Amanda Vinicky

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.

Amanda Vinicky covered Illinois politics and government for NPR Illinois and  the Illinois public radio network from 2006-2016.  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 2008, 2012 and 2016.  

She interned with WUIS in graduate school; she  graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in 2005.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Unions landed a victory Tuesday: A tie at the U-S Supreme Court on a case perceived as do-or-die for public employee unions means current rules will remain in place. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll continue to try to ban so-called "fair share" fees.

The Illinois Supreme Court will be asked to re-visit an opinion it just issued March 24. State employees' salaries are at stake. 


By the end of next week, Illinois will have gone a full nine months without a budget. And yet, the state's top politicians still aren't talking. The governor and the four legislative leaders went all of June through November without meeting, before finally getting together a couple of times just before the end of 2015. They didn't continue into the new year.


The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday said the state does not have to pay unionized employees what it says in their contracts, unless legislators specifically appropriate the money.

Gardeners would lose a weapon against insects under a measure recently introduced in the Illinois legislature.

Illinois' primary may be over, but the friction between Governor Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan is not. Nor is their divide over the path forward.

Madigan's viewing the primary results as a sort of vindication, as though the contests were a referendum on Rauner's pro-business, anti-union agenda, and voters rejected it.

The Speaker points to two races as proof: his own, in which he fended off a candidate whom Madigan says was supported by "those aligned with the governor’s belief in how government should be run."

"I feel like it's preventable. It's not necessary," she said. "It's crazy. I mean just .. every day.

Illinois' primary contest is rapidly approaching, which is why NPR Illinois is bringing you this Illinois Edition pre-primary special (which aired Wed., March 9). 

This election cycle is wild, and not just at the top of the ticket --- though Illinois has already seen presidential candidates including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump stop by.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spent his Sunday trying to give a boost to a central Illinois Republican candidate for state senate. The race is seen as a key test of Rauner's own agenda, and power within his party.

Gov. Rauner stopped by a table of folks waiting for pancakes at Charlie Parker's diner in Springfield.

He gestured to the man by his side -- Bryce Benton. He's a state trooper, and homeland security officer, Rauner told them. Vote for him on Tuesday.

Presidential candidates are making final swings through Illinois ahead of Tuesday's primary. Amanda Vinicky has a roundup of the weekend campaigning, and a preview of what's still to come.

A week from Tuesday, Illinois voters will have their chance to help determine who is the next President of the United States. Candidates are planning last minute campaign stops here.

The latest effort to fund Illinois' financially-starving universities and colleges may be dead on arrival. Republicans are giving early indications they're not buying a last-minute offer unveiled just Wednesday night and slated for debate Thursday.

Republicans have rebuffed Democrats' other attempts at funding higher education because they say it would add to the state's deficit, including a measure lawmakers spent much of Wednesday debating.

Higher education continues to be caught in Illinois lawmakers' political crossfire.

Doing something about Illinois' underfunded retirement systems remains an immediate goal for Gov. Bruce Rauner but despite a loose agreement with a leading Democrat, that plan has stalled.

Springfield may be a desert when it comes to budget deals but it seemed like there was a small oasis -- an agreement between Gov. Rauner and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton on pensions.

A crisis management team has been formed to help Chicago State University navigate budgetary peril. State higher education leaders are working to prevent CSU from closing, after eight months of waiting on state funding.

All of Chicago State University’s 900 employees are on notice – they’ll lose their jobs if the governor and lawmakers don’t come through with cash.

Illinois lawmakers are beginning to craft a new state budget even though there still isn't one eight months into this fiscal year. There's no precedent for handling this murky situation. It go go any number of ways.

Low-income college students promised state help paying for tuition will continue to go without it. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has followed through on his pledge to reject funding for the Monetary Award Program.

Gov. Rauner vetoed Democratic-backed legislation to pay for so-called "MAP grants" Friday afternoon. Students had traveled to Springfield in recent days to rally in support of the plan.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says it's shocking and unacceptable that the state is in its eighth month without a budget. Wednesday, he laid out his vision for finally ending the political stalemate that has paralyzed state government. The Republican's language was more conciliatory, but the ideas remain the same.

Education may once again receive special treatment from Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. He's set to unveils his plans for the state budget later Wednesday.

Rauner is in an unprecedented position: he's required to present a plan for a new, balanced state budget when Illinois is eight months into its current fiscal year without one and is running a $6 billion deficit.

But a document from Rauner's office shows he'll again propose a windfall for pre-K through high schools.

A tight contest for the Presidential nomination and competitive races for seats in the General Assembly could make for a gripping primary in Illinois next month. Deadlines loom if you plan to be a part of it.

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

Roughly one year ago, Gov. Bruce Rauner stood before lawmakers and unveiled his so-called "turnaround agenda." He didn't use that phrase this time around. But Wednesday, the governor used his state-of-the-state address to continue fighting for his stalled vision. Rauner has spent months berating Democrats for failing to get on board. Not this time. He gave a more conciliatory message, and talked about "mutual respect." That wasn't enough for some of his critics, who don't trust the governor, or his change in tone.


Illinois residents will hear from their Governor Wednesday when Bruce Rauner gives his annual state of the state address. It comes at a difficult time in Illinois government: For nearly eight months there has been no budget.

Social service agencies that depend on state funding are closing programs, the backlog of unpaid bills is piling up, and some public universities are moving forward with layoffs.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner will give his second annual State of the State address at noon Wednesday. After a year of stalemate, he's expected to make some effort to bridge a bipartisan divide.

Changing how Illinois funds its schools is Senate President John Cullerton's top priority as a new legislative session gets underway. Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, says Illinois shouldn't fund schools at all next year until it comes with a more equitable way to do it. John Cullerton says the way Illinois funds schools "crushes dreams" and "stifles growth."

Illinois' largest provider of social services Friday announced that the budget stalemate will force it to close programs and let go more than 40 percent of its staff.

The future of some 36,000 state government employees lies -- in part, anyway -- with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

The union that represents most state workers -- AFSCME -- and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration had been at the bargaining table for a about a year when, on Jan. 15, Rauner announced he'd had enough.

Lawmakers return to Springfield with some new ideas, but the unfinished business of 2015 will likely overshadow other topics in the second year of the legislative session. 


Gov. Bruce Rauner says passage of his pro-business Turnaround Agenda would help to curb violence in Chicago. Rauner recently said he's "disappointed" in how the Mayor Rahm Emanuel has handled the outcry over video of a police officer killing Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner says his team is trying to assess its options after an apparent breakdown in talks with AFSCME last week. The union is bargaining on behalf of 36 thousand state workers for a new contract.

There's an impasse over whether there's an impasse. In this case, that's not just a synonym for "not going well." It's a high-stakes legal term, that basically signals the gulf that divides the two sides is so wide it can't be bridged, so there's no point to negotiating further.

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