Amanda Vinicky

Read Amanda's "The Players" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  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 '08 and '12.  

Though she's full-time with WUIS now, she previously interned with the station in graduate school; she graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in '05.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Amanda is insatiably curious, so please reach out to her and get in touch if you notice something interesting going on at the Capitol! She can be reached at (217) 206-6019 or (773) 217-0316. If she's not in the statehouse bureau, you can usually find Amanda tweeting, dining at a local restaurant, taking a jog around Springfield or Chicago or practicing yoga. 

A federal judge is sticking by his decision, determining today that a state law that would have made last-minute voting easier for residents of places including Chicago, Aurora, Bloomington and Rockford is unconstitutional.

The man who calls himself the leader of Illinois' Republican Party conti ues to refuse to weigh in on this year's election.

Illinois has long had a day to honor Gold Star Mothers. For the first time Monday the state recognized the rest of their families.

Illinois voters will vote this fall on a constitutional amendment affecting road funding.  

In the past, the state has reallocated road funding to plug holes in the budget.  

Fed up with this move, road contractors and construction workers had an idea:  Amend the Illinois Constitution so these funds must be used on transportation needs, and nothing else.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to put the amendment on this year's ballot.    

The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday issued an opinion striking down a law that cut civil juries in half. The law would also have hiked juror pay.

When they passed it during veto session in late 2014, legislators argued that having fewer jurors made the higher pay affordable.

That, they said, was good for justice: People may be more willing to serve if they got paid $25 versus as little as $4.

Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court today issued an opinion striking down a law that cut civil juries in half. The law would also have hiked juror pay. 

When they passed it in 2014, legislators argued that having fewer jurors made the higher pay affordable. But critics say really, it was a thinly-veiled parting gift to trial lawyers from Democrats while they still controlled the governor's mansion.

The thought being, that smaller juries would be prone to paying out higher awards in personal injury cases. 

Pension Prospects?

Sep 22, 2016

Lawmakers haven't touched state pension benefits in the nearly year-and-a-half since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled their last attempt unconstitutional. But Governor Bruce Rauner says he's "pretty excited": He thinks they will pass a new law this winter.


The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service, but it comes with warnings.

In a just-released report, Moody's analysts commend administrators for having years ago prepared to weather fiscal storms like the one higher education's facing now.

The state of Illinois may have the nation's worst credit rating. But its largest public university system -- the University of Illinois -- gets a far better grade.

Facebook/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service. But it comes with warnings.  In a just-released report, Moody's analysts commend administrators for having years ago prepared to weather fiscal storms like the one higher education's facing now.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, has gotten a lot of traction with his push for term limits. Voters seem to love the idea just as much as legislators hate it, even if the governor's plan doesn't seem all that practical.

Illinois is getting ready to celebrate a milestone. In 2018, the state turns 200.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday used his executive authority to create an office and a 51-member commission (members haven't yet been appointed) to coordinate the festivities.

"And we want leaders from all over the state coming up with their ideas and recommendations on how we can best celebrate," he said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, it's going to be a really big deal."

 Gov. Bruce Rauner took to social media Tuesday to answer Illinois residents' questions in real time ... some of them, anyway.

The governor says he uses Google Hangout to video chat with his kids, but it was his first time trying Facebook Live.

"How you doing? Welcome to our first ever Facebook Live. This is going to be fun and interesting," he said at the start.

Governor Bruce Rauner has gotten a lot of traction with his push for term limits. Voters seem to love the idea just as much as legislators hate it, even if the governor's plan doesn't seem all that practical. 

Flickr Creative Commons/popofatticus

If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement.  Governor Bruce Rauner relayed that message today in Springfield after speaking at a meeting of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.  The long-scheduled conference happened to open after a series of bombings in New York and New Jersey.

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign surged in part because of his tuition-free college platform. Now one of Sanders' backers -- State Representative Will Guzzardi -- is bringing that concept to Illinois.


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.

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.

A divided Illinois Supreme Court is sticking by its decision on redistricting.  An organization called Independent Maps wants voters to change the Illinois Constitution so a commission would draw district boundaries, rather than legislators themselves.

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

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.

Yelp.com/Andrea R.

Per the terms of a court settlement, Illinois is expanding services for mentally ill prisoners.  The department of corrections today announced it will take over a section of a state-run mental health hospital in Elgin.  

  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. 

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.

The sponsor of legislation to expand Illinois' child care program says she's hopeful it will happen, despite Gov. Bruce Rauner's recent veto.

Democratic Sen. Kim Lightford of Maywood says she'll try to override the veto after November's election.

Lightford wants to increase the amount of money a parent can make to receive a state subsidy for child care.

Her measure would raise the limit to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or less than $24,000 a year for a single parent with one child.  It'd rise in later years.

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.

Accessing life insurance benefits in Illinois will be easier, thanks to a new website and state law signed today by Governor Bruce Rauner.  What happens if a family grieving the loss of a loved one is owed life insurance money, but doesn't make a claim for it?  In some cases, the insurance companies held onto the money.

The Illinois Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on whether a constitutional amendment belongs on the ballot, even though election officials are set to certify the ballot tomorrow.

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.

Even as Governor Bruce Rauner denounces higher insurance premiums in Illinois under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is trying to tamp down those concerns.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released an analysis that projects roughly two-thirds of Illinois consumers would still be able to buy a plan for less than 75 dollars a month... even if rates next year increase by 50%.

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