Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Law Allows Pharmacists to Dispense Contraception

(Pixabay)

It’ll be easier to access birth control in Illinois, courtesy of a new law that allows pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraception without a doctor’s prescription.

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin Jumps into GOP Governor’s Race as Expensive Campaign Season Looms

(Irvin Campaign)

It’s been nearly a year since candidates began announcing their intent to run for Illinois governor, but Monday brought a new entrant to shake up the race. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin declared he’s running as a Republican in an online video. 

COVID-19, Political Standoff Disrupt School

Knowing that most teachers wouldn’t show, even with the warning that they would therefore not be paid, CPS canceled class for Wednesday, and now Thursday too. (WTTW News)

Knowing that most teachers wouldn’t show, even with the warning that they would therefore not be paid, CPS canceled class for Wednesday, and now Thursday too.

CPS CEO Commits to School Specific COVID-19 Closing Metrics

(WTTW News)

In the face of a potential walkout by Chicago Teachers Union members, Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez said he is committed to putting in place COVID-19 cases metrics for closing schools and classrooms.

Almost 300 New Statutes Take Effect Saturday

Some 300 new laws will take effect in Illinois in the new year. They range from changing how gun licenses are processed — to regulating pet sales. (Wikimedia Commons / Megan Davis)

Some 300 new laws will take effect in Illinois in the new year. They range from changing how gun licenses are processed — to regulating pet sales.

New Healthcare Laws Expand Infertility Treatment Coverage, Create Unused Medicine Repository

A series of new laws could make it easier for consumers to comparison shop for prescriptions, make sure unused medicine doesn’t go to waste, and expand coverage of fertility treatment. (Flickr / The Javorac)

A series of new laws could make it easier for consumers to comparison shop for prescriptions, make sure unused medicine doesn’t go to waste, and expand coverage of fertility treatment.

State Legislature Suspends Session Due to COVID

The House and Senate will still convene Wednesday, largely for organizational purposes and to empower committees to meet and vote remotely. (WTTW News)

The General Assembly canceled its Jan. 4 and 6 session dates, and will likely call the session off the following week as well “amid the ongoing global pandemic.”

A Crash Course in Illinois’ New Education Laws

Because of the pandemic, in 2020 the legislature was thrown a bit off course, so there weren't a ton of laws that took effect at the start of 2021. Not so for 2022. (WTTW News)

Because of the pandemic, in 2020 the legislature was thrown a bit off course, so there weren't a ton of laws that took effect at the start of 2021. Not so for 2022. Dozens of measures will kick in starting Saturday.

Chicago to Require Proof of Vaccination in Bars, Restaurants and Gyms

(WTTW News)

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady instituted the requirement Tuesday, as increases in COVID-19 cases have seen the positivity rate rise to 7.3%  – past the point of rapid spread.

Lightfoot Outlines Crime-Fighting Strategy, Calls for Federal Help

(WTTW News)

“As the mayor of this city, I want to assure you that from day one in my time as mayor public safety has been, is, and will continue to be my highest priority,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday in a special speech to show she’s taking crime seriously. 

Illinois Again Extends Deadline to Renew Expired Licenses

But Secretary of State Promises This Is It

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 10, 2019. (WTTW News)

“This extension is necessary as my office continues to address the heavy customer volume caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through expanded online services and the introduction of appointments at select Driver Services facilities,” Secretary of State Jesse White said in a statement Friday.

Pritzker Repeals Illinois Law Requiring Minors Notify Parents Before Having an Abortion

(valelopardo / Pixabay)

Repeal of the Parental Notification Act erases what has been described as Illinois’ last law restricting the procedure.

Chicago Casino Developers Show Their Cards

(WTTW News Graphic)

At an hourslong hearing Thursday, the public got a look at what a Chicago casino might look like and where it would go.

Illinois Establishing Midwife License

(StockSnap / Pixabay)

Decades ago, the state of Illinois outlawed midwifery. Now the state’s in the process of changing course with a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Federal Hearing on Gun Violence Held in Chicago Amid Crime Surge

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

In 2014, Chicago saw homicides hit a historic low at 426. The city has exceeded that number every year since and is on pace to again this calendar year by more than 80%, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch.

White House COVID Advisor Says Community, At-Home Tests, Vaccinations Key

Although Dr. Cameron Webb is in the D.C. area now, he spent several years in Chicago when he went to law school at Loyola. (WTTW News)

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging. Doctors believe that’s still due to the delta variant though it’s expected Illinois will soon see more cases of the omicron variant as well. A key White House advisor tells us how the nation’s ready to tackle it with an eye toward equity.

Illinois Gambling Revenue Tops $1 Billion

The state’s gaming commission chose which developers will be allowed to build new suburban casinos — and where. This comes nearly two-and-a-half years after the state’s gambling expansion law passed. (WTTW News)

All bets are in. The state’s gaming commission chose which developers will be allowed to build new suburban casinos — and where. This comes nearly two-and-a-half years after the state’s gambling expansion law passed.

Competing COVID-19 Vaccine Bills Proposed in Illinois

(WTTW News)

One bill would require all unvaccinated individuals who are hospitalized or need other medical treatment because of COVID-19 to pay any related costs out of pocket. The other would forbid discrimination against anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated out of religious or personal beliefs.

COVID-19 Mortgage Assistance Won’t Be Available Until Spring

Illinois, Chicago Opening New Rental Funding Round on Monday

This year is set to end without any money dispersed for mortgage assistance, even as $250 million is allotted for the cause. (WTTW News)

Illinois has dispersed $750 million to help those who fell behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic. Far less – so far $100 million – has gone to homeowners having trouble keeping up with their bills. And it may be months before homeowners receive funding.

A Look at Progress and Challenges in Handling the AIDS Epidemic

The AIDS garden is set to open this spring along the lakeshore just south of Belmont Ave. (WTTW News)

It has been 40 years since the first cases of what’s now recognized as HIV/AIDS were reported. Today, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago estimates that 45,000 people are living in Illinois with HIV or AIDS, 28,000 of whom reside in Chicago.

City Officials Prep for Winter’s Arrival

(WTTW News)

“The many challenges of COVID-19, coupled with the inconvenience of life-threatening conditions that cold weather and extreme weather brings every year, that means we’ve got to utilize every tool that we can to protect the health and well-being of our residents,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.

School Districts Canceling Classes Due to Teacher Shortage

(WTTW News)

Evanston/Skokie District 65 had to cancel classes all week due to staffing shortages, but the problem isn’t limited to the district. Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents President Mark Klaisner says there’s an educator shortage statewide.

Parents of Murdered Children Demand Steeper Penalties for Killing Kids

(Photo by Mayron Oliveira on Unsplash)

Illinois has intentionally reduced its prison population, and made changes to sentencing laws to reduce offenders’ time behind bars. Now some victims’ family members are calling for the state to reverse directions when it comes to those who murder children.

Monkey Business: Advocates Say Willis the Monkey Rescued in Chicago Shows Need for Federal Wild Animal Regulation

(Credit: Born Free USA)

Animal rights organizations have been advocating for stricter federal limits on exotic animals for years. Now lawmakers have two bills in the works to put interstate limits on the sale, breeding, possession of and public contact with primates and various species of big cats.

Nurses Fear for Safety, Ask for Security in the Emergency Room

The Illinois Nurses Association and, along with members of SEIU Local 73, picket against unsafe working conditions, Nov. 9, 2021. (WTTW News)

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses were among those hailed as health care heroes. But now, nurses tell WTTW News, they are literally coming under attack. 

Federal Infrastructure Bill Could Pave the Road for Rebuilding the Ike

Legislative leaders drive push to move on stalled Eisenhower Expressway project

The political stars may finally be aligned to overhaul the Eisenhower Expressway. (WTTW News)

President Joe Biden is ready to sign a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill into law. Illinois is set to receive at least $17 billion from it, with more than $10 billion slated for federal highway projects and bridge replacements.