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. 

Ways to Connect

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

In central Illinois’ 13th congressional district, Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan coasted to victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, and will be that party's candidate in the November election.

Johan Fantenberg via flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

People who use Illinois currency exchanges will pay less in fees to cash certain types of checks. It’s part of an overhaul of the state’s check cashing fee structure.  

Mike Stewart / Associated Press

Last year’s data breach at the Equifax credit reporting agency brought attention to the fees customers can be charged for freezing their accounts. The Illinois Senate Wednesday approved a ban on such fees.

via Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

Illinois is using emergency spending rules to upgrade the water system at the veterans’ home in Quincy. Outbreaks of the waterborne Legionnaires’ Disease have killed and sickened dozens of residents and staff.

Media & Marketing / Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner approved legislation on Monday to revamp the way hospitals are paid for treating low-income people on Medicaid. It's intended to help them collect billions of dollars.

Wikimedia Commons

Illinois county fair officials say they still don’t have nearly $1.5 million promised to them in the current state budget for fair operations.  

Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

 The Illinois House lawmakers are considering a requirement that veterans’ home officials promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The proposal is the latest in a string of measures responding to the state’s handling of an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.

Kids who use medical marijuana for a qualifying condition might be allowed to use the drug on school grounds under a Illinois proposal. The legislation would allow parents to give cannabis medication to those kids if and when they need it.  

Flickr/Meeshpants

If you’re under 21 and have been convicted of a crime, you might wind up serving time in the juvenile justice system instead of an adult jail. Illinois state lawmakers are considering a measure that would raise the system's age limit from 18 to no more than 20.

via Google Street

Illinois hospitals are one step closer to saving a program that generates a lot of money used to treat low-income patients. State lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a plan on Wednesday that revamps the so-called hospital assessment program.  

Under the program,  Illinois hospitals front money to take care of people with government health insurance. Federal matching payments then add $3.5 billion more. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers voted this week on a string of gun control measures amid renewed national concern about public safety. But Governor Bruce Rauner isn’t saying where he stands on most of the proposals.   

Rauner hasn’t taken questions from Statehouse reporters since last months’ school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

Rachel Otwell, Daisy Contreras, Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

 

Big changes to Illinois' gun laws don't happen often. But a growing movement across the country appears to be resonating in the state's General Assembly.

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan tried to set the record straight on how his office handles sexual harassment claims. The Speaker issued a one-page press release on Tuesday with brief summaries of complaints involving staffers working in his state office. 

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

Early voting in this year’s primary election came a little late in some parts of Illinois. But officials say the polls are now officially open statewide.

An advocacy group says Illinois schools are in need of more diverse history lessons. Equality Illinois is behind a new statehouse proposal that would require the curriculum to include lessons on people who made history and were LGBTQ+.

Check cashing signage
Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A group of Illinois state legislators want to lower check cashing rates at currency exchanges — while the industry is pushing to raise those rates.

 

Last summer, the industry told Illinois’ financial regulator it hadn’t been allowed to increase service fees since 2007, and the time had come for a raise. 

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform via press release

The polls have opened for Illinois’ primary election, as voters were allowed to start casting early ballots Thursday. But the state’s election technology needs to be overhauled, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

 

Greg Harris speaking at a subcommittee meeting
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Democrats in Springfield are pushing ahead with a plan hospitals say can’t come soon enough. It’s worth billions of dollars for treating some of the state’s most vulnerable people. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois families could use their college savings plans to send their younger kids to K-12 private schools under a new plan.


Flickr/michellehurwitz / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Customers across Illinois could see lower utility bills as early as next month. The state’s regulatory body has ordered Illinois companies to slash their rates.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The same people who pushed the smoking ban through in Illinois a decade ago were back in Springfield Tuesday, and they want the state legislature to bump up the legal tobacco age from 18 to 21.

Home
Bill_Comstock / flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As Democrats and Republicans try to make local property taxes into an election-year political issue — state lawmakers are looking to cut tax rates for senior citizens.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

 

Farmers and state officials in Illinois are worried about potential cuts to a federal land conservation program. It pays landowners to set aside land for things like wildlife habitat. 

  

Summary  

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

With primary season underway, AARP Illinois is ramping up efforts to educate voters before they head to the polls next month.

 

Originally published on January 18, 2018 3:34 pm

Hospitals in Illinois are warning of dire federal funding cuts without quick action from the state legislature.


CREDIT FLICKR USER / MICHAEL COGHLAN "PRISON BARS" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill Tuesday that's meant to help women in state prisons.


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