Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Spotlight Politics: Top Cop Ousted Weeks Before Retirement

A bombshell announcement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot – with few specifics. Our politics team digs into that story and more in our weekly roundtable.

Chicago Parking Fees Increasing, But City Set to Save Millions

(John Lodder / Flickr)

Starting Jan. 1, parking meter rates will increase across Chicago, peaking at $7 per hour in the Loop. While the city doesn’t collect that revenue, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration estimates it will save $7.9 million with the plan. Here’s how.

Embattled Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval to Resign

In this file photo, state Sen. Martin Sandoval speaks with WTTW News.

State Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, hasn’t made a public appearance since the FBI raided his home and offices in September. He will step down on Jan. 1, 2020.

Chicagoans Avoid Major Property Tax Increase as Lightfoot’s 1st Budget Passes

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Taking an Uber or a Lyft, dining out, and parking at a metered spot will cost Chicagoans more come January, on account of the new city budget approved Tuesday by the City Council, following a nearly two-hour debate.

Candidates Eyeing 2020 Ballot in Illinois Begin Filing Paperwork

Jacob Meister, a Democratic candidate for Cook County circuit court clerk, speaks to reporters on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (WTTW News)

Candidates hoping to make it on the March 17 primary ballot have another week to collect the required signatures from local registered voters, but those hoping for the coveted first spot filed that paperwork Monday morning.

Will Illinois’ Marijuana Law Meet its Social Equity Aims?

(WTTW News)

When he signed a law that will make it legal for adults to use marijuana starting in 2020, Gov. J.B. Pritzker proclaimed it to be the most equity-centric in the nation. But is it? And what exactly does that mean?

Spotlight Politics: Will Smollett Saga Sway State’s Attorney’s Race?

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is back in the headlines as the state’s attorney whose office cleared him of charges announces she’s running for re-election. Our politics team digs into that story and more in our weekly roundtable.

Mayor: Progressive Pushback to City Budget ‘Untethered’ from Reality

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot responds to criticism from progressive groups on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (WTTW News)

By this time next week, Chicago alderman will have voted on the city’s next budget. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is optimistic that her budget will pass, even as progressive groups say she’s breaking campaign promises. 

Race to Replace: Who Will Be the Next Illinois Senate President?

In this June 2016 file photo, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton talks about plans for a temporary state budget. (WTTW News)

Senators have been scrambling since Senate President John Cullerton made a surprise announcement that he’ll resign in the new year, leaving vacant one of the most powerful positions in state politics.

No Dice: Veto Session Ends Without Chicago Casino Fix

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot failed to beat the odds in Springfield, with legislators on Thursday adjourning for the year without taking up a fix she says is needed before the city can move forward with a casino.

Early Exit for Retiring Senate President John Cullerton

In this June 2016 file photo, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton talks about plans for a temporary state budget. (WTTW News)

One of the most powerful figures in Illinois politics is giving up his position.

Chicago Still Betting on Casino Deal Before Veto Session’s End

(stokpic / Pixabay)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn’t folding her cards just yet on a new casino tax structure, though a deal proved elusive Wednesday. That leaves just one remaining day in the veto session for a framework to be finalized and get through both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.

Black Veterans Celebrate 100 Years as American Legion Post

Blistery winds and falling snow Monday didn’t prevent members of the George L. Giles American Legion Post 87 from the journey they’ve made every Veterans Day for the past 93 years along Martin Luther King Drive to the Victory Monument. 

Meet Hatty, the Therapy Dog Helping Crime Victims in Cook County

The latest member of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office isn’t a human. She’s a dog. We meet the new Labrador retriever, Hatty.

Ethylene Oxide Ban Narrowly Passes Illinois House

The shocking indictment of state Rep. Luis Arroyo has overshadowed the Illinois legislature’s fall veto session. Still, consequential legislation advanced, including a bill that will lead to a prohibition of a chemical used to sterilize medical equipment.

Illinois House Moves to Investigate Indicted Representative

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

The wheels are in motion to remove state Rep. Luis Arroyo from office, a day after the Chicago Democrat was indicated on a federal bribery charge. 

Latest Corruption Charge Has Legislators Squirming

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield on Monday for the start of the fall veto session, but any new legislation could be overshadowed by a bribery charge filed against Democratic state Rep. Luis Arroyo. 

Spotlight Politics: Federal Probe Circling Closer to Speaker Madigan

The powerful Illinois House speaker is named in a federal subpoena. Our politics team tackles that story and Mayor Lightfoot’s budget proposal in our weekly roundtable.

Mayor Lightfoot: Where’s CTU’S Urgency?

Bargaining sessions between the Chicago Teacher's Union and the city started late and ended early on Thursday, the first day students missed classes with their teachers on strike, causing Mayor Lori Lightfoot to question the union’s sense of urgency. 

Can Illinois Save $1M a Day by Consolidating Pension Funds? Governor Says Yes

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears at a signing ceremony for the $40 billion spending plan Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (WTTW News)

Consolidating scores of local firefighter and police pension funds could save Illinois taxpayers between $820 million and $2.5 billion in the next five years, according to a report published by a state task force.

What the Feds Were Searching for When they Raided Sandoval’s Office

In this file photo, state Sen. Martin Sandoval speaks with WTTW News.

Besieged Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval resigned his post chairing the chamber’s transportation committee Friday, the same day the Senate released an uncensored version of a search warrant for Sandoval’s office in Springfield.

No New Taxes in Cook County Budget

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

Two years after Cook County implemented and hastily repealed a notorious tax on sugary drinks, Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a $6.18 billion budget that’s balanced.

Climate Activists: ‘The Oceans Are Rising, And So Are We’

Activists on Monday evening closed down the streets in front of Chicago City Hall and the James R. Thompson Center as they called on Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker to declare a “climate emergency.”

Schiff: Trump’s ‘Rant’ Reinforces Urgency of Impeachment Inquiry

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., listens at a news conference with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as House Democrats move ahead in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, spent Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., as the impeachment inquiry of President Trump began in earnest. By Thursday evening, Schiff is set to be in the Chicago area.

Spotlight Politics: Watchdog Releases Sexual Harassment Report

A state watchdog’s highly anticipated report on sexual harassment is finally public. Our politics team dives into that story and more in our weekly roundtable.