Stories by amanda vinicky

How the Chicago Teachers Union Election Will Impact Schools

(WTTW News)

The June 28 primary is approaching. But Friday comes another election, one that’s bound to have a big political impact: The election for leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union. While only CTU members can vote, the results will have an impact beyond the union itself. 

New Illinois Supreme Court Districts Bring Competition

(Randy von Liski / Flickr)

Federal judges are appointed and confirmed, something the nation has witnessed via televised hearings as the nation’s high court has gone through turnover in recent years. But Illinois elects most judges. 

Veterans Died Without Attention from Illinois’ Health Department

(WTTW News)

Thirty-six residents of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home died in November 2020 as part of a COVID-19 outbreak. A new report from the state’s auditor general finds that IDPH neglected to respond to the outbreak at the state-run facility until for many, it was too late.

Carpenters Class of All Women Is Building Walls, Breaking Barriers

(WTTW News)

Chicago Women in Trades helped organize what they say is the regional unions’ first class of all women in 140 years. The Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council’s pre-apprentice program will put participants on the path to becoming a union-card-holding carpenter.

Illinois Erected a ‘Force Field’ in Anticipation of Post-Roe v. Wade Future

The 2019 Reproductive Health Act enshrines in law individuals’ rights to make autonomous decisions about their reproductive health, including birth control and abortions. (WTTW News)

The draft opinion leaked to Politico and confirmed by the chief justice as genuine calls the Roe decision “egregiously wrong” and would return “the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives” – meaning to Congress and to the states. 

COVID-19 Cases and Pollen Count Both Climbing, Leaving Those With the Sniffles Wondering

(WTTW News)

Patients are presenting with stuffy nose, nasal congestion, cough, post-nasal drip and sore throats. In the age of COVID, that leaves people worried. 

Finger-Pointing Over Late Cook County Property Tax Bills

(WTTW News)

A reprieve from having to pay a hefty tax bill sounds like a gift, but a monthslong delay in Cook County property tax bills could instead cause headaches for taxpayers, governments and elected officials alike.

What Will Your Electric Bill Look Like This Summer? It Depends Where in Illinois You Live.

(WTTW News)

In Illinois, there’s an added layer of intrigue (or skepticism) about electrical costs given that in 2020 ComEd admitted to federal prosecutors it spent nearly a decade using bribery to get laws passed that were  favorable to the utility company’s bottom line.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Darren Bailey Fought Against Mask Mandates. His Family Farm Required Them For Some Workers

State Sen. Darren Bailey is escorted out of a May 2020 Illinois Senate session for not wearing a mask. (WTTW News)

His campaign said Darren Bailey’s stance on masking has been “consistent” despite a policy at his family business that could be viewed as contradictory to his public anti-masking message. According to federal documents, face coverings are required for certain workers at the Bailey Family Farm, of which he is registered as a trustee.  

More Than 2 Years After Illinois Legalized Recreational Marijuana, Some Say Law Falls Short of Promise

A cannabis cultivation facility. (WTTW News)

Nearly two-and-a-half years after recreational cannabis became legal to sell in Illinois, state Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) says Illinois has failed to live up to the promise of the law.

Illinois Gets New Budget, And Likely a Lawsuit Too

(WTTW News)

The $46 billion budget Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Tuesday includes $1.8 billion in largely temporary tax relief, including $50 rebate checks to adult taxpayers, a one-time increase for property owners worth up to $500, and lifting for a year a 1% sales tax on groceries, meaning that shoppers will save $1 on $100 worth of food.

New Bills from Illinois Lawmakers’ Spring Session

(WTTW News)

Controversial public safety measures took priority in Springfield. And we know that Illinois has a budget. But a whole lot of other changes are coming, thanks to state lawmakers’ recent rush of activity. 

Twitter Lands White Sox Fan at His Field of Dreams

Rob Friedman uses social media to promote baseball and its players at all levels; he’s got a goal of growing the whole game. (WTTW News)

Rob Friedman uses social media to promote the game baseball. Fans of Friedman may better know him as Pitching Ninja. As @PitchingNinja, Friedman posts interviews with and videos of pro athletes, often providing tips on pitching mechanics. It’s free for anyone to access and use to perfect their skills.

Illinois State Legislature Looks to Target Crime Through Series of Recently Passed Bills

(WTTW News)

In their final days of the annual spring session, members of Illinois’ General Assembly approved a series of bills targeting public safety.

Illinois Legislators Pass New Budget

(WTTW News)

Illinois voters may have been asleep from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday morning as members of the General Assembly passed a new state budget, but lawmakers designed it to grab their attention in an election year.

Voters to Get Preelection Tax Relief

(WTTW News)

It’s getting down to the wire for state lawmakers. They’re supposed to finish their work for this session Friday. And just before the deadline, Democrats are out with a deal.

Illinois Democrats Lay Out Various Plans for Election Year Tax Relief

(WTTW News)

Democrats, who control the General Assembly, and therefore the budget process in the House, Senate and governor’s office have each offered different proposals with various forms of tax breaks. They aim to have their differences reconciled before Friday’s end, when the spring session is scheduled to adjourn.

Days Before Adjournment, Democrats in Springfield Introduce Series of Bills as Part of Anti-Crime Agenda

(WTTW News)

On Monday, Democrats unveiled a series of bills they described as “pro law enforcement,” even as a top Republican rebuffed the effort as “trying to rewrite history.” Legislators are set to adjourn their spring session nearly two months earlier than normal, in order to spend spring and summer on the campaign trail. 

Illinois Senate Democrats Propose $1B Tax Relief Plan

(WTTW News)

With a week to go before the Illinois legislature’s planned April 8 adjournment, Democrats in the state Senate on Friday introduced an election-year “inflation-busting” plan offering tax breaks to low-income workers, homeowners, parents, teachers, drivers and even volunteer first responders. 

More Calls for ‘Gas Tax Relief’ as Prices Increase

(WTTW News)

President Joe Biden has moved to ease price pressures through opening oil reserves. Some governors, including Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, have called on the federal government to temporarily lift its tax on gasoline, though Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker was not a signatory to a letter making that request.

Metra Adds More Trains, Expects More Riders on Its Most Popular Line

(WTTW News)

Starting Monday, Metra has added five train trips – 91 up from 87 – to its popular BNSF Line, which runs between Aurora and Chicago along stations including Downers Grove, Hinsdale and Brookfield.

With Sharp Drop in Demand, Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Sites to End Operations March 31

(Jakayla Toney / Unsplash)

Illinois will close its community, free COVID-19 testing sites within the next week. The Illinois Department of Public Health cites a “sharp increase in demand” that dropped “precipitously in recent weeks” as its reason for closing the testing locations, as well as an “anticipated end of federal funding.”

Illinois to Use $2.7 Billion in Federal Relief Funds to Pay Off COVID-Related Debt

(WTTW News)

When COVID-19 shutdowns left a record number of people suddenly out of work, Illinois saw record applications for unemployment benefits. That increase drained the state fund that pays out those benefits, the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Sen. Dick Durbin in Commanding Seat for Supreme Court Hearings

(skeeze / Pixabay)

The Senate Judiciary Committee that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin chairs begins a series of hearings Monday into President Joe Biden’s nominee for the high court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

Activists Protest State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Over Lack of Charges Against Police in Fatal Shootings

(WTTW News)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced Tuesday that while officers Eric Stillman and Evan Solano erred and “escalated” the situations in their pursuits of Toledo, there’s insufficient evidence and facts to justify criminal charges. 

In the Next Decade, All New Cars Will Carry Technology that Monitors for Impaired Drivers

(WTTW News)

The $1 trillion federal infrastructure package includes spending on construction projects and puts the U.S. on the path toward transitioning to electric-powered and hybrid vehicles. It also contains a variety of safety provisions, including impaired driver monitors.