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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Candidates for Illinois Governor Face Off in First Debate

Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 14, 2017 and March 14, 2018, respectively.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker traded barbs Thursday evening in their first matchup heading into the Nov. 6 general election, some 6.5 weeks away.

Sweeping Changes for Chicago Police Department Nearly Finalized

“Today is an historic day for the city of Chicago,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. “This morning, we have filed a proposed consent decree with the federal court that will lead to real and lasting reform of the Chicago Police Department.”

A document promised to result in “real and lasting reform” for Chicago police is in the hands of a federal judge. The latest on the consent decree.

Chicago Mayor’s Race: Gutierrez Out, Garcia ‘Taking a Closer Look’

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez announces Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 that he will not run for Chicago mayor. (Chicago Tonight)

There may soon be tidal waves in the race for Chicago mayor, should Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle run, or should County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia take a second shot at the city’s top job.

Top Cook County Leaders Eyeing Chicago Mayor’s Race

Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 16, 2017.

As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presided over a regularly-scheduled board meeting Tuesday, loyalists were beginning to circulate petitions to nominate Preckwinkle for Chicago mayor. 

With Emanuel Out, Who’s In? The Wide-Open Race for Chicago Mayor

“Now with our three children in college, Amy and I have decided it is time to write another chapter together,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 with his wife Amy Rule by his side as he announced he would not seek re-election.

It’s been nearly a week since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the shocking announcement that he won’t run for a third term. We survey the political landscape.

Obama Takes Aim at Trump, Republican Party Elites

“What happened to the Republican Party?” former President Barack Obama asked during a speech Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Urbana, Illinois.

In a fervid speech, former President Barack Obama accuses his successor and GOP elites of appealing to tribalism and fear “because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and their privilege.”

Chicago Police to Document When They Point a Gun

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson talks Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 about a new agreement for tracking gun-pointing instances in the police department. (Chicago Tonight)

The city and state reach agreement on a plan to track instances in which Chicago police officers point a gun at someone. But not everyone’s happy about it.

Van Dyke Case: Protesters Call for Justice as Murder Trial Begins

Protesters gather outside the courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue on Sept. 5, 2018, day one of the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. (Chicago Tonight)

Four years after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, the trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with his murder, is underway. Scenes from day one of the trial.

Mayor Emanuel Won’t Run for Re-election. What That Means for Candidates.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 28, 2018.

Winning a third term wasn’t ever going to be easy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the dynamics of the race quickly went topsy-turvy with Emanuel’s announcement that he won’t be on the 2019 ballot.

12 Arrested After Attempting to Shut Down Kennedy Expressway

For the third time this summer, activists used major roadways in an effort to shine a light on the violence plaguing Chicago’s South and West Sides. 

Will Protesters Defy Police and Shut Down the Kennedy Expressway?

The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston on July 24, 2018 announces plans for an anti-violence protest Aug. 2 along Lake Shore Drive. (Chicago Tonight)

Police say there’ll be no tolerance for traffic disruptions this Labor Day, despite a planned protest to shut down portions of the Kennedy Expressway on Monday.  

Employee Accuses Pritzker Group of Union-Busting

A docent for Seadog Cruises is pushing to unionize, but he says Seadog’s parent company, Entertainment Cruises, is trying to quash the effort.

How Illinois is Spending its VW Settlement Windfall

The state is set to receive more than $100 million in a settlement from Volkswagen after the automaker admitted to cheating on emission tests.

Pot as a Painkiller: New Law Aims to Curb Opioid-Related Deaths

A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner opens access to cannabis to a new raft of patients—anyone who would otherwise be prescribed an opioid.

The Battle for Union Members Begins

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision. Now, on to the next front in the battle over the future of public employee unions.

Why Chicago’s Hedging on a City-Owned Casino

Chicago’ and Illinois’ budgets could both use extra padding – money for schools, and to pay pension debts. One option? More gambling. But just what are the chances? 

2018 Governor’s Race: Fundraising Nears $250 Million

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Total fundraising in the Illinois governor’s race approaches a quarter-billion dollars. What that means for both parties.

Democrats Fire Up Their Base at Annual State Fair Rally

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan addresses the crowd at a Democratic Party breakfast in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Democrats are on the attack as they campaign at the Illinois State Fair. We have a live report from Springfield.

Rauner Uses State Fair to Compare Opponent to Swine

Gov. Bruce Rauner (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday slammed Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker’s spending on political advertisements. “You know what? You can only put so much lipstick on a barrow,” Rauner said.

Precious Meddling: The Impact of Trump’s Tariffs on Steel

Gone are the days of leaving it to the World Trade Organization to deal with allegations of “dumping” and other disputes – President Trump is using tariffs instead. A local steel company weighs in.

Gov. Rauner Ratchets Up Anti-Madigan Rhetoric

Gov. Bruce Rauner: “I hope he’s been doing something illegal and I hope he gets prosecuted.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has long been a political target of Gov. Bruce Rauner, but the governor ratcheted it up a notch Monday.

Railway Apologizes for ‘Bait Truck’ Operation, Vows to Stop Practice

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Norfolk Southern Railway is backing up from a controversial practice following backlash sparked by viral videos.

Police ‘Bait Trucks’: Legitimate Sting Operation, Or Unfair Setup?

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Once again, police are in the crosshairs due to social media posts that have gone viral. This time, videos show police using a so-called bait truck in Englewood.

IIT Construction Unearths ‘Mecca’ of Chicago History

(Courtesy of the Chicago Architectural Preservation Archive)

Construction on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus recently exposed a slice of Chicago’s buried past.

NASA’s Mission to ‘Our Star’ Named After UChicago’s Eugene Parker

Retired University of Chicago astrophysicist Eugene Parker speaks with Chicago Tonight on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Next week, the retired University of Chicago astrophysicist, 91, will watch as a probe named in his honor is launched from the Kennedy Space Center and catapulted to the sun’s corona.