Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Latino Policy Forum Seeks 20 Majority-Latinx Districts … Or Else

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (WTTW News)

The Latino Policy Forum’s Roberto Valdez Jr. said that his group is counting on Illinois lawmakers to set aside at least 20 state legislative districts – 15 House seats and five state Senate seats – that are at least 50% Latino.

Illinois Legislators’ Checklist for May

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (WTTW News)

The month of May means it's prime time for action in Springfield. The legislature is set to wrap up its business by the end of the month. Here’s a look at what’s on the to-do list.

Redistricting Offers Once-a-Decade Opportunity for Communities Seeking Representation

The Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago. (WTTW News)

It’s time for Illinois legislators to get down to the business of drawing new sets of maps that will decide the boundaries for state legislative and congressional districts. It’s a seemingly arcane task, but one with big consequences. 

Police Union Calls Alvarez, Toledo Shootings Justified, Community Calls It Brutality

A memorial for Anthony Alvarez, the 22-year-old fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in Portage Park on March 31, 2021, is seen on April 28, the day police body camera video was released of the shooting. (WTTW News)

The police union says the shooting of Anthony Alvarez was justified, but community groups say it's police brutality. 

Democrats Committed to Remap in May, But Uncommitted on Data to Draw From

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (WTTW News)

With roughly a month before they plan to complete the weighty task of drawing new maps that will determine the lines of political power for the next decade, Illinois Democrats say they have not determined what data they’ll use. We speak with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle about that and more.

Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch, Illinois’ First Black Speaker of the House, on His First 100 Days

Illinois Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Monday, April 26, 2021. (WTTW News)

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan held a tight grip on the gavel for 36 years – a term only interrupted by a two-year blip in the ‘90s. His successor, Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, is making headway on fulfilling a promise that would prevent anyone else from a similar reign.

Environmental Policies Aim to Get More Electric Vehicles on the Road

A CTA bus picks up passengers in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Last August, Gov. J.B. Pritzker released an eight-point plan that boldly declared “we will become the best state in the country for electric vehicle producers and consumers,” including by increasing the adoption of electric vehicles in the state to 750,000 by 2030.

Legislation Aims to Fix Stalled Equity Efforts in Illinois Cannabis Industry

A billboard promotes medical marijuana in Chicago. (WTTW News)

The Illinois legislature has just over a month left in its spring session. On the docket is a fix for how the state awards licenses to operate in the legal cannabis industry. Consumers may not notice it, but the licensing process has been plagued with issues.

Demonstrations and Precautions in Wake of Toledo and Wright Shootings

A group of approximately 100 protesters gathered near the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park to protest police brutality on April 13, 2021. (WTTW News)

In anticipation of potential outcry over the video of Adam Toledo’s shooting, and in the wake of the Daunte Wright shooting, police have taken precautions “to maintain the safety of our city and its residents,” like canceling scheduled days off for detectives and members of strategic policing teams.

Census Delay Complicates Once-a-Decade Redistricting Duty

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (WTTW News)

Illinois’ General Assembly is charged with drawing new political maps every 10 years following the census. But exactly what the latest census shows about Illinois’ residents is still unknown. 

Mayor Lightfoot Demands CPD Change Foot Chase Policy After Shooting of 13-Year-Old

A vigil for Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old boy fatally shot by police on March 29, takes place in Little Village on Monday, April 5. (WTTW News)

Chicago police have yet to release footage of the March 29 police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, but his death has spurred calls for changes to the Chicago Police Department’s policy on foot pursuits like the one during which Toledo was shot. We get reaction from the Fraternal Order of Police.

With the Swipe of a Pen, Pritzker Deals Another Blow to Lightfoot

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was disappointed that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that gives a subset of Chicago firefighters the same retirement package as their peers, saying it will “result in a deeper financial burden to the taxpayers of Chicago.” Days earlier, he signed another law Lightfoot had pressured him to reject.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Stall Illinois’ Reopening Plan

The United Center mass vaccination site on Monday, March 29, 2021. (WTTW News)

Illinois is on the edge of a bridge to fully reopening the economy, with 69% of adult residents ages 65 and older now vaccinated against the virus. But rather than inching closer to its goal, the state is instead stepping back due to an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Gets COVID-19 Vaccine

Gov. J.B. Pritzker receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at a mass vaccination site in Springfield. (WTTW News)

“We really do have a fighting chance now to bring this pandemic to an end,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday before receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Springfield.

Confused About Vaccine Eligibility? Here’s What You Need to Know

(WTTW News)

Vaccine eligibility in Illinois will open up to everyone by April 12, but there are a lot of different windows of eligibility leading up to that date.

‘INSPIRE’ Study Seeks Answers About COVID-19 Long-Haulers

Dr. Paul Casey or Rush University Medical Center. (WTTW News)
Health care workers have been front-row witnesses to tragedy, as they’ve seen patients get sick and die from COVID-19, but also hope, as they help patients recover. What does the future of that treatment look like? 

Is Illinois Getting Closer to Pre-Pandemic Norms?

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce fresh guidance Thursday that will ease some current restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

How Air Filtration Can Help Dissipate and Kill COVID-19

(WTTW News)

Wearing a mask. Staying home. Getting the vaccine. These are the methods that are likely top of mind when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. But there’s another tool too — and it’s in the air.

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: West Chicago

(WTTW News)

In DuPage County, the COVID-19 case rate among Latino residents is more than two times higher than for non-Latinos. West Chicago has been hit particularly hard, with nearly 4,000 cases in the city’s main ZIP code.

Rewriting History: Recognizing Black Trailblazer Ada McKinley

Ada McKinley (Courtesy Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.)

A Chicago-based community organization established more than 100 years ago serves more than 7,000 people annually, but the story of its founder has largely been erased. 

22nd District Gets 3rd State Representative in a Month

For 50 years, Illinois’ 22nd state House district on Chicago’s Southwest Side was represented by one man: former Speaker Michael Madigan. Two months into 2021, the district has had three representatives in the span of a week.

Graduated Tax Redo? Speaker Suggests Tying Revenue to Pensions

A billboard in Chicago promotes voting in favor of the so-called fair tax in the November 2020 election. (WTTW News)

Illinois voters in November rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to overhaul how it taxes income. Now one of Springfield’s top leaders is suggesting another swing at the effort. 

Madigan Successor Kodatt Resigns, 3 Days After Appointment

Our Spotlight Politics team weighs in

Edward Guerra Kodatt (WTTW News)

Just days after elevating a loyal ward employee to fill his former seat representing the 22nd District in the Illinois House, Michael Madigan called for Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt to resign due to “alleged questionable conduct.” Kodatt resigned Wednesday morning.

Michael Madigan to Resign From Illinois House

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

Michael Madigan, who has represented the 22nd District on Chicago’s South Side since 1971 and steadily amassed political capital, is exiting the Illinois House at the end of February. The announcement comes a month after Madigan lost the reigns as speaker.

Pritzker’s Budget Doesn’t Hike Income Tax, Rely on Federal Aid

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his budget address Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (WTTW News)

The pandemic-era budget proposed Wednesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker relies heavily on businesses to bring an additional $932 million into state coffers through what the Democrat describes as closing corporate tax loopholes. We get reaction from state lawmakers.

Ahead of Budget Address, A Look at Fiscal Pressures Facing Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (WTTW News)

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on people’s lives, and also on government budgets. On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will propose his ideas for getting Illinois through it. Here’s a preview of that address.