Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Towns Ask Pritzker: Where’s Our Money?

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Towns and cities can’t access COVID-19 relief funding allocated to them by the federal government because the state is holding onto it instead, the Illinois Municipal League said Wednesday as it called on Pritzker’s administration to release the money.

COVID-19 Has Dealt a Blow to Government Budgets. What That Means for Illinois

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

How to educate students during a pandemic is far from the only issue elected officials — and Illinois residents — have to grapple with. And it seems unlikely the federal government will agree to another stimulus package before the election.

Illinois Supreme Court Battle Intensifies Ahead of Nov. 3 Election

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (WTTW News)

Critics of Thomas Kilbride are making the most of their once-in-a-decade chance to toss a sitting Illinois Supreme Court justice.

Illinois Made It Easier to Vote, But Obstacles Remain

The election is just weeks away and early voting is in full swing. How ready are voters and election authorities?

Expanded Early Voting Kicks Off in Chicago

What you need to know about mail-in voting and voting in person as Nov. 3 — Election Day — approaches.

Good Government Groups Scold Legislators for Putting Ethics on the Back Burner

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been more than six months since a state commission was supposed to issue a report on proposed ethics reforms and nearly a year since the bipartisan commission was first formed.

Local Community Leaders on Vice Presidential Policy Promises

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence participate in a debate Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

Health care, the environment and the economy were among the issues that got top billing Wednesday when the running mates of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off at their sole debate.

Meet the Democrat Making a Run Against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (WTTW News)

Michael Madigan has had a virtual lock on his position as the leader of the Illinois House, serving as speaker for all but two years since 1983. Could his job now be in jeopardy?

Retirees at Center of Lawsuit, Questions Over Graduated Tax

Bishop Shirley Coleman of the Spiritual Wholistic Ministries of Love & Faith gathers with other religious leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 to promote the “fair tax” amendment. (WTTW News)

In November, Illinois voters will be making a choice about how the state taxes income. But a last-minute lawsuit claims the ballot itself is flawed and is raising questions about how it may impact retirees.

The 2020 Census: What’s At Stake

(WTTW News)

Organizers in Illinois are making a major, last-minute push for census participation. What you need to know before the count wraps up.

Power Struggle: Madigan at Center of Illinois House Hearing

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan declined to testify Tuesday at a special hearing convened for the sole purpose of vetting whether he engaged in conduct unbefitting of his elected position, and it remains unclear whether he’ll face a subpoena.

New Revelations About Trump’s Taxes. What It All Means

President Donald Trump speaks about coronavirus testing on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (WTTW News via CNN)

While President Donald Trump continues to battle in court to keep his financial records from becoming public, the New York Times got troves of Trump tax returns from unnamed sources. Tax experts share their insights.

Pot Entrepreneurs Get Another Shot From the State

(Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash)

Illinois’ already-delayed marijuana expansion is on pause, but many of the entrepreneurs trying to be part of the industry are hoping that good things will come to those who wait.

Celebrating Mexican Independence Day Amid the Pandemic

(Courtesy @theMariague via Twitter)

Mexican Americans didn't let the pandemic stop their celebrations. Was there a better way?

Madigan Under the Microscope: Special Investigative Hearings Begin

(WTTW News)

Six state representatives – three Democrats and three Republicans – got to work Thursday tackling whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan engaged in conduct “unbecoming” of a legislator. 

Uproar Over Winners, Losers in State’s Marijuana Expansion

(WTTW News)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois is already months behind in awarding licenses to new marijuana dispensaries. But now, legislators want to further delay the process. 

21 Finalists to be Entered into a Lottery for 75 New Illinois Cannabis Dispensaries

(WTTW News)

Twenty-one finalists are now vying for the highly coveted licenses that will add 75 new cannabis dispensaries throughout the state, which will hold a lottery sometime this month to make it final.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Near South Side

Mercy Hospital (WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted both the importance of access to health care and disparities in access to it, which is why residents who live near Mercy Hospital and Medical Center say they’re furious about its plans to close next year.

House Speaker Madigan Focus of Special Investigative Committee

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

At the behest of a trio of Republican state legislators, a special Illinois House committee will investigate whether Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has engaged in conduct that would warrant discipline.

Black State Officials Unveil Their List of Legislative Demands

Illinois’ Black legislators plan to capitalize on the intense focus on inequalities instigated by the killing of George Floyd to push forward this fall a robust policy agenda to root out systemic racism.

Tipped Workers Call on Officials to Scrap Tiered Wage Structure, Businesses Push Back

(Robert-Owen-Wahl / Pixabay)

Illinois’ minimum wage increased from $9.25 to $10 in July, despite a request from business owners to delay the hike during a pandemic. But for employers whose take-home pay is largely dependent on tips, the minimum wage is $6.

So You Need to Renew Your Driver’s License …

(WTTW News)

Even before the pandemic, Illinois Secretary of State offices in Chicago saw long lines as people sought Real IDs ahead of a fall deadline. That deadline and others have been pushed back. Here’s what you need to know.

How Race Has Had a Starring Role at Both Party Conventions

Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat, speaks at the Republican National Convention on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (WTTW News via RNC)

We take a closer look at the role race has played in the political conventions — especially at the opening night of the Republican National Convention.

As the RNC Kicks Off, A Look at the GOP in Illinois

President Donald Trump has the fundraising advantage on Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but in Illinois, Republicans are the underdogs when it comes to both power and cash.

State Lawmaker Contemplates Suing CPD After Gun Charge Dismissed

Now that he’s no longer fighting a gun charge, state Rep. Curtis Tarver is considering suing the Chicago Police Department for violating his rights.

Navy Pier Closing After Labor Day Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

After weeks of being closed, Navy Pier prepares on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 for its partial reopening. (WTTW News)

Unlike the pier’s shutdown for several months in the spring due to government orders driven by the coronavirus pandemic, directors of Navy Pier are this time choosing to close the cultural attraction for economic reasons.