Stories by amanda vinicky

J. B. Pritzker. (WTTW News)

State Tax Rebates Coming to Illinois Residents — Just In Time For Election Season

A major part of a $1.2 billion multi-pronged state tax relief program will be disbursed to 6 million Illinois households starting Monday through the next six to eight weeks. The amount you’ll get back depends on factors such as income, family size and home value.

State Sen. Darren Baily, the GOP nominee for governor, speaks at the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 18, 2022. (WTTW News)

Darren Bailey Stoking Support in Governor's Race During Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair

In Illinois, where Democrats hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, all statewide executive offices and super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, GOP nominee for governor, state Senator and farmer Darren Bailey is hoping to ride in on a tractor.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a brunch featuring speeches by Illinois Democrat at the Illinois State Fair’s Democrat Day on Aug. 17, 2022. (WTTW News)

State Party Leaders Rally the Base at Illinois State Fair on Democrat Day

Democrats hold all of Illinois’ statewide offices and super-majorities in the legislature, and they’re looking to not only keep it that way come November, but to also tighten their stronghold, including by tipping suburban contests, like the DuPage and Kane County boards.

A shot from a new campaign video released by Ald. Sophia King. (Friends of Sophia King)

With 8 Declared Candidates, Chicago’s Mayoral Race Heats Up

Chicago residents aren’t used to having a lot of options when an incumbent mayor is running for re-election, but so far eight candidates have declared they’re running.

(CNN)

Senate Approves Bill to Aid Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits, a Move Advocates Say Was Long Overdue

The Honoring Our PACT Act will make it so veterans who served in certain areas over a period from the ‘90s on, and who have conditions like certain cancers, will get the presumption it’s related to their service and burn pit exposure.

(WTTW News)

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Faces Mounting Criticism Over Prosecutor Resignations

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office is seeing a degree of turnover that’s raising alarms among the criminal justice community. One recent high-profile departure has only added to the outcry. 

(WTTW News)

Weekslong Quarry Workers Strike That's Stalled Road Projects May End This Weekend

A 45-day strike that’s put a strain on road projects throughout northern Illinois could come to an end this weekend when members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 union vote on an offer from their employers, collectively known as the Chicago Area Aggregate Producers Association (CAAPA).

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering speaks about the Fourth of July mass shooting in her town during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 20, 2022. (CNN via WTTW)

U.S. Senators Focus on Highland Park in Gun Hearing; Mayor Calls for Gun Control

A contingent of Lake County elected officials was in Washington Wednesday as the horrific events of the July 4 parade mass shooting took center stage at a U.S. Senate hearing. The Highland Park tragedy has re-energized calls for a ban on guns like the kind the shooter used, but critics say that’s the wrong focus.

(WTTW News)

Candlelight Ceremony Honors Lives Lost in Highland Park Parade Shooting

The Highland Park community comes together to heal. Amanda Vinicky has a live report.

(WTTW News)

There’s a Placement Shortage for Youth in Illinois State Care. Here’s What That Means for Children

Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services has been struggling to find proper placements, particularly for high-needs youth for whom the agency is having to stand in as a pseudo parent. So much so that some children and teens who have had a stint at a psychiatric hospital are there after they’ve been cleared for release because there’s nowhere for them to go. 

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker appear at the White House on July 11, 2022. (CNN)

Illinois Officials Head to DC for Federal Gun Law Signing

Illinois officials were on hand in Washington, D.C. to commemorate President Joe Biden’s recent signing of a bipartisan gun law.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Doesn’t Ban Assault Rifles. A Petition Demanding It Gains Rapid Support

Monday’s shooting in Highland Park has sparked discussions about what Illinois can and should be doing in terms of gun control, especially given the state issued a firearm owners identification card to the alleged shooter even after police filed a “clear and present danger” report on him.

(Kaur Kristjan / Unsplash)

Alleged Highland Park Shooter’s Online Behavior Fits Dark Pattern

The alleged Highland Park shooter left a digital trail, and it’s indicative of a pattern specialists often see among mass shooters.

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, speaks with “Chicago Tonight” on June 30, 2022.

National Education Association President on Plans for the Future of Schools

Thousands of educators from across the country are coming to Chicago to discuss and debate public education policies. The National Education Association is holding its annual meeting here. Amanda Vinicky spoke to the union president about her plan for the future of schools, including emotional learning, standardized testing, and addressing mass shootings in schools. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 29, 2022. (WTTW News)

One-on-One With Gov. J.B. Pritzker as the Incumbent Shifts Focus to the General Election

The day after Illinois Republicans handily selected farmer and state Sen. Darren Bailey as his general election opponent, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled glimpses of what’s to come

State Sen. Darren Bailey and Gov. J.B. Pritzker. (WTTW News)

Conservative State Sen. Darren Bailey Cruises to GOP Nomination, Will Face Gov. J.B. Pritzker in November

Fresh off an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, downstate farmer and state Sen. Darren Bailey appears to have coasted to a win the six-way Republican contest for Illinois governor. We take a look at the statewide election results and what they mean for November. 

(WTTW News)

As Primary Polls Close, Vote Counting Ensues

Amanda Vinicky was outside 69 W. Washington, where work was being done to put together the election totals, as polls closed in today’s primary election.

(CNN)

Local, State Officials React to Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision

With the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, Illinois elected officials are planning a legislative response. A special session will be called in July.

(WTTW News)

Chicago-Area Road Work Could Slow Down as Quarry Workers Strike Continues

Some 300 members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 — those who are employed by Chicago-area quarries run by Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials Co. and Lafarge Holcim — went on strike June 7.

(CNN)

Pediatricians Urge Vaccinating Children Under Age Five

Within days of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control approving vaccine courses for children six-months through 4 years old, area hospitals, pediatricians and health care centers are beginning to put those doses in children’s arms.

(Credit: American Red Cross)

Blood Donors Wanted as Shortage Continues

Factors out of most people’s reach have caused everything from high gas prices to shortages of products like baby formula and tampons. But there is another shortage that we can do something about: it’s the supply of blood that hospitals and their patients depend on daily. 
(WTTW News)

Illinois Could Reform FOID, Ammo Purchasing Gun Safety Laws

A breakthrough bipartisan gun package got a boost — with the tentative backing of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As members of Congress tiptoe toward taking federal action — state legislators are likewise focused on firearms measures.

(WTTW News)

After Texas School Shooting, States Debate ‘Red Flag Laws.’ Here’s How Illinois’ Version Works

As members of Congress weigh potential measures to protect against mass shootings, one often-mentioned option is a so-called red flag law. Illinois already has one. But is it working?

(Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash)

Inflation Overpowers City Minimum Wage Hike

Starting in July, minimum wage employees of larger businesses will see their paychecks rise by 40 cents an hour to $15.40

(WTTW News)

Elected Officials, Activists Call for More Gun Control Laws After Texas School Shooting

So far this year there have been 24 shootings in K-12 schools across the country. A sobering statistic that Illinois' Senator Durbin gave in his opening remarks of a Senate Judiciary Committee today. Senators questioned President Biden's nominee for the director of the nation's top gun enforcement agency — a position that has been vacant for seven years.

(WTTW News)

After Population Loss Reported, Revised Census Numbers Show Illinois Actually Gained 250K Residents

The story had been that people were leaving Illinois, and that the population dropped by about 18,000. But the U.S. Census Bureau came out last week with fresh numbers in its post-enumeration survey that show the reverse: The state gained some 250,000 people between 2010 and 2020.