Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Soldier Field. (WTTW News)

Talks Between Chicago Officials and the Bears Could Soon Resume as Team Plots New Stadium Options

Conversations about alternate locations for a new Bears stadium have also reignited the possibility of the team sticking with the city, with a source telling WTTW News that talks between the city of Chicago and the team could resume as early as this week.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on May 31, 2023. (WTTW News)

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch on Budget, Bipartisanship and Immigration

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch joined “Chicago Tonight” for a one-on-one conversation about the spring legislative session, recently passed $50 billion state budget and asylum seekers.

(WTTW News)

Lawmaker Raises, Car Title Changes: What’s Included in Illinois’ New $50B State Budget

Backers of a new state budget say they've passed a balanced plan crafted in cooperation. Many Republicans, however, say the measure largely ignores their input and sets the state up for obligations it won’t be able to meet.

(WTTW News)

Legislative Session Roundup: Updates on Chicago’s Elected School Board, Red Light Cameras

Illinois’ legislative session is wrapping up in earnest, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker will soon face the task of deciding whether to crystalize legislators’ ideas by signing them into law. 

(WTTW News)

State Senate Approves $50B Illinois Budget Deal, House Set to Vote Next

The $50.6 billion spending plan (SB250) passed the Illinois Senate late Thursday night, with only the support of Democrats who drafted it.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Democrats reached a budget deal May 24, 2023. (WTTW News)

Pritzker, Illinois Democrats Tout State Budget Agreement, But Deal Not Done Yet

A more than $50 billion dollar budget agreement Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the leaders of the legislature trumpeted on Wednesday afternoon isn’t a done deal yet.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Lawmakers Set to Return Wednesday In Push to Pass a Budget

Passing a budget is arguably the single must-happen task for lawmakers and it was supposed to have been done by Friday, but that self-imposed deadline came and went without any budget action.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Bills Look to Crack Down on Deepfakes and Doxing, Would Allow Civil Suits

Two new measures give victims the ability to bring a civil lawsuit against an alleged perpetrator — a step that has raised alarm from civil liberties advocates and media groups like motion picture and cable organizations.

(WTTW News)

After Missing Deadline, State Lawmakers to Resume Budget Talks in Springfield Next Week

Illinois Democrats have the ranks to pass a new state budget, but an inability to agree on spending figures means they blew past Friday’s deadline and will return to the capitol next week in another attempt to get the job done.

(WTTW News)

Critics Say Chicago’s Elected School Board Won’t Reflect the District’s Student Population Unless Map is Redrawn

State legislators are responsible for drawing the 20 districts that will comprise Chicago’s elected school board. Advocates were dissatisfied with the General Assembly’s first attempt and say a revised draft made public Wednesday isn’t much of an improvement.

Illinois Lawmakers Take Up CPS Map, Gender-Neutral Bathrooms and Gun Advertising as Budget Discussions Continue

Illinois lawmakers will miss their self-imposed Friday deadline to pass a budget, with no spending plan having surfaced by Thursday night. They are also working to pass an array of measures regulating everything from bathrooms to generic drug pricing and Native American studies.

(WTTW News)

Debate Over Expansion of Health Care Program for Undocumented Residents, Green-Card Holders Slows State Budget Talks

One roadblock to the passage of a state budget this week has been a set of programs in which Illinois provides health care coverage to green-card holders and undocumented residents.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Challenge to State’s Assault Weapons Ban

After seven people were shot and killed during Highland Park’s Independence Day parade last summer, Illinois took a major and controversial step toward limiting which guns can be used and sold in state. The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to weigh the law’s constitutionality.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Lawmakers Work to Iron Out Budget Agreement in Session’s Final Week

Illinois legislators have through Friday to accomplish their most important task: passing a budget.

(WTTW News)

Saint Anthony Hospital Seeks State Funding for Upgraded Facility on Southwest Side

Saint Anthony Hospital has been a Chicago fixture on the Southwest Side for more than a century. Residents and local leaders say it’s time to upgrade the hospital facility but that they keep getting overlooked.

(WTTW News)

Though Not on Trial, Former House Speaker Michael Madigan at Heart of ‘ComEd Four’ Bribery Case

When jurors Tuesday convicted a quad of Illinois power players on corruption charges, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan wasn’t among them. Madigan wasn’t on trial. But he was at the heart of the case, with a juror telling journalists that Madigan “really did cause all this to happen.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks about Medicaid renewal efforts on May 1, 2023. (WTTW News)

Medicaid Renewal Process Starts as Illinois Officials Urge Residents to Return Information

During the pandemic, the number of low-income and disabled people who received government-backed health care grew in Illinois, and across the country, because at the height of COVID Congress made it illegal for states to kick anyone off Medicaid.

(WTTW News)

Closing Arguments Begin in ‘ComEd Four’ Trial: ‘Madigan Wanted, ComEd Gave and ComEd Got’

Prosecutors in the so-called ComEd Four trial say the defendants are liars and bribers. Defense attorneys say their clients are talented at their jobs, and merely were caught in a government witch hunt aimed at Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Former ComEd CEO Distances Herself From Michael Madigan During 2nd Day on the Stand

Anne Pramaggiore was one of Chicago’s most high-profile executives, serving as CEO of ComEd, as well as chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago’s Board of Directors, and on the boards of DePaul University and Motorola. All of those titles are gone now and replaced with another: defendant.

(WTTW News)

Taking the Stand in Her Defense, Former ComEd CEO Describes Relationship With Madigan and His Lobbyist

As CEO of Illinois’ powerful ComEd utility company, Anne Pramaggiore had to take risks. On Thursday, she took another as she stepped to the witness stand at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse downtown, to testify in her own defense.

W.G.N. Flag and Decorating Company employees make a Chicago flag. (WTTW News)

Family-Owned Chicago Flag Company Has Been Supplying Symbols of Civic Pride for 108 Years

Many of the flags waving from civic buildings aren’t just representing Chicago, they’re made in the city’s South Shore neighborhood, by Chicago residents, who work for a company known as W.G.N.

(WTTW News)

Star Witness Takes the Stand in ComEd Trial, Testifies About Efforts to Influence Michael Madigan

ComEd’s lobbying team got the go-ahead in 2018 to kill the Illinois attorney general’s proposal to give low-income consumers a break on their electric bills with the blessing of her father, Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan, according to a witness. 

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias speaks at a news conference March 23, 2023. His office announced $21 million in grants for law enforcement to target carjackings and auto thefts. (WTTW News)

Illinois Secretary of State Awards $21M to Target Carjackings, Vehicle Thefts

The $21 million in grants will be funded through a dollar assessment charged annually on Illinois auto insurance policies.

Former President Donald Trump. File photo. (WTTW News)

Will Trump Be Arrested? A Look at the Accusations Facing the Former President

Former President Donald Trump’s prediction that he would be arrested Tuesday didn’t bear out, but he still faces the prospect of indictment. That’s now in the hands of a New York grand jury.

Southland Chamber of Commerce Chair Bonita Parker speaks at a March 20, 2023, news conference. (WTTW News)

South Suburban Officials, State Lawmakers Renew Calls for Peotone Airport

Local officials in the south suburbs are renewing efforts to get a regional airport to take flight. The idea for a third Chicago area airport has been floated for decades, and not lightly — Illinois has spent close to $100 million to buy land

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments about the SAFE-T Act on March 14, 2023. (WTTW News)

Illinois Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Eliminating Cash Bail

The lawsuit over cash bail pits the state’s Democratic governor, attorney general and legislative leaders against roughly half of Illinois’ state’s attorneys, as well as county sheriffs. Both sides can agree on this much: The justices’ decision will have major ramifications on the future of the criminal justice system in Illinois.