Stories by amanda vinicky

The Illinois Marijuana Industry Was Supposed to Bring Equity. Advocates Say Those Promises Are Falling Short

A cannabis cultivation facility. (WTTW News)

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.

A Workers’ Rights Amendment Will Be on the Illinois Ballot. Here’s What It Does

(WTTW News)

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.

State’s Attorneys Representing 3 Illinois Counties File Lawsuits Against SAFE-T Act

Cook County Courthouse. (WTTW News)

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.

Local Election Officials in Dire Need of Volunteers for November Midterms

(WTTW News)

“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%.”

Hurricane Devastation Highlights Past Wrongs in Puerto Rico, Say Area Residents

Aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (Credit: CNN)

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.

Some Area Commuter Trains Already Canceling Service as National Rail Strike Looms

(WTTW News)

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. 

State Tax Rebates Coming to Illinois Residents — Just In Time For Election Season

J. B. Pritzker. (WTTW News)

A major part of a $1.2 billion multi-pronged state tax relief program will be disbursed to 6 million Illinois households starting Monday through the next six to eight weeks. The amount you’ll get back depends on factors such as income, family size and home value.

Darren Bailey Stoking Support in Governor's Race During Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair

State Sen. Darren Baily, the GOP nominee for governor, speaks at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

In Illinois, where Democrats hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, all statewide executive offices and super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, GOP nominee for governor, state Senator and farmer Darren Bailey is hoping to ride in on a tractor.

State Party Leaders Rally the Base at Illinois State Fair on Democrat Day

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a brunch featuring speeches by Illinois Democrat at the Illinois State Fair’s Democrat Day on Aug. 17, 2022. (WTTW News)

Democrats hold all of Illinois’ statewide offices and super-majorities in the legislature, and they’re looking to not only keep it that way come November, but to also tighten their stronghold, including by tipping suburban contests, like the DuPage and Kane County boards.

With 8 Declared Candidates, Chicago’s Mayoral Race Heats Up

A shot from a new campaign video released by Ald. Sophia King. (Friends of Sophia King)

Chicago residents aren’t used to having a lot of options when an incumbent mayor is running for re-election, but so far eight candidates have declared they’re running.

Senate Approves Bill to Aid Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits, a Move Advocates Say Was Long Overdue

(CNN)

The Honoring Our PACT Act will make it so veterans who served in certain areas over a period from the ‘90s on, and who have conditions like certain cancers, will get the presumption it’s related to their service and burn pit exposure.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Faces Mounting Criticism Over Prosecutor Resignations

(WTTW News)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office is seeing a degree of turnover that’s raising alarms among the criminal justice community. One recent high-profile departure has only added to the outcry. 

Weekslong Quarry Workers Strike That's Stalled Road Projects May End This Weekend

(WTTW News)

A 45-day strike that’s put a strain on road projects throughout northern Illinois could come to an end this weekend when members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 union vote on an offer from their employers, collectively known as the Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association (CAAPA).

U.S. Senators Focus on Highland Park in Gun Hearing; Mayor Calls for Gun Control

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering speaks about the Fourth of July mass shooting in her town during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 20, 2022. (CNN via WTTW)

A contingent of Lake County elected officials was in Washington Wednesday as the horrific events of the July 4 parade mass shooting took center stage at a U.S. Senate hearing. The Highland Park tragedy has re-energized calls for a ban on guns like the kind the shooter used, but critics say that’s the wrong focus.

Candlelight Ceremony Honors Lives Lost in Highland Park Parade Shooting

(WTTW News)

The Highland Park community comes together to heal. Amanda Vinicky has a live report.

There’s a Placement Shortage for Youth in Illinois State Care. Here’s What That Means for Children

(WTTW News)

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services has been struggling to find proper placements, particularly for high-needs youth for whom the agency is having to stand in as a pseudo parent. So much so that some children and teens who have had a stint at a psychiatric hospital are there after they’ve been cleared for release because there’s nowhere for them to go. 

Illinois Officials Head to DC for Federal Gun Law Signing

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker appear at the White House on July 11, 2022. (CNN)

Illinois officials were on hand in Washington, D.C. to commemorate President Joe Biden’s recent signing of a bipartisan gun law.

Illinois Doesn’t Ban Assault Rifles. A Petition Demanding It Gains Rapid Support

(WTTW News)

Monday’s shooting in Highland Park has sparked discussions about what Illinois can and should be doing in terms of gun control, especially given the state issued a firearm owners identification card to the alleged shooter even after police filed a “clear and present danger” report on him.

Alleged Highland Park Shooter’s Online Behavior Fits Dark Pattern

(Kaur Kristjan / Unsplash)

The alleged Highland Park shooter left a digital trail, and it’s indicative of a pattern specialists often see among mass shooters.

National Education Association President on Plans for the Future of Schools

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on June 30, 2022.

Thousands of educators from across the country are coming to Chicago to discuss and debate public education policies. The National Education Association is holding its annual meeting here. Amanda Vinicky spoke to the union president about her plan for the future of schools, including emotional learning, standardized testing, and addressing mass shootings in schools. 

One-on-One With Gov. J.B. Pritzker as the Incumbent Shifts Focus to the General Election

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 29, 2022. (WTTW News)

The day after Illinois Republicans handily selected farmer and state Sen. Darren Bailey as his general election opponent, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled glimpses of what’s to come

Conservative State Sen. Darren Bailey Cruises to GOP Nomination, Will Face Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November

State Sen. Darren Bailey and Gov. J.B. Pritzker. (WTTW News)

Fresh off an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, downstate farmer and state Sen. Darren Bailey appears to have coasted to a win the six-way Republican contest for Illinois governor. We take a look at the statewide election results and what they mean for November. 

As Primary Polls Close, Vote Counting Ensues

(WTTW News)

Amanda Vinicky was outside 69 W. Washington, where work was being done to put together the election totals, as polls closed in today’s primary election.

Local, State Officials React to Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision

(CNN)

With the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, Illinois elected officials are planning a legislative response. A special session will be called in July.

Chicago-Area Road Work Could Slow Down as Quarry Workers Strike Continues

(WTTW News)

Some 300 members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 — those who are employed by Chicago-area quarries run by Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials Co. and Lafarge Holcim — went on strike June 7.

Pediatricians Urge Vaccinating Children Under Age Five

(CNN)

Within days of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control approving vaccine courses for children six-months through 4 years old, area hospitals, pediatricians and health care centers are beginning to put those doses in children’s arms.