Amanda Vinicky

217-206-6019

Read Amanda's "Leadership" 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 credit analyst with Moody's says Illinois' bond rating will remain unchanged despite the state entering its third month without a budget.  But the chances of a downgrade increase the longer gridlock continues.

The University of Illinois is grappling with a requirement of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect in 2016. 

istorija / Flickr/Creative Commons

If you've been meaning to visit the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, the Dickson Mounds archeological site, or museum shops in Lockport and Chicago, you have one month left to do it.

A spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, which manages the sites, says they're set to close Sept. 30.

That's also when layoffs will take effect for all but three museum employees.

Advocates, like Erika Holst, a curator at Springfield's Art Association, have asked legislators to help save the museum.

A key vote in the standoff between Gov. Bruce Rauner and labor is expected in the Illinois House this week, as early as Wednesday.

Rauner has been trying to convince legislators to let him keep his power to negotiate with the AFSCME union, even if it results in a lockout or strike (though Rauner has vowed he won't call for the former). At the same time, AFSCME leaders are asking state representatives to stick with them.

  The Fraternal Order of Police is urging legislators to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto that could have major ramifications on state employees' next contract. The Republican's administration is negotiating a new contract with the AFSCME union, and both sides have said they're far from an agreement.

The Fraternal Order of Police is urging legislators to override Governor Bruce Rauner's veto that could have major ramifications on state employees' next contract.  

A last-minute appointment former Governor Pat Quinn made after losing last year's election has spurred a new law.  

The sponsor of legislation intended to curb heroin abuse says he'll try to override Governor Bruce Rauner's partial veto.

Illinois is nearing the end of August, and still there's no state budget in place. But House members will return to Springfield today.

The Illinois House controls the fate of a measure that's not a budget bill, per say, but which Gov. Bruce Rauner says could have major financial ramifications for the state.

It'd prevent his ability to lock out state workers -- something he's said he won't do --- as well as forbid employees from striking. Instead, an arbitrator would settle an impasse if Rauner and the AFSCME union can't agree to a new contract.

WJBC

The recently-promoted top officer of Illinois' National Guard says he'll incorporate lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.  A decade ago, Katrina hit. Major General Richard Hayes Jr. went to New Orleans.

While presidential candidates seemed as prevalent as funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair, none stopped by Illinois'.

A Democratic Party leader says Hillary Clinton was invited to its political events in Springfield. Instead, Clinton had surrogates speak on her behalf, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

"Hillary Clinton is a leader, she is a fighter, she is a friend and having grown up in Park Ridge, Illinois, she is one of us," Madigan said.

Questions and fears about quality of care in nursing homes may be assuaged come January. A new law signed by the governor Friday will permit electronic monitoring.

While presidential candidates seemed as prevalent as funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair, none stopped by Illinois' Fair.  

The Democratic Party of Illinois isn't officially backing any one candidate for U.S. Senate.  That has leading Democrats going their own separate ways when it comes to endorsements.

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.  Democrats had their annual state fair gathering today in Springfield.

Democrats vying for Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk's seat circled in Springfield today during the party's unofficial campaign kickoff.  

A budget impasse lingers, but hasn't interrupted politicians' big rallies at the Illinois State Fair.  Democrats will have their chance today... but yesterday was the Republicans' chance. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.

As they seek to reinvigorate the party, Illinois Republicans gathered today  in Springfield for both a state fair rally and a meeting of county chairs.  Nearly every person in attendance was white.  

It's the first Governor's Day in Republican hands at the Illinois State Fair in a dozen years.  Members of the GOP rallying at the fairgrounds gave a standing ovation to Governor Bruce Rauner when he took the stage.

With Republican Bruce Rauner in office, it's the GOP's first Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair in a dozen years. But one prominent member of the party was a no-show.

At least a dozen Republicans are chasing the party's presidential nomination. But which of them will get a boost from Illinois' new, and privately wealthy, Republican governor?

Governor Bruce Rauner making an urgent appeal to lawmakers to uphold his veto of a measure he called the "worst" he's ever seen, on the eve of a possible vote.  

The chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois says he isn't wading into the primary battle for U.S. Senate. At least not yet.                      

Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk's up for re-election next year, and Democrats are trying to wrestle back his seat.

The two most prominent candidates? 

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, and the head of the Chicago Urban League, Andrea Zopp.

"The Democratic Party is very fortunate that we have so many people that are interested in running for the United States senate."

Updated estimates show that Illinois is on the trajectory to spend $2 billion more than the spending plan Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed because it's out of balance, even though it has gone 44 days without a budget.

Illinois has been without a budget since the start of July. And yet money's steadily flowing from state coffers, thanks to court orders, decrees, and other arrangements.

"We can't even close down the state right," said Republican Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights.

More than five billion dollars in federal funds may soon be on its way to social service agencies, despite Illinois still having no budget in place, but it didn't happen without a political fight.

Utility, Inc. / Flickr/Creative Commons

Getting a speeding ticket in Illinois will cost you an extra five dollars. It's part of a new state law regulating police body cameras.

A year after Ferguson, Missouri erupted in protests following the shooting of Michael Brown, Illinois has a law that's described as "landmark."

That five dollars tacked onto traffic citations will be used to create a fund that police departments can draw on to pay for the cameras.

Once they get them, the law sets standards for their use.

Top political leaders say Illinois' lack of a budget won't put a dent in plans for the upcoming Illinois State Fair.

The fair in Springfield is set to kick off with the twilight parade on Thurs., Aug 13. When asked if there's a chance a budget will be in place by then, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan responded by saying it's possible.

"If everybody’s reasonable, and everybody functions in moderation and not in the extreme," he said last week. "And since we’re in continuous session..."

  An effort to get billions of dollars to social services agencies could be doomed, despite approval Tuesday by an Illinois House committee. The bipartisan standoff may again block money that would provide low-income people with shelter and food, help homeless veterans, and screen women for cervical cancer.

A bipartisan standoff may again block money that would provide low-income people with shelter and food, help homeless veterans, and screen women for cervical cancer. 

Just last week, in a rare display of cohesion, Republican Senators joined Democrats in voting to spend $5 billion dollars for those needs. It was, in a sense, like spending free cash: it all came from the feds.

House Democrats want to tack on more spending: some federal, some state. Republicans like Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon say Illinois doesn't have the money: so they're withdrawing support.

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