Daisy Contreras

Reporter

Daisy reports on various assignments for NPR Illinois.  She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s  degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues.  Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter.  She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois lawmakers and the governor have spent the past several days ratcheting up their calls for compromise to end the budget impasse.   

Sean Tenner

In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order for a 10-day special session, the General Assembly  returned to Springfield this week to focus on crafting a budget. Three weeks ago, legislators tried to beat the end of the official spring legislative session and worked to pass measures ranging from women’s and LGBT rights, farmer’s market concerns and issues related to women in prison. Many of these bills were approved by both chambers, and are waiting to be sent to the governor.

CL DESIGN LLC / Maribis

The state’s medical cannabis pilot program  has three more years before it is set to expire. Despite the looming deadline, dispensaries continue to open across the state, offering treatment alternatives to patients with cancer, PTSD, Lupus—and many other health conditions.

Kendall Coyne

  A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Editor's note: UPDATE The spring legislative session ended without lawmakers agreeing on a budget proposal, throwing the state into its third year without proper funding. But lawmakers introduced and garnered support for a variety of bills aimed at helping Illinois’ women, who generally make 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Women comprise 60 percent of the state’s minimum wage workers.

Justin Wright

Some reformers say Illinois' minimum age for juvenile detention needs to go up.

Deana Rutherford

While the state's budget impasse continues, activists from Chicago are demanding an end to it through a 200 mile march. Today, a group from Fair Economy Illinois set out on a 15 day walk from Chicago to Springfield. 

Daniel Biss speaking to group
Office of state Sen. Daniel Biss

The Illinois Senate passed a bill Friday that would prohibit a defense for murder based on a victim’s sexual orientation or a nonviolent sexual advance.

The gay panic defense bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston, passed unanimously with a vote of 41-0 and will be up for consideration in the House.

Biss says that although rare, these types of crimes do happen.

Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois

The spring legislative session has been overshadowed by a 22-month stretch without a budget. Nevertheless, meaty legislation is being weighed. Those issues include abortion, wage theft, animal research and criminal justice.

Rep. Anna Moeller
Rep. Anna Moeller

Legislation passed out of the House Wednesday is meant to help close the gender wage gap in the state.

After a House vote of 91-24, the Equal Pay Act amendment will now be considered in the Senate as SB 981, under the sponsorship of Sen.  Daniel Biss, a Democrat from Evanston. 

Democratic Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin, who sponsored House Bill 2462, says that while she expected the House to pass the bill, she was surprised by the number of yes votes.

“It just shows that this is an issue that is important to women in Illinois and families in Illinois,” she said. 

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

Equality Illinois

As rapid-fire change comes at the federal level, advocates want  to keep Illinois' status as one of the leading states in offering protections.

Alex McCray didn’t want to believe Donald Trump had won the election. In the words of the transgender nursing student from downstate Sherman: “I was hoping it was all just one terrible nightmare. It felt like my rights were being ripped out right from underneath me.”

Kendall Coyne

A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne, an Olympic silver-medalist in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, has joined her fellow skaters in a fight off the ice.

Matt Turner / Flickr

The spring legislative session is in full swing under the shadow of a failed Grand Bargain, which aimed to end a 20-month stretch without a budget. Bills proposed are diverse, including lobbyist ethics, an Obama holiday, wage theft and animal welfare.

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