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

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has donated $16 million of his fortune to help elect Republican candidates. But he also says he's not really involved in the election. Huh?

Illinois hunters are gearing up to harvest bobcats, for the first time since the '70s.

Interest in participating is outpacing the permit supply. 

Bobcats were once considered a threatened species in Illinois.

Not anymore.

"I used to never see a bobcat, now it's uncommon to go to the woods and not see bobcats. And not one or two, but three or four of five or six of 'em," Sen. John Sullivan, a Democrat from Rushville, explained when legislators debated the measure that ultimately became the state law lifting the bobcat hunting ban.

All this week, Decatur resident Brittanie Brooks has worn dresses and skirts.

Her No Pants challenge is an awareness campaign (check for the #NoPantsForOvarianCysts and #NoPantsForOvarianCancer hashtags on social media) for Illinois' Ovarian Cyst Awareness Week, which began Sept. 11 and goes through Sunday.

A conservative-backed organization says it will continue efforts to topple the Illinois law limiting campaign contributions, after a judge ruled the law constitutional.

The law caps how much individuals, corporations, and political action committees can give.

Committees controlled by the legislative leaders are subject to caps too, but only in the primary. There's no limit on what they can give to candidates during the general election.

Liberty Justice Center attorney Jacob Huebert says the law is set up to help the leaders maintain power.

Amanda Vinicky

The November election will determine if the balance of power in Illinois politics tips in a direction that will help Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner carry out his agenda or whether Democrats will maintain enough seats to stand in his way. Even with that at stake, Rauner is professing a hands-off approach.

Before he was governor, Rauner was a private equity investor. He became rich by keeping a sharp eye on his investments.

But Rauner says he is not taking the same approach to politics.

Google Maps

A divided Illinois Supreme Court is sticking by its decision on redistricting.

The Independent Maps group spent millions of dollars pushing a plan it promised would do away with gerrymandering - if voters approved in the upcoming election. Supporters collected some 563,000 signatures from Illinois voters to put the question on the ballot. Independent Maps wants to change the Illinois Constitution so a commission would draw district boundaries, rather than legislators themselves.

Amanda Vinicky

Activists from across Illinois gathered in Springfield to recognize "Moral Monday."

Amanda Vinicky
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Kent Redfield (UIS) and Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss an impasse over the AFSCME contract and Governor Rauner as well as sinking enrollment in some state universities.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Closed Tinley Park Mental Health Center
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration announced Friday afternoon that a portion of a state mental health facility in Elgin will become a ward for prisoners with mental illness.

Illinois' hand was forced to do something along these lines; the government agreed in settling a 2007 lawsuit, Rasho v. Baldwin, that alleged poor treatment of mentally ill prisoners.

In a press release, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin calls the agreement between it and the Department of Human Services a "fundamental change."

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, discussion of a recent ruling on negotiations between AFSCME and Governor Rauner.  Also, enrollment numbers released for the state's public universities, and reflecting on the death of Phyllis Schlafly.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press join the panel.

  A state senator who staved off a primary fight is now also free from a complaint that he misused campaign contributions but perhaps he’s not free for long. 

Members of the same political parties generally stick up for each other, like family. Not so for GOP Senator Sam McCann. He was challenged in the primary by a candidate, state trooper Bryce Benton, well-financed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

npr.org

It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

Anxious legislators will once again see a deposit from the state of Illinois in their bank accounts. They’re getting paid Tuesday for the first time since July, when their April paychecks came through.

The candidates vying to be Illinois comptroller are at odds over whether the office should even continue to exist.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to change the way Illinois' legislative districts are drawn.

Photo provided by Cathy Wilhite

Hot air balloons have dotted Illinois skies this summer at various festivals and they'll fly again this weekend over Lincoln.

NPR Illinois' Amanda Vinicky spoke about the tradition with organizer Cathy Wilhite, the President of the Logan County Alliance.

The balloons take flight in Lincoln on Friday and Saturday nights. You can watch, accompanied by a soundtrack from live bands.

Carnival rides, a variety of food and beer, petting zoo, and kite demonstrations take place throughout the day.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

An overhaul of the retirement benefits Illinois gives state employees, public school teachers and university workers has been the subject of talks between state leaders in recent months. Gov. Bruce Rauner said so Wednesday, but he sounded uncertain as to what will come of it.

I Voted sticker roll
Wikimedia

Illinois voters go to the polls on November 8, but they won't official cast the votes for the next President. Both state parties have decided the handful of people who will have that privilege.

Any business that does not allow guns is required to post a sign approved by the Illinois State Police.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has gained an endorsement in his bid for re-election. It could help him win crucial votes from suburban moderates, but it might also frustrate an important part of the Republican electorate.

Amanda Vinicky

  Jesse White’s days as the Illinois Secretary of State may be coming to a close.

Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky, Brian Mackey, and Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss what went on when the legislature returned for the Illinois State Fair.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

albatross
Michael Sale / Flickr.com/michaelsale (cc-by-nc)

Republicans and Democrats gathered in Springfield this week for party meetings and rallies at the Illinois State Fair. Republicans mostly avoided mentioning presidential nominee Donald Trump, preferring to focus on Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Democrats, meanwhile, were happy to embrace Madigan, and tried to tie Republicans into an embrace of Trump, too. Both parties are hoping the other side's top politicians will become an albatross around the necks of down-ballot candidates.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois’ and Chicago’ precarious financial situations have some residents relieved the city was not successful in its attempt to host the latest Olympics games.

But not Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers.

Seven years ago, he was Chief of Staff for Chicago’s bid. Summers says he grew up, and still lives, on the South Side. He says the Olympics would have been phenomenal and transformative for parts of the city.

Amanda Vinicky

Speculation continues to swirl over who Democrats will put up to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in two years.

Amanda Vinicky

Support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump remains tepid among leaders of the Illinois Republican Party.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Republicans rallied Wednesday at the state fair for Governor's Day -- so called because their party controls the governor's mansion. They spent some time talking about how to hold onto it two years from now, when the mansion will once again be up for grabs.

It may be unofficial, but the GOP is already committed to having Gov. Bruce Rauner as its nominee in 2018.

Who Democrats will put up to run against him is unclear. One oft-mentioned contender: U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

"Anybody here want that?" Congressman Rodney Davis, R-13 asked at the fair rally.

Amanda Vinicky

A new foundation has been created to raise money for Illinois State Fair infrastructure.  Questions have already been raised about how the private entity will intermingle with government.

State Sen. Matt Murphy
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Even before the November election, the makeup of Illinois legislature is changing.

Rep. Frank Mautino reviews a COGFA report.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The head of the Democratic Party of Illinois is sticking up for the beleaguered Auditor General.

As supporters of automatic voter registration are set to hold a press conference Monday morning, Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending his veto of a plan that would have made it a reality in Illinois.

Pages