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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

The Battle for Union Members Begins

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision. Now, on to the next front in the battle over the future of public employee unions.

Why Chicago’s Hedging on a City-Owned Casino

Chicago’ and Illinois’ budgets could both use extra padding – money for schools, and to pay pension debts. One option? More gambling. But just what are the chances? 

2018 Governor’s Race: Fundraising Nears $250 Million

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Total fundraising in the Illinois governor’s race approaches a quarter-billion dollars. What that means for both parties.

Democrats Fire Up Their Base at Annual State Fair Rally

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan addresses the crowd at a Democratic Party breakfast in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Democrats are on the attack as they campaign at the Illinois State Fair. We have a live report from Springfield.

Rauner Uses State Fair to Compare Opponent to Swine

Gov. Bruce Rauner (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday slammed Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker’s spending on political advertisements. “You know what? You can only put so much lipstick on a barrow,” Rauner said.

Precious Meddling: The Impact of Trump’s Tariffs on Steel

Gone are the days of leaving it to the World Trade Organization to deal with allegations of “dumping” and other disputes – President Trump is using tariffs instead. A local steel company weighs in.

Gov. Rauner Ratchets Up Anti-Madigan Rhetoric

Gov. Bruce Rauner: “I hope he’s been doing something illegal and I hope he gets prosecuted.”

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has long been a political target of Gov. Bruce Rauner, but the governor ratcheted it up a notch Monday.

Railway Apologizes for ‘Bait Truck’ Operation, Vows to Stop Practice

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Norfolk Southern Railway is backing up from a controversial practice following backlash sparked by viral videos.

Police ‘Bait Trucks’: Legitimate Sting Operation, Or Unfair Setup?

(Courtesy Norfolk Southern Surveillance Camera)

Once again, police are in the crosshairs due to social media posts that have gone viral. This time, videos show police using a so-called bait truck in Englewood.

IIT Construction Unearths ‘Mecca’ of Chicago History

(Courtesy of the Chicago Architectural Preservation Archive)

Construction on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus recently exposed a slice of Chicago’s buried past.

NASA’s Mission to ‘Our Star’ Named After UChicago’s Eugene Parker

Retired University of Chicago astrophysicist Eugene Parker speaks with Chicago Tonight on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Next week, the retired University of Chicago astrophysicist, 91, will watch as a probe named in his honor is launched from the Kennedy Space Center and catapulted to the sun’s corona.

Emanuel Challenger Lightfoot, Police Union Tear Down Consent Decree

Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 President Kevin Graham

The Chicago Police Department is one step closer to making reforms, but a draft consent decree is drawing criticism, and the police union has vowed to sue. We speak with FOP President Kevin Graham.

The ‘Buzz’ Behind Beekeeping: Colonizing a New Hive

(PollyDot / Pixabay)

If you’re not ready to raise chickens in your backyard, you could try your hand at another popular trend: urban beekeeping.

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson takes questions from the media on July 18, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago and Cook County have sometimes-spotty reputations when it comes to how they run government operations. But they have taken steps to clean up their acts.

New Law Keeps Guns Away from Those Deemed ‘Dangerous’

“I want to commend members of the General Assembly for working on a bipartisan basis. They passed, and today I will sign, House Bill 2354,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday, July 16, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Illinois police will be able to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals found by a court to present a danger to themselves or others, under a law signed Monday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Gov. Rauner’s Answer to Chicago Violence

Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks to the media Monday, July 9, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

The governor’s solution to violence touches on a common theme: reducing burdens on businesses and lowering property taxes, which he says will grow economic opportunities and jobs.

In Wake of Janus Decision, What’s Next for Public Unions

Unions – and their foes – are fast on the heels of a landmark Supreme Court ruling issued last week on Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a case with Illinois roots.

Judge Orders Asylum-Seeking Mom Reunited with 9-Year-Old Son in Chicago

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah wrote in an order issued Thursday that continued separation of the mother and child “irreparably harms them both.”

US Supreme Court Ruling Strikes Blow to Public Unions

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court’s conservative justices ruled that states cannot require public workers to pay union “fair-share” fees. 

Illinois Governor’s Race Widens

Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 14, 2017 and March 14, 2018, respectively.

Primary voters decided the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor in March, but chances are voters will have other options in the general election.

Sorry, Online Shoppers: No More Evading the Sales Tax

(HutchRock / Pixabay)

A U.S. Supreme Court decision released Thursday will have consequences for the state budget – and for online shoppers. 

Rauner Calls Separating Families ‘Wrong’ But Mum on Border Troops

Gov. Bruce Rauner weighs in on President Donald Trump’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Elizabeth Brackett Medical Exam Scheduled for Tuesday

Exactly what happened to Elizabeth Brackett on Wednesday morning that led to her death Sunday may never be known: there are no known witnesses, and it is unclear whether nearby security cameras captured the incident.

Family Hopes to Learn Identity of Good Samaritans Who Helped Elizabeth Brackett

Elizabeth Brackett

Veteran “Chicago Tonight” correspondent Elizabeth Brackett remains in critical but stable condition at Stroger Hospital following an incident Wednesday morning while riding her bicycle.

Landmark Supreme Court Decision Coming, And Illinois is Center Stage

As soon as Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue an opinion on Janus v. AFSCME – a case with roots in Illinois that could have consequences nationwide.

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