Sam Dunklau

2018 Public Affairs Reporting Intern - Statehouse

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working at the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau. Since 2015, he's been floating around the radio airwaves as a reporter, disc jockey, and station manager.  A multimedia journalism degree from Augustana College now rests comfortably under his belt. 

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Construction sign at Broadway and Adams in Springfield
Sam Dunklau

Experts say billions in a multi-year plan won't go far enough to address infrastructure repairs and upkeep.

via Google Street

Illinois hospitals will soon receive money to treat millions of people who are covered through Medicaid. The federal government has approved state's latest hospital assessment program, which gives money to hospitals for treating its poorest individuals.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

While Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner celebrated the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus labor case on Wednesday, his chief opponent on the campaign trail was quick to criticize. J.B. Pritzker took to the podium in Springfield to do just that.


Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, via Twitter

Illinois will soon mint commemorative coins to mark the state’s 200th birthday. They're the latest in a string of products the state is offering to mark its bicentennial year.

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs hosted a several months-long contest, challenging designers to capture Illinois’ history on a single coin face. Submissions poured in from far and wide, but they were eventually whittled down to five finalists, whose designs were then voted on by the public.

Senator Dick Durbin via Twitter

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next ambassador to Kenya: Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter. That’s despite the significant political differences between Durbin and McCarter.

Durbin says he met with McCarter this week in Washington, D.C. to discuss his Kenya nomination.

McCarter is quite conservative, and Durbin says his voting record poses “some issues.” But that isn’t stopping him from giving the Republican a thumbs up.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

As part of the new Illinois budget, thousands and thousands of state workers will get paid for salary increases they were supposed to get as far back as 2011.


Sam Dunklau / via Wikimedia Commons, Flikr

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan that would let schools, churches, and workplaces take out restraining orders against someone considered dangerous.

Under current Illinois law, only an individual can take out a restraining order against another person. But after recent shootings at schools and churches, state lawmakers have been pushing for legislation to protect those places from future attacks.

via Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a full year budget Thursday. It includes a few plans to cut down on the state’s massive pension debt.


via Kari Söderholm / Flikr

The legal age to buy tobacco in Illinois may soon go up from 18 to 21. The measure narrowly passed the Illinois House Wednesday night 61 to 49, after failing once before.


via Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday voted to make it easier to try to take guns from someone a court determines is dangerous. Supporters say “lethal order of protections” could prevent mass shootings.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois legislature has again moved to regulate gun dealers. It comes after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a similar measure back in March, calling it "onerous bureaucracy."


Lee Milner

Legislation allowing a major expansion of gambling in Illinois failed on Monday. It’s something lawmakers have been working on for years, as an effort to raise money for state and local governments.

via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois lawmakers on Friday rejected legislation that would have loosened restriction on how police use drone surveillance. It was meant to help law enforcement keep tabs on large crowds.


via Chad Weber

It’s been just about six months since a new Illinois law allowing 16 and 17 year olds to donate organs went into effect. Has the change made a difference for those waiting for life-saving organ transplants?

Mitch Barrie via Flikr

State lawmakers are continuing to push Illinois gun legislation in the wake of a recent run of mass shootings. The Illinois House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow police to take guns away from someone if a court finds them dangerous.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers are pushing a measure to allow immigrants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse to more easily make their case to the police.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

After more than two years of extensive renovations, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner moved back into the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield on Monday.

via Mark / Flikr

The Illinois General Assembly approved a measure allowing parents to give their kids medical marijuana while at school.


State Representative Jonathan Carroll website

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner this week added sweeping changes to a piece of gun legislation, in a move some state legislators called “political gamesmanship” and “unconstitutional.” But the lawmaker behind the original bill isn’t backing down, announcing Wednesday he's asking the Illinois House to agree with those changes.


via Creative Commons 2.0 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

About 114 million people visited Illinois last year, setting a new state record. That’s according to the latest state tourism data released on Tuesday.


Wikimedia Commons

Illinois legislators are taking up a measure to change the way police gather information for gang databases. It comes after more than a year of controversy surrounding the Chicago Police Department’s data collection practices.


via Illinois Central Management Services video

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state should be able to execute those who kill police officers or commit mass shootings. The Governor proposed that and several other measures on Monday in an amendatory veto of gun legislation.


via IL Senate Democrats Twitter account

Ongoing budget talks at the Illinois Statehouse have shown no real sign of progress. This week, Senate Democrats pressed Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration this week to explain its proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois is promoting its ties to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. State tourism officials on Tuesday unveiled a self-guided trail linking more than a dozen Wright-designed homes.


via Illinois Central Management Services

lllinois' 3 million Medicaid users will soon have more access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. Officials in Washington, D.C. ok’d a new state program that sets aside about $2 billion in Medicaid funds for the services.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Hundreds of police officers, families, and state officials gathered in Springfield on Thursday for an annual service honoring officers killed in the line of duty. Officers from the Chicago area and Rockford were memorialized in the service at the Illinois State Library.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says a costly rebuild of the Quincy Veterans Home is the best way to get rid of legionella bacteria linked to more than a dozen deaths there. While some state legislators support the move, others remain skeptical.

Mark Warner via Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lawmakers in the Illinois House voted to implement more stringent background checks on drivers for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

Piush Dahal via flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Illinois House has voted to allow tax breaks for those who take vacant land and use it for urban farming. The aim is to give an economic boost to the state’s low-income areas.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois' largest public employee union feels it has plenty to complain about. The union known as AFSCME has been fighting for what it says is overdue pay -- going all the way back to 2011.

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