The SAFE-T Act package passed as law two years ago, in January 2021. But only in January 2023 will its most controversial part, the Pretrial Fairness Act, take effect. Illinois lawmakers spent all of Thursday – their last day of session in 2022 – making last minute changes to the law
Stories by Amanda Vinicky
Dec 1, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Nov 30, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
One of Republicans’ major concerns has been that the legal standards were too narrow for determining when a defendant could be kept in jail as they await trial. A Democratic proposal addresses that by expanding the list of crimes for which someone can be denied pretrial release.
Nov 29, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
On Tuesday, leaders announced a bipartisan plan, which also has the backing of business and labor, to eliminate the $1.8 billion remainder of that debt, including paying back an interest-incurring federal loan that had been used to shore up the fund.
Nov 23, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
The stand-off between railroad companies and a dozen unions representing workers from conductors to locomotive engineers is for the second time heading toward a possible strike.
Nov 16, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
It’s been two years since Illinois Democrats passed the major criminal justice law known as the SAFE-T Act, but it’s getting a lot of attention now as the bail overhaul approaches.
Nov 15, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
A red wave may not have materialized on Tuesday as polls predicted and the GOP had hoped, but election currents swept in changes across the top ranks of the Illinois General Assembly.
Nov 15, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Illinois’ constitution will be amended to explicitly protect unions, according to backers of the change who’ve been closely watching as mail-in ballots get added to totals from last Tuesday’s election. Outside entities and leading critics of the question say it’s too early for unions to claim victory.
Nov 9, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is not only the party figurehead. He’s also a billionaire, who over the past two years, has spent at least $150 million on his and other Democrats’ campaigns.
Nov 9, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Election results ensure Democrats will hold onto their super-majorities in the Illinois General Assembly. Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin was quick to respond to the bad night for Illinois Republicans.
Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker Declares Victory Over Darren Bailey, Says He Will Bring ‘Happy Warrior’ Spirit to 2nd Term
Nov 8, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Just minutes after polls closed in Illinois, the Associated Press called the race for the incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
From State Offices to Control of Congress, Illinois Voters Have Plenty of Decisions to Make Election Day
Nov 7, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Illinois voters on Tuesday will decide races ranging from who will be the next governor and secretary of state, to whether the state will amend its constitution. We break down the races.
Nov 3, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
In areas that are solidly Democratic or Republican, races were virtually decided over the summer, in the primary contest. But particularly in the suburbs, it's not always as cut and dried.
Nov 2, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
If the question in Evanston passes next week, ranked choice voting would first be used in the city in the spring of 2025.
Oct 31, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is under federal indictment on corruption charges and no longer holds a reputation as the state’s most powerful politician. Despite all that, he is still a successful fundraiser.
50 Years After Title IX, Transgender Athletes Advocate for Protections in High School and College Sports
Oct 27, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
“Title Nine at 50: Past, Present, Future” is a three-day event at Northwestern University’s Evanston campus running Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's free and open to the public and this story will be screened on Friday as part of the symposium.
Oct 24, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
You’ve done your research. Made your choices. Cast your ballot. What happens next? WTTW News explains the ballot counting and storing procedure used in Chicago.
Balance of Power Could Shift on the Illinois Supreme Court. Here Are the Candidates Running in November
Oct 12, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
With terms that last 10 years, having two competitive Illinois Supreme Court contests in a single election cycle – as is the case in the suburbs outside of Cook County this November – is rare and the results potentially significant.
Oct 11, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
“These races often fly under the radar but these are the two most important races on our ballot in November,” said lawyer Trisha Rich, who is on the board of the abortion rights group Personal PAC. “And even though that might sound like an overstatement, it’s not.”
Oct 6, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Early voting begins in Chicago on Friday, but voters will have fewer opportunities to be informed about the positions of those on the ballot because there are fewer debates. It’s a national trend, though one that’s difficult to measure.
Oct 4, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
The law, known as the SAFE-T Act, will eliminate cash bail come January. But it’s likely the law will see an overhaul of its own — or at least, tweaks — before then.
The Illinois Marijuana Industry Was Supposed to Bring Equity. Advocates Say Those Promises Are Falling Short
Sep 28, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Illinois was supposed to be the national model when government leaders pledged they’d use the 2020 legalization of marijuana to right the wrongs of the war on drugs that disproportionately harmed Black and Latino communities. Nearly three years later, those poised to benefit say they’re still stymied.
Sep 26, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
Among the choices voters will have to make on Nov. 8 is whether to add a new amendment to the Illinois constitution that would give workers the “fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively” while at the same time forbidding any law that interferes with that ability.
Sep 21, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
In January, Illinois will eliminate cash bail — money paid to release someone from jail, as a guarantee that they will return for trial. But the change won’t go into effect if a trio of state’s attorneys have their way as they seek to have the law, dubbed by drafters as the SAFE-T Act, declared null and void.
Sep 20, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
“We have a serious shortage of judges and poll workers,” Cook County Clerk Yarbrough said. “The clerk’s office manages elections in suburban Cook County and we’ve seen our number of election judges shrink significantly in recent years. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a reduction of about 40%.”
Sep 19, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
As Puerto Rico is battling the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona, Chicago-area residents of Puerto Rican descent say the storm calls attention to past wrongs and opportunities for change.
Sep 14, 2022 | Amanda Vinicky
The countdown is on for railroad companies and unions to reach a deal. If one isn’t reached by late Thursday night, workers could strike. That would have a big impact, most immediately for commuters.