Stories by Amanda Vinicky

How Many Chicago Aldermen Have Side Hustles?

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to set some restrictions on outside employment for aldermen. We analyze the latest batch of financial disclosure forms to find out who could be impacted.

Illinois Has a New State Budget. Will It Help Fix Fiscal Woes?

“We’re investing in the things that really matter in this state,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a press conference after signing the $40 billion spending plan Wednesday, June 5, 2019. “Many of these things haven’t been addressed for 20 years.”

Passing and managing a budget is one of government’s most basic functions, but as he signed a new $40 billion spending plan into law Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called it a “watershed moment.”

Place Your Bets: Where Should the Chicago Casino Be Built?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about the Chicago casino – specifically, where he thinks it should be built – during a media appearance Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago is getting a massive casino that could rival Las Vegas operations in size and scope. But where will it go? Gov. J.B. Pritzker isn’t offering a site, but an opinion: not downtown.

Recapping an ‘Extraordinarily Productive’ Legislative Session

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Illinois could become a very different state, thanks to a bunch of measures legislators approved over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of budget bills and the new public works program.

‘Consequential’ Session Comes to a Close; Pritzker Takes a Victory Lap

In this file photo, 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)

During a whirlwind week in Springfield, Illinois lawmakers voted for a host of measures that left rookie Gov. J.B. Pritzker claiming triumph for the progressive agenda he’d promised.

Lawmakers Vote for Chicago Casino, Plus Gas and Cigarette Taxes

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

By Saturday night, Republican representatives joined with Democrats who control the General Asssembly to agree to a massive package of bills comprising a $40 billion budget.

Illinois Welcomes Weed, Waits on a Budget with Another Extended Session

Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, throws her fist in the air as she celebrates with Illinois state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, left, and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, as they watch the final votes come in for their bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in the Illinois House chambers Friday, May 31, 2019. The 66-47 vote sends the bill to Gov. J.B. Pritzker who indicated he will sign it. (Ted Schurter / The State Journal-Register via AP)

Six months from now, when Illinois residents ring in the New Year, they need not settle for a swig of champagne. They’ll be legally able to toke up.

With a Full Slate, Time is Running Out for Illinois Lawmakers

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A $39 billion budget. A public works program. Casinos. Legalized recreational marijuana. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers have a single day – until 11:59 p.m. Friday – to wrap up all of that, and more.

Illinois on the Precipice of Legalizing Marijuana

(Martijn / Flickr)

The Illinois Senate approves a newly revised measure that would allow anyone age 21 or older to buy and use marijuana starting in January. But supporters shouldn’t break out the champagne – or bongs – just yet.

Illinois House Passes Expansive Abortion Rights Bill

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

As other states, including neighboring Missouri, have passed laws that are tantamount to abortion bans, Illinois is moving in the opposite direction.

Democrats Put Graduated Income Tax Question to Voters

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Following a Memorial Day vote, Illinois voters will get a chance in 2020 to decide whether they want to fundamentally change the rules dictating how their income is taxed.

If Pot is Legalized in Illinois, What Happens to Medical Marijuana?

The effort to legalize recreational marijuana is still alive in Illinois, but negotiations are ongoing. Where does that leave the state’s blossoming medical marijuana pilot program?

Marijuana is a Psychoactive Drug. But is it Really a Medicine?

Marijuana laws are changing rapidly, but as of now, adults can use it recreationally in just 10 states. Medical marijuana, however, is legal in 33 states. So which is it: A pleasure drug or a pharmaceutical one?

Pritzker Agenda Coming Down to the Wire

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois’ legislative session in Springfield is scheduled to adjourn at the end of this month – and a lot remains unresolved. 

Lightfoot Signs Executive Order Curbing Aldermanic Prerogative

Within hours of being sworn in, Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an executive order that aims to significantly curb aldermanic prerogative. She made signing it her first order of business as a demonstration she’ll bring change to the city. 

Mayor Pete Buttigieg Campaigns in Chicago

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, takes questions from reporters following his speech at the City Club of Chicago on May 16, 2019.

The election is a long way off, but current polls give the South Bend mayor a decent shot at the White House.

The Escalating Trade War, and What it May Mean for US Consumers

In this March 5, 2019, file photo, cargo containers are staged near cranes at the Port of Tacoma, in Tacoma, Washington. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

Global markets slowed Monday, including the main U.S. indexes, as a trade war between the United States and China intensifies.

WTTW News Takes Homes Chicago Journalism Awards

“Chicago Tonight” 2018 Lisagor Award winners Brandis Friedman, Paris Schutz, Amanda Vinicky, Nick Blumberg and Nicole Cardos attend the awards ceremony on Friday, May 10, 2019.

“Chicago Tonight” has won three prestigious Lisagor awards for the best in Chicago journalism, for the best in arts, education and government news.

Pump the Brakes: Uber, Lyft Drivers Strike

Barbara Lloyd of Chicago Rideshare Advocates speaks to the media during a rally Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago commuters seeking a ride Wednesday may have better luck hailing a cab than using their smartphones to call for a car, due to a multistate strike by some Uber and Lyft drivers.

High Time or Half-Baked? Illinois Looks to Legalize Weed

(Chuck Grimmett / Flickr)

Illinois residents could buy and use weed legally as soon as January should a measure backed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker be passed into law – but there’s no guarantee that will happen.

Emanuel to Chicago: We Got Our Game Back

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the City Club on Thursday, May 2, 2019.

Later this month, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot will move into the executive suite at City Hall. She’ll inherit a city her predecessor says is better off now than when he took office some eight years ago.

Illinois Riddled with Political – and Literal – Potholes

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Finding billions of dollars to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs is high on legislators’ list of priorities with five weeks left in their spring session, but so too are other hefty “asks” of first-time Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Pritzker: ‘No Concerns’ About Investigation of Property Tax Appeal

A novel approach to receiving a property tax break didn’t flush Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s chances at winning the 2018 election down the toilet. But he now faces a federal investigation into his property taxes.

100 Days In, Gov. Pritkzer’s Biggest Challenges Are Just Ahead

Illinois' new governor cites a list of early accomplishments. But the fate of his biggest plans, including overhauling how the state taxes its residents, is still up in the air.

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.