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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Voter Data Hack Part of Mueller Report

“There’s solid evidence of obstruction, there are clear examples of collusion and conspiracy,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of the redacted Mueller report released Thursday.

After two years of waiting, the Mueller report is now out. And Illinois gets a mention.

Spotlight Politics: More Changes Coming to City Hall

On Thursday, officials are due to certify the results of too-close-to-call runoff races in three Chicago wards. Will a longtime political dynasty lose its council clout? Our politics team digests the top stories of the week.

Lawmakers Uneasy About Pritzker’s Pension Plans

Illinois’ long-term pension debt tops $130 billion. What Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to do – and what he won’t do – about that crushing burden.

Chicago Mayor-Elect Lightfoot Meets with Madigan, Pritzker

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot speaks to the media in Springfield on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

Chicago’s next mayor won’t be sworn in until May 20, but she’s hitting the ground running. On Wednesday, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot left the city to meet with top political leaders in Springfield.

Stage is Set for Major Fight Over Illinois Constitution, Tax Policy

“This amendment will … let us adopt a system that is more fair to the middle class,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a press conference in Springfield on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

The latest on a possible – and major – amendment to the state constitution that would lift a requirement that all income be taxed at a flat rate.

Illinois is Really Close to Legalizing Marijuana … Or Is It?

(herbalhemp / Pixabay)

Gov. J.B. Pritkzer is counting on Illinois to legalize recreational marijuana as part of his proposed spending plan. The latest in the ongoing debate over legalization.

Pritzker Signs Bill Paving Way for Sale of Thompson Center

(Ken Lund / Flickr)

The James R. Thompson Center has been controversial since it landed in the Loop in 1985. Now, a new layer of controversy has been added to the building’s history: its potential sale.

What Keeps Chicago Mayor-Elect Lightfoot Awake at Night?

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot speaks with WTTW News on Friday, April 5, 2019.

“I worry about our children growing up with so much trauma and fear. I worry about that a lot,” Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot said during a one-on-one interview Friday with WTTW News.

CPS Elected School Board Advances in Springfield

(Brandis Friedman / WTTW News)

To the delight of some advocacy groups and the Chicago Teachers Union, state representatives voted Thursday to move Chicago to an elected school board structure.

Spotlight Politics: Deciphering Lori Lightfoot’s Historic Win

In Tuesday’s runoff, Lori Lightfoot bested Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in each of the city’s 50 wards. Lightfoot calls it a “mandate for change.” Our politics team weighs in.

What Would Sports Betting Look Like in Illinois?

In this Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, file photo, gamblers place bets in the temporary sports betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke, File)

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last year opened the door to state-authorized sports betting, and Illinois is hurrying to take advantage of it. 

New Poll Suggests Lightfoot Poised to Clinch Mayor’s Race

Half of Chicagoans believe the city is “on the wrong track,” according to a new WTTW/Crain’s Temkin/Harris poll, which also indicates that Lori Lightfoot will win the April 2 runoff election to become Chicago’s next mayor.

As Marijuana Industry Grows, So Does Its Banking Problems

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs appears on “Chicago Tonight” on April 30, 2018.

Illinois’ marijuana industry is growing like a weed, but could banking regulations lead to its collapse? State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the cash-based business is “now ripe for theft, fraud and tax evasion.”

Mayoral Candidates Preckwinkle, Lightfoot Square off on Aldermanic Prerogative

Mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle, left, and Lori Lightfoot speak to the media following their meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The two will face off in a runoff election on April 2.

With corruption scandals roiling Chicago politics, both of the candidates for mayor say cleaning up City Hall is near the top of their agendas. But it’s also where they differ, particularly when it comes to aldermanic prerogative.

Graduated Income Tax Fight Starting Soon

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker moves full steam ahead on a graduated income tax, he says he’s unfazed by warnings that Illinois’ credit could be downgraded.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Election by the Numbers

Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle addresses supporters from her campaign headquarters on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Just how did the vote break down Tuesday, and why was turnout so much lower than expected? Our politics team digs into the numbers in this week's political roundtable. 

Dark Money at Play as Graduated Income Tax Fight Begins

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The fight over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax is already being influenced by nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors. 

Pritkzer’s ‘Austere’ Budget Relies on Pension Plan, New Taxes

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his first budget address on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 to a joint session of the Illinois House and Senate at the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled his first budget proposal Wednesday, calling it an “austere” spending plan meant to serve as a “bridge” to future budgets. 

Illinois Minimum Wage to Rise to $15 by 2025

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right, congratulates state Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, left, on the House floor at the Illinois State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

Just a little over a month after becoming Illinois’ governor, J.B. Pritzker signed a law that stands to change the state’s economy by raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $15 by 2025.

Illinois EPA Shuts Down Suburban Sterigenics Plant

The Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook (Chicago Tonight)

A medical supply sterilization company in suburban Willowbrook was shut down Friday by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency due to elevated cancer risks.

A Window Into Pritzker’s Plans for Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

A series of transition reports unveiled last week provides a look at what new Gov. J.B. Pritzker has in store for Illinois, from potential new taxes to the creation of a statewide infrastructure czar. 

Pritzker Advances Agenda, But Transition Reports Slow to Emerge

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

When will Gov. J.B. Pritzker release the reports he says will serve as his guides? And why is it taking so long?

Chicago’s Big-Time Business Club Calls for State Tax Increase

| Nicole Cardos
(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A new report from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago recommends a 1-percent increase in the state income tax. 

Illinois Democrats Poised to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 by 2025

(nosheep / Pixabay)

For the first time since taking full control of Illinois government, Democrats in Springfield are poised to flex their political muscles by quickly passing a statewide hike in the minimum wage.

Mayoral Candidates Take a Nuanced Stance on Chicago’s Complex Issues

Five of the 14 candidates running for Chicago mayor participated in a forum Tuesday as the Feb. 26 election draws near. But getting simple answers to complex issues was no small task.