Stories by amanda vinicky

Chicago lakefront on a summer day. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

From Utility Shutoff Moratoriums to Air Conditioning Rules, Chicago and Illinois Lawmakers Preparing for Increasingly Hot Temperatures

Environmental and consumer advocates predict more legal protections from the heat in the near future, as climate change continues to wreak havoc.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives on the floor. (WTTW News)

‘We Are at a Crossroads’: US Rep. Brad Schneider Talks Israel-Hamas War, Gaza Working Group

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider is an organizer of a bipartisan, bicameral working group that’s exploring what happens after the war ends. According to a news release, the Gaza Working Group will “plan for the ‘day after’ in Gaza once Hamas is defeated.”

(WTTW News)

Vast Majority of Patients at Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ Newest Clinic in Carbondale Come From Out of State

Three-quarters of the patients served by the Carbondale clinic have come from out of state, the organization said in numbers released Monday. Of those out of state patients, 88% reside in states where abortion access is restricted, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri.

A graphic that says "Illinois Gun Laws." (WTTW News)

WTTW News Explains: What Are Illinois’ Gun Laws?

Chicago has a reputation as the City of Big Shoulders. For rough-and-tumble politics. And for having a lot of crime, despite strict gun laws. But what are those laws? WTTW News explains.

Flanked by the lieutenant governor and legislative leaders, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 5, 2024, signs the $53.1 billion fiscal year 2025 state budget into law after months of negotiations. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Pritzker Signs $53.1B State Budget, the Largest in Illinois History

Declaring it a spending plan that’s “balanced, fiscally responsible, pro-family, cuts taxes on workers and opens up doors of opportunity,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday signed Illinois’ next state budget into law.

The Illinois State Capitol is pictured in Springfield. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

From Gun Control to Public Transit Rescue, A Look at What Didn’t Pass the Illinois General Assembly This Spring

Illinois legislators passed 469 measures this year. The bulk of those items will likely become law, pending action from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But in some cases, what lawmakers left on the table is equally significant as what passed.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 3, 2024. (WTTW News)

Illinois House Speaker Emphatic That Bears, Sox Won’t Get Public Funding for Stadiums

Not only did the Chicago Bears and White Sox fail to win state funding for new stadiums before the General Assembly’s session ended last week, the teams shouldn’t expect to notch a legislative win later this year.

Hemp Cafe in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Bill That Would Restrict Sale of Delta-8 and Hemp-Derived Products in Illinois Stalls in State House

Sales of delta-8 and other hemp-derived snacks, drinks and products will continue unabated in Illinois despite potential safety concerns, after the state legislature adjourned early Wednesday morning without passing new regulations.

Hemp Cafe in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Cannabis Bill Moving Forward in Springfield Restricts Sale of ‘Delta-8’ and THC, Puts Limits on CBD Products

Starting in July, Illinois would ban the sale of any hemp-derived THC, or delta-8, from being sold, except at state-licensed cannabis dispensaries. That means those products would no longer be sold at breweries, gas stations and specialty lounges and stores. 

People show documentation as they prepare to vote in the April 4, 2023, Chicago runoff election at the Budlong Woods Library polling location. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

New Illinois Law That Prevents Political Parties From Slating Candidates in Open General Election Races Put on Hold by Judge

The law put an end to the long-standing Illinois practice of letting a political party slate candidates for the general election in contests that are open because no one from that party ran in the primary election.

Waiter with coffee cup. File photo. (Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Pexels)

Effort to Eliminate Subminimum Wage for Tipped Employees in Illinois Falls Short, Advocates Vow to Continue the Push

Advocates who have been pushing to eliminate statewide what is called the subminimum wage acknowledged Tuesday that their efforts to pass the measure during the General Assembly’s spring session won’t move forward.

The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools traveled to Springfield May 15, 2024, for a joint lobbying day. (WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union, CPS Leaders Travel to Springfield to Lobby State Lawmakers for More Funding

Chicago Public Schools teachers and administrators aren’t shying away from Mayor Brandon Johnson’s claim the city’s schools are “owed” $1 billion from the state. But they dramatically scaled back their immediate demands during a rare joint CPS and Chicago Teachers Union lobbying trip to the state Capitol on Wednesday.

The exterior of the Illinois State Capitol is pictured in Springfield. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Civic Federation Calls for Caution in State Budget, Praises Illinois’ Recent Financial Progress

“Illinois cannot simply hope that its remaining fiscal challenges will disappear on their own,” the Civic Federation says in a new report. “They will not until they are addressed head on.”

State Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, is pictured in a file photo on the Illinois House floor. (Capitol News Illinois file photo)

Illinois Lawmakers Consider Bill That Would Pay Student Teachers $10K but Actual Funding Unlikely

The juxtaposition of a popular program with how to pay for it highlights the tensions Illinois lawmakers face with weeks left before the end-of-month deadline to pass a new state budget.

State Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights, pictured Thursday, May 9, 2024, during House floor debate of Senate Bill 1, which would create a new state agency dubbed the Department of Early Childhood. (Andrew Campbell / Capitol News Illinois)

Bill Creating New State Agency Focused on Early Childhood Programs Headed to Pritzker’s Desk

Illinois is preparing to dedicate an entire state agency to matters affecting children in their earliest years. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced in October his intent to move disparate services under the umbrella of a new state agency: the Department of Early Childhood.

Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks to the news media at the state Capitol on May 8, 2024. (WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson Uses Springfield Trip to Boost His Case for $1 Billion Bump in CPS Funding

In meetings with state lawmakers and the governor, Mayor Brandon Johnson made his case for additional support for the city, including about $1.1 billion more in funding for Chicago Public Schools.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford speaks at a news conference on May 7, 2024. (WTTW News)

Illinois Lawmakers Seek More Oversight for State’s Hemp Industry

Popular shops, bakeries and wellness brands that sell delta-8 THC and other hemp derivatives that have proliferated without the weight of government oversight are now actively seeking state intervention.

A rendering of the proposed new stadium for the Chicago Bears on a redesigned Museum Campus. (Credit: Chicago Bears)

Chicago Bears’ Plan to Use Taxpayer Funds on New Lakefront Stadium a ‘Non-Starter’ for Pritzker

The Bears would pitch in $2 billion, plus use a $300 million loan from the NFL; billions more in taxpayer money would be used to finance the other half of the stadium as well as to make infrastructure improvements and add park and public space to the area.

(Credit: ckstockphoto / Pixaby)

Illinois Doctors Would Have Easier Access to Patients’ End-of-Life Wishes Under Bill Advancing in Springfield

Currently, doctors say it can sometimes be difficult for medical personnel to access those forms, especially if a patient is incapacitated or having an emergency away from their medical home.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pictured on the state House floor on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Efforts to Add Abortion Protections to the Illinois Constitution Cool as Election-Year Focus Turns to Other States

State legislators would need to vote by May 5 to place a question on the November ballot, and key players indicate there’s no effort to do so despite earlier talk at state government’s highest levels after Roe v. Wade was dismantled by the U.S. Supreme Court almost two years ago.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to the news media at the state Capitol on April 18, 2024. (WTTW News)

Pritzker Says CTA Needs ‘Evolution of Leadership’ as Agency Faces Ridership, Financial Concerns

“Changes are going to have to take place, there’s no doubt, at the CTA, and I think that’s going to take some new leadership and additional leadership,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. The agency has been under scrutiny amid rider frustration, unkempt train cars and safety concerns.

(WTTW News)

House Sends Bill Restricting Chicago Selective Enrollment School Changes to Senate Despite Rebukes From CTU, CPS Board

An increased moratorium on closing Chicago Public Schools – including charters –  easily passed the state House heads to the Senate over the objections of the Chicago Teachers Union and Mayor Brandon Johnson’s appointees to the city’s school board.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is pictured in a file photo. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Need a Notary? Now You Can Get One Online as Illinois Launches New E-Notary Service

Important documents — the volumes of paperwork that go along with buying or selling a home, for example, or granting the power of attorney — require notarization. Under a new initiative announced Wednesday by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, the entire process can now be done remotely.

Philip Clement has been named the new president and CEO of World Business Chicago. (Courtesy of World Business Chicago)

Chicago Gets New Chief Economic Recruiter, Booster

As the new president and CEO of World Business Chicago, Philip Clement is charged with reversing high-profile departures of businesses like Boeing, Caterpillar and Citadel while continuing recruiting momentum.

O’Hare International Airport is pictured in a file photo. (WTTW News)

Protesters Calling for Cease-Fire in Gaza Temporarily Blocked Traffic Near O’Hare Airport

Demonstrators used the traffic shutdown to bring attention to the continuing war in Palestine and push for a cease-fire in Gaza. Traffic flow resumed by about 9:20 a.m. 

CPD chief of counter-terrorism Duane DeVries speaks at an April 4, 2024, news conference on DNC security. (WTTW News)

Chicago, Federal Agencies Ramp Up Security Training Ahead of August’s Democratic National Convention

The Secret Service will be responsible for security at the United Center and McCormick Place and their containment areas. The Chicago Police Department is responsible for everything outside the venues, including management of protests.