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 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.

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, in part because it had been drafted in cooperation with SEIU, the union representing park district workers.

Local health departments are responsible for everything from restaurant inspections, regulating private sewage systems and water wells and investigating disease outbreaks -- all services that are threatened, as they await for state money to come through.

It's the 100th day Illinois has been without a budget. The state has without a budget before -- but going this long is unprecedented.

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

Illinois has surpassed the 90-day mark of going without a budget. The governor on Friday signaled that number will keep rising.

Illinois' budget impasse means public universities have gone three months without any state funding. The State Museum has closed. Therapists that worked with disabled infants quit, because they weren't getting paid. The Secretary of State's office isn't going to mail out reminders about expiring license plate registration, because it can't afford the postage.

For the first time in three weeks, state representatives will convene in Springfield Thursday.

Not much has changed in those three weeks. There's still no agreement between Democratic legislators and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a state budget.

But representatives are back anyway, and they do have some budget measures on the table.

For one, they're set to discuss Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to exempt some middle-class homeowners from paying higher property taxes.

Three years ago, the first video gaming machines popped up in Illinois bars, restaurants, and truck stops. 

Families with babies, from birth until they're three years old, are eligible for state assistance to help their children learn and grow. It's called early intervention. But without a budget, Illinois stopped paying the therapists who provide these services. Now, the comptroller and the governor's administration says they've come up with a way to pay again, even though Illinois still has no budget in place.

Illinois' junior, Republican Senator Mark Kirk -- opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. But the state's senior U.S. Senator Democrat Dick Durbin, has been key in sheparding it through Congress. That's provided grist for the D.C. rumor mill.

With Illinois Lottery suing the state over unpaid prizes, Democrats in the Illinois Senate have a plan to address the problem. 

A credit analyst with Moody's says Illinois' bond rating will remain unchanged, despite the state entering its third month without a budget. But the chances of a downgrade increase the longer gridlock continues.

Illinois has the nations' lowest credit rating -- a grade that symbolizes its fiscal troubles, and adds to them; a lower score makes it costlier to borrow.

But the rating won't drop any further just yet.

  The Fraternal Order of Police is urging legislators to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto that could have major ramifications on state employees' next contract. The Republican's administration is negotiating a new contract with the AFSCME union, and both sides have said they're far from an agreement.

A key vote in the standoff between Gov. Bruce Rauner and labor is expected in the Illinois House this week, as early as Wednesday.

Rauner has been trying to convince legislators to let him keep his power to negotiate with the AFSCME union, even if it results in a lockout or strike (though Rauner has vowed he won't call for the former). At the same time, AFSCME leaders are asking state representatives to stick with them.

 A last-minute appointment former Governor Pat Quinn made after losing last year's election has spurred a new law.

Lou Bertuca was a political operative, a key player in Quinn's ultimately failed campaign.

Shortly before Quinn left the governor's mansion, he helped make sure Bertuca had his next job locked up.

The Illinois National Guard's commanding officer says for years the guard has been planning for the biggest catastrophes that could affect Illinois, like an earthquake in southern Illinois along the New Madrid fault.

Major General Richard Hayes Junior says trying out those plans is at the heart of an exercise in Springfield this week, simulating a 7.7 magnitude quake.

Illinois is nearing the end of August, and still there's no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do --- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.

Questions and fears about quality of care in nursing homes may be assuaged come January. A new law signed by the governor Friday will permit electronic monitoring.

While presidential candidates seemed as prevalent as funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair, none stopped by Illinois'.

A Democratic Party leader says Hillary Clinton was invited to its political events in Springfield. Instead, Clinton had surrogates speak on her behalf, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

"Hillary Clinton is a leader, she is a fighter, she is a friend and having grown up in Park Ridge, Illinois, she is one of us," Madigan said.

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

 At least a dozen Republicans are chasing the party's presidential nomination. But which of them will get a boost from Illinois' new, and privately wealthy, Republican governor?

  An effort to get billions of dollars to social services agencies could be doomed, despite approval Tuesday by an Illinois House committee. The bipartisan standoff may again block money that would provide low-income people with shelter and food, help homeless veterans, and screen women for cervical cancer.

  Illinois' legislature and the governor remain at a standoff, as Illinois enters its seventh week without a budget. 

Many Chicago residents recently received a piece of mail criticizing their state legislator. That's a routine part of politics, but these flyers are getting special attention from one of Illinois' top politicians.

As Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan's organization frequently sends campaign brochures attacking Republicans. This time -- it's Madigan, and his fellow Democrats, who are the targets.

  The governor and Democratic legislators yesterday came to a budget agreement, but only a minor one. A broader stalemate continues.

Local property taxes would be frozen for two years under a measure approved Tuesday by the Illinois Senate. That's on Gov. Bruce Rauner's wish-list, but Republicans are still against the plan.

After a failed attempt last month, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton shepherded his proposal through.

Illinois may not be done with the 2013 law reducing state employees’ pensions after all. The Attorney General appears to be readying to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Republican legislators can expect the money they've received from Gov. Bruce Rauner to keep flowing, if the governor holds true to his word.

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the legislature's help in making two big changes to the state's constitution, but the Illinois House Speaker isn't on board. It's one of various causes of gridlock at the state capitol.

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