Stories by amanda vinicky

Pritzker Signs Disputed Legislative Map Into Law

(WTTW News)

The boundaries of political power in Illinois for the next decade are close to fixed. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law new maps of districts for the state legislature, Illinois Supreme Court and Cook County Board of Review.

One-on-One With Gov. Pritzker: Redistricting, Reopening and More

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (WTTW News)

One-on-one with Gov. J.B. Pritzker about the budget, redistricting, the state reopening and more.

Why Republicans Voted Against the CPS Elected School Board Bill

Supporters of an elected school board demonstrate in April 2019. (WTTW News)

Republicans were in control of state government in 1995, when a change in Illinois law gave the mayor of Chicago the authority to appoint board members to run the city’s school district. Fast forward to 2021, and Republicans continue to favor that setup.

Republicans Frustrated with Budget Shutout, Maps

After several late nights and an extra day on the legislative calendar, state lawmakers wrapped up their spring session May 31, 2021. (WTTW News)

Illinois Democrats took a victory lap when the General Assembly’s regular spring session came to a close this week, holding press conferences touting the session as one of the most productive in memory. But for the minority party, each victory smacks of partisanship and defeat.

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Budget, Ethics Reform

(WTTW News)

Illinois Democrats used their supermajorities in the General Assembly to full advantage this weekend as their spring session reeled toward an end, pushing through a progressive agenda, a $42 billion budget with no tax or fee hikes on individuals, and legislative maps.

Illinois Legislators Move Primary Date

(WTTW News)

Illinois’ primary date next year is moving from March 15 to June 28, giving candidates for the U.S. House time to organize their campaigns and petition drives, given that legislators will not finalize a new map of congressional districts until fall.

Illinois Legislators Leaving Major Issues Down to the Wire

(WTTW News)

With just one day remaining before they’re scheduled to adjourn until fall, Illinois legislators have a heaping set of issues left to tackle: a state budget, ethics reform, a follow-up to the major criminal justice overhaul signed into law in February, and legislation to fix issues with Illinois’ gun licensing system.

Time Is Running Out to Preserve Illinois’ Telehealth Protections

Rush University Hospital physician Anthony Perry. (WTTW News)

Barring quick action from the General Assembly, a requirement that health insurance companies treat virtual visits as they would regular, in-person appointments will soon lift. Lawmakers appear to be on the verge of extending that mandate before Monday’s planned adjournment.

Illinois House Narrowly Passes Bill Requiring Fingerprinting for FOID Card Applicants

(WTTW News)

All legal gun owners would need to be fingerprinted under legislation that narrowly passed the Illinois House on Saturday – a practice that gun rights advocates say will prevent violence, but which critics say is an example of excessive government overreach.

Marijuana Licenses Do-Over Goes to Governor

(Photo by Add Weed / Unsplash)

The number of marijuana dispensaries may soon soar, with Gov. J.B. Pritzker set to sign into law a measure intended to bring racial diversity to a burgeoning industry that has so far eclipsed entrepreneurs of color.

Political Power Lines Drawn in Bruising Partisan Debate

(WTTW News)

Illinois legislators voted along partisan lines Friday in response to another set of political lines: the boundaries of districts for the legislature, state Supreme Court and the Cook County Board of Review.

Springfield Legislators Face Long To-Do List Near Session’s End

(WTTW News)

Illinois legislators are heading into the holiday weekend with a to-do list that includes a major energy overhaul, ethics package and a new state budget.

Springfield’s Last-Minute Session Shuffle

Map outrage, amending the constitution, and an elected school board

(WTTW News)

With just days left before the General Assembly’s scheduled adjournment on May 31, a lot of legislation is moving in Springfield. But only one constitutional amendment has gained traction.

Defunding the Police: Floyd’s Murder Sparks Calls to Reimagine Public Safety

A youth activist holds a sign as part of a peaceful march to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on Aug. 13, 2020 to demand the removal of resource officers from Chicago Public Schools. (WTTW News)

Chicago has been grappling with issues surrounding policing long before the murder of George Floyd. But as it did across the country, Floyd’s killing led to outrage and calls for change, including campaigns to defund the police.

Democrats Unveil New Legislative Maps, and the GOP Isn’t Happy

(WTTW News)

It’s a once-in-a-decade fight: We take a look at the proposed new maps of political power and get reaction from Republicans and a coalition of community groups.

Illinois’ Eviction Ban is Lifting, But Housing Problems Persist

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signaled Monday that he’ll lift the statewide ban on evictions in August, prompting widespread concern that the move will lead to a sudden burst of evictions.

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.