Amanda Vinicky

Former Statehouse Bureau Chief

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. 

Ways to Connect

Jason Karsh / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

In 2010, lawmakers changed the rules for how the state picks its second-in-command. No longer would voters separately nominate candidates for lieutenant governor and governor in the primary, and hope for a successful match.

Billionaire hotel heir and Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker apologizes after another Chicago Tribune story about his 2008 phone conversations with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate for governor Jeanne Ives, a state representative from Wheaton, is not apologizing for an ad that's been condemned by people across the political spectrum.

The Illinois General Assembly's fall veto session is over, lawmakers have been though sexual harassment awareness training, and Comptroller Susana Mendoza is beginning to pay down the backlog of bills.

Illinois has gone 667 days without a budget. Asked to grade his performance in office, Gov. Rauner gave himself an A for what he could do without legislative support.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan requested a meeting with Rauner — thought to be their first in nearly 6 months.

And between 1,500 and 2,000 women marched on the Capitol in support of Democratic policies and candidates, as House Democrats sought to highlight Rauner's contradictory positions on abortion rights.

Chicago Tonight: O'Hare Expansion

Feb 2, 2017
O'Hare airport with the Chicago skyline in the background.
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

School Funding Commision meeting
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

  • School Funding Reform Commission Delivers Report, Legislation TBD
  • Senate Negotiations on ‘Grand Bargain’ Budget Continue
  • Report: Outdoor Cats Are Killing Billions of Birds


pie chart
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

  • Is It Really Possible to Balance the State Budget Without a Tax Hike?
  • Chicago’s 7-Cent Bag Tax to Start Feb. 1
  • How Healthy is Illinois’ Job Market?


Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers the State of the State address.
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

Christine Radogno and John Cullerton
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

  • Bipartisan ‘Grand Bargain’ Hits Pause in Springfield
  • Emanuel: Illinois ‘Rudderless’ Under Rauner
  • ‘World in Disarray’ Author Sees Post-WWII World Order Unravelling


Oscar Lopez Rivera
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full program includes:

  • Brother of Oscar Lopez Rivera Weighs in on Obama’s Commutation
  • U of C’s Crime Lab Report Examines Chicago’s Deadly Year
  • Ask Geoffrey: What Was a Manure Monger?

Chicago Tonight: Rauner Skips D.C.

Jan 17, 2017
Amanda Vinicky reporting on Chicago Tonight.
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show includes:

  • New Chicago State Trustees Aim for Struggling School Turnaround
  • Chicago Police Department Ramps Up Training for ‘Police Legitimacy’
  • ‘Hamilton’ Master Class a Special Opportunity at Little Black Pearl

Amanda Vinicky on Chicago Tonight
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show includes:

  • What’s Behind State Workers’ Potential Strike?
  • The Trump Bump: Stocks on the Rise Despite Post-Election Fears
  • Remembering the 1st Step of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1,000-Mile March

House members of the 100th Illinois General Assembly sworn in at the University of Illinois Springfield
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Madigan Wins Speaker’s Office, As Senate Sets Leadership Limits
  • New Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Talks Reform Plans
  • Tiger Woods-Designed Golf Course in Jackson Park Gets Green Light

Amanda Vinicky at the statehouse
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Amanda Vinicky reports Springfield, Lawmakers Adjourn for Good, Without a Budget
  • The Purpose of the Presidential Farewell Speech
  • The Airport Security Balancing Act

Phil Ponce and Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Illinois Senate budget deal has slim chances.
  • What to expect from President Obama's farewell address.
  • Chicago Bears future.

Chicago Tonight: Rauner "I'm Flexible"

Jan 4, 2017
Rauner on Chicago Tonight
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Full show including:

  • Gov. Rauner on budget, "I'm flexible."
  • Democratic leader calls Illinois budget a crisis.
  • Amanda Vinicky state budget update with Barbara Flynn Currie.

Jim Edgar headshot
Illinois Public Media

Talks between Illinois' leaders have come to a halt, even as an end-of-year budget deadline approaches. Former Governor Jim Edgar says that's a mistake -- Illinois needs a budget.

Edgar says Illinois economy will suffer for years as a direct result of the stalemate.

"The damage is ... the worst damage I've seen. I mean ever the bad years of Blagojevich and the image he gave of Illinois, I don't think has done anything as much damage as we've seen," he said Monday on the Illinois Public Media show "The 21st."

Republican Leadership
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois hasn't had a true state budget for a year and five months. Even so, there's some talk of trying to work ahead on a spending plan for the future.

Talk to a university president. The head of a homeless shelter, rape crisis hotline, or other organization that depends on state funding. Even the director of a state agency.

They'll all tell you that one of the most difficult parts of going without a budget for so long, is that it's created tremendous uncertainty.

It’s been 1 year, 5 months and 9 days since Illinois government had a full, regular budget. Legislative leaders continue painting their counterparts in the other party as the main obstacle. Meanwhile rank-and-file legislators have gone without pay since June, and now a group of Democrats are suing, saying it’s an attempt to coerce them into going along with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda.

Amanda Vinicky

The union that's representing 30 thousand state workers is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner. It filed a lawsuit late Wednesday in St. Clair County circuit court.

Wikimedia commons

Illinois lawmakers' two-week, fall veto session has come to an end.

Gov.  Bruce Rauner used his veto pen on 37 bills this second half of the General Assembly's two-year session.

Legislators successfully overrode just one of them -- a relatively minor measure having to do with Chicago fire fighters' pensions. Leaving the rest effectively dead.

That includes automatic voter registration, higher wages for caretakers of the disabled and legislation that will leave a $215 million shortfall in the Chicago Public Schools' budget.

Amanda Vinicky

Will Illinois legislators pass a tax increase before a new General Assembly takes over in mid January? A majority of Illinois state representatives say no.

There's no sign a vote on a tax hike is coming; Illinois' Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and the Democrats who control the legislature remain divided on the path forward.

But the last time there was an income tax increase, legislators passed it during the so-called "lame duck" session. That's when lawmakers who either lost re-election or who retired are still around.

Phil Ponce and Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

It doesn't look like Illinois' budget stalemate will end anytime soon. 

Chicago Tonight is a production of WTTW-TV PBS Chicago.

Amanda Vinicky

Dozens of state legislators Wednesday publicly called on Governor Bruce Rauner to negotiate with the state's largest public-employee union, but Rauner has already started taking advantage of his ability to implement new contract terms without AFSCME's approval.

A state labor board recently found Rauner was fine to have broken off talks with AFSCME last January, because the two sides were so far apart.

The union plans to fight that decision in court, but otherwise, most state employees are faced with accepting Rauner's terms, or going on strike.

Amanda Vinicky
Chicago Tonight | WTTW-TV

Reporter Amanda Vinicky tells us where things stand in Springfield.

Chicago Tonight is a production of WTTW-TV PBS Chicago.

I voted sticker
Vox Efx / flickr

Illinois residents will have to be proactive about registering to vote. A bill that would have automatically registered voters died Tuesday.  

Automatic voter registration was approved by lawmakers from both parties in the spring, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected it. He says it opened the doors to voter fraud.

When sponsors brought it back before the House Tuesday in an attempt to override Rauner's veto, more than a dozen Republicans sided with the governor and dropped their support, meaning Rauner successfully killed the bill.

A special joint committee of Illinois Senators and Representatives will meet Wednesday to learn about abuse and neglect in the state's network of group homes for the developmentally disabled.

GM Media / Creative Commons

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers. House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject Monday, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

Illinois State Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After taking a break for Thanksgiving, Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, as the second, and final, week of Illinois' annual veto session begins.

The governor and leaders are meeting as Illinois approaches a deadline: When 2016 is over, so is a temporary spending plan.

Rauner continues to prioritize an agenda he says will grow the economy in the long run; Democrats continue to resist those plans.