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. 

Paul Coussens

Illinois hasn't had a true state budget for a year and five months. Even so, there's some talk of trying to work ahead on a spending plan for the future. Anyone even remotely connected to state government will tell you one of the most difficult parts of going without a budget for so long is that it's created tremendous uncertainty.

Illinois' wealthy governor is calling for state legislators to go without pay. State legislators last received paychecks in June. That's according to the comptroller's office, which is responsible for the delay. The comptroller has put elected officials' pay in a queue, along with $10 billion of other overdue bills Illinois can't afford to immediately pay. A group of Democratic representatives are suing to reinstate their monthly income. Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized them in a video message. ...

brucerauner.com

After calling for daily meetings with Illinois' top leaders, Governor Bruce Rauner called off one that had been scheduled for today. In a statement, his office said Democrats were unprepared for the next steps in budget talks. Today the Republican took that message to voters, with a video on social media.

Illinois' new comptroller is making changes, just days after taking office. State employees expecting a bonus will have to wait. Non-unionized employees were awarded bonuses this fall. That became a liability for Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger's campaign. Munger at the time said she had no choice but to process them. Critics -- including Munger's then opponent, Democrat Susana Mendoza, pounced.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan may not agree on much when it comes to the Illinois budget. As they negotiate both men apparently find it helpful to accuse the other of pushing for a tax increase. Rauner, Madigan and the legislature’s other top leaders discussed the budget privately Tuesday in Chicago.

Illinois' new comptroller says she will continue the practice of waiting to pay public officials' paychecks. Democrat Susana Mendoza took the oath of office for comptroller today in the statehouse rotunda. She's taking over as a handful of legislators from her party are suing her office to be paid on time.

Illinois lawmakers' two-week, fall veto session has come to an end. Gov. Bruce Rauner used his veto pen on 37 bills this second half of the General Assembly's two-year session. Legislators successfully overrode just one of them -- a relatively minor measure having to do with Chicago fire fighters' pensions. Leaving the rest effectively dead. That includes automatic voter registration, higher wages for caretakers of the disabled and legislation that will leave a $215 million shortfall in the...

The union that's representing 30 thousand state workers is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner. It filed a lawsuit late Wednesday in St. Clair County circuit court.

The union that’s representing 30,000 state workers is suing Governor Bruce Rauner. It filed a lawsuit late yesterday in Saint Clair County circuit court. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall says Rauner is starting to implement a new state contract before the law allows.

In a sign the stalemate in Springfield is as strong as ever, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that had once been held up as proof he and Democratic leaders were capable of working together. The action leaves politicians divided. And it could leave the financially-ailing Chicago Public Schools short some $215 million.

Will Illinois legislators pass a tax increase before a new General Assembly takes over in mid January? A majority of Illinois state representatives say no. There's no sign a vote on a tax hike is coming; Illinois' Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and the Democrats who control the legislature remain divided on the path forward. But the last time there was an income tax increase, legislators passed it during the so-called "lame duck" session. That's when lawmakers who either lost re-election...

Dozens of state legislators Wednesday publicly called on Governor Bruce Rauner to negotiate with the state's largest public-employee union, but Rauner has already started taking advantage of his ability to implement new contract terms without AFSCME's approval. A state labor board recently found Rauner was fine to have broken off talks with AFSCME last January, because the two sides were so far apart. The union plans to fight that decision in court, but otherwise, most state employees are...

Illinois residents will have to be proactive about registering to vote. A bill that would have automatically registered voters died Tuesday. Automatic voter registration was approved by lawmakers from both parties in the spring, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected it. He says it opened the doors to voter fraud. When sponsors brought it back before the House Tuesday in an attempt to override Rauner's veto, more than a dozen Republicans sided with the governor and dropped their support,...

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers. House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject Monday, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

Flickr Creative Commons/Matt Turner

New state legislators won't be able to cast votes until they're inaugurated in mid-January. But 20 of them are spending this week at the capitol anyway, for new member orientation.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continues to demand legislators lower what businesses have to pay for injured workers. House Democrats scheduled a hearing on the subject today, and yet Rauner's fellow Republicans wanted nothing to do with it.

After taking a break for Thanksgiving, Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, as the second, and final, week of Illinois' annual veto session begins. The governor and leaders are meeting as Illinois approaches a deadline: When 2016 is over, so is a temporary spending plan. Rauner continues to prioritize an agenda he says will grow the economy in the long run; Democrats continue to resist those plans. House Speaker Michael Madigan’s...

In a last minute bid to gain support ahead of Illinois' veto session, a massive piece of energy legislation is being scaled back. Exelon says unless lawmakers pass a bill next week, the corporation will close nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Any companies that may end up helping build a wall on the U.S. / Mexico border would stand to lose Illinois investments, under a proposal unveiled today. The legislation would forbid the state's pension funds from investing in any firm that participates in the wall proposed by President-Elect Donald Trump.

Illinois is making a concerted effort to encourage former prisoners to put skills they learned behind bars to use in the real world. Fewer than one percent of applicants with criminal records are turned away when they apply to the state for a professional license, but Illinois' Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation, Bryan Schneider, says anecdotally, the department knows many former convicts don't even try. Prisoners can attend a state-licensed barber and cosmetology program...

Gov. Bruce Rauner / Facebook

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana Rauner’s Roman holiday is coming to an end. They were part of an 80-member Chicago delegation to the Vatican where they witnessed Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich become a cardinal. Rauner posted several videos to Facebook during the four-day trip. “This morning we went to our first Papal mass; 150, 000 in St. Peter’s Square. Completely filled. Beautiful day, 70 degrees, sunny, beautiful clouds, birds flying over. And the Pope came by, and he...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is in the early stages of imposing new employment terms for members of AFSCME the state's largest government labor union. That's because of a state labor relations board decision early this week that the two sides are at an impasse in contract negotiations. But AFSCME members like Randy Knight, with the department of revenue, want Rauner to instead choose to resume talks. Knight and hundreds of other state employees picketed outside their Springfield office over the lunch hour.

The state's top political leaders got together in Springfield Wednesday for the second time in as many days. A prime topic of conversation in the closed-door meeting: a new report on just how dire Illinois' budget situation has gotten. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's top leaders spent part of Wednesday morning talking about the budget mess they helped create. The backlog of bills that the state owes but can't afford to pay now exceeds $10 billion. According to a new report...

He's a Republican. But Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner avoided talking about Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign, but he opened up some Wednesday. Rauner still didn't actually say Trump's name; he left it at "President-Elect" and "new administration." But Rauner did volunteer that he and Trump spoke by phone last Friday. "I've had some good conversations with the new administration in Washington. 'Cause I want to try to figure out if we can work well together. 'Cause I want...

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois legislators didn't do much Tuesday on their first day of their annual veto session. That could change today. Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky reports. Gov . Bruce Rauner used his veto pen on 36 bills. So far, lawmakers haven't dealt with any of them. But Senator Andy Manar , a Macoupin County Democrat, wants to override Rauner's veto of an automatic voter registration measure. "It by far would be the greatest step we can take to increase voter participation throughout this...

Governor Bruce Rauner met today with Illinois' top leaders. It was the first such gathering in months. A stopgap spending plan expires at the end of the year. Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to use the same recipe that led to the stopgap's passage.

The governor and Illinois' top leaders are set to meet Tuesday morning, after Republicans on Monday accused Democrats of a dereliction of duty. It's been one year, four months and 15 days since the state of Illinois had a regular budget. If you're wondering why Illinois' top politicians haven't been able to do something as important as passing a budget, here's a clue: They have a hard time even agreeing on when to meet. Gov. Bruce Rauner's office made a big deal of wanting a meeting Monday...

It's been 1 year, 4 months and 14 days since the state of Illinois had a regular budget. Today Republicans staged a news event intended to make their Democratic colleagues look bad.

Illinois lawmakers will meet in Springfield this week for the first time since the election, but things are already off to a rough start. Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies made a big public push last week about his wanting to meet with the General Assembly's for top leaders ... including Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Mind you, Rauner and his allies spent months making a much bigger public push -- in hundreds of campaign ads -- to paint Madigan as a greedy, corrupt insider. Sunday...

Illinois legislators will only get a brief post-election respite from politics. They are scheduled to be back in Springfield next Tuesday to begin the veto session. The current makeup of the General Assembly will remain in place for that but, come the new year, the Capitol welcomes a new set of lawmakers elected Tuesday night and the balance of power will shift -- slightly. Election Day is like the Super Bowl of politics. While Gov. Bruce Rauner is the Republican Party’s standard-bearer, he...

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