’ home in Quincy. Outbreaks of the waterborne Legionnaires’ Disease have killed and sickened dozens of residents and staff.

Calling the current water system a “danger to public health,” the Department of Veterans' Affairs is buying $650,000 worth of new water filters, faucets, and bacteria monitoring equipment.

By declaring the purchases “emergencies,” the state is bypassing normal spending safeguards, which can add months of public scrutiny.

The Illinois House lawmakers are considering a requirement that veterans’ home officials promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The proposal is the latest in a string of measures responding to the state’s handling of an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.