Sam Dunklau

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

An international panel on climate change this week warned greenhouse gas emissions will keep increasing if left unchecked and called for urgent action. According to one Illinois scientist, that means frequent heavy rain events and flooding could become the norm.


Illinois’ pollution regulator moved ahead Thursday with a proposal to change emissions rules for coal power plants, a move opponents say could be dangerous to public health.


Public health advocates and some state lawmakers spurned Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a bill that would have raised the legal tobacco age to 21.

Rauner axed the bill last Friday, though his own Department of Public Health supported it. While he called smoking “detrimental” in his veto message, the governor said Illinois couldn’t take the risk of losing tobacco sales tax revenue to neighboring states.

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Kenya: Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter. That’s despite the significant political differences between Durbin and McCarter.

Durbin says he met with McCarter this week in Washington, D.C. to discuss his Kenya nomination.

McCarter is quite conservative, and Durbin says his voting record poses “some issues.” But that isn’t stopping him from giving the Republican a thumbs up.

It’s been just about six months since a new Illinois law allowing 16 and 17 year olds to donate organs went into effect. Has the change made a difference for those waiting for life-saving organ transplants?

Illinois State Sen. Kyle McCarter’s nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Kenya comes at a time of challenges for the African nation.