Stories by Amanda Vinicky

New Class of Illinois Lawmakers Will Face Enduring Challenges

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Mounting pension debt, a budget deficit and a backlog of unpaid bills – all effects of Illinois’ budget impasse – will continue to plague not just the state but its incoming governor and newly sworn-in class of legislators.

In Final Days as Governor, Rauner Opens Up on Trump, Taxes, Unions and Burke

Outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner reflects on the past four years, and gives recommendations to his successor.

Preckwinkle, FBI at Odds Over Campaign Contribution

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (Chicago Tonight file photo) and Ald. Ed Burke (AP Photo / M. Spencer Green, File)

A footnote in the 37-page criminal complaint against Ald. Ed Burke is causing a headache for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as she seeks to become Chicago’s next mayor.

New Year Begins With Chicago Police Officer Committing Suicide

The Chicago Police Department has taken steps to combat low morale and suicide among its officers, but some are calling for more to be done.

Spotlight Politics: What’s Coming in 2019

| Paris Schutz

Catch up on what you may have missed over the holidays – and get a look at what’s to come in 2019 – with our political correspondents in this weekly roundtable.

Vallas Calls on All Mayoral Candidates to Release Their Tax Returns

Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas wants candidates to release their tax returns. “You’ve got ‘em. You filed ‘em, you submitted ‘em. Just release ‘em,” he said Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.

The majority of candidates running for mayor of Chicago have not yet released their tax returns – and some may not at all. “This is no time for a mayor to be veiled in secrecy,” said candidate Paul Vallas.

Spotlight Politics: Preckwinkle Drops Petition Challenge

| Paris Schutz

A major detente in the race for Chicago mayor. We take a deep dive into the 2019 election and other top political headlines in our weekly roundtable.

Major Candidates for Mayor Haven’t Released Their Tax Returns. Why Not?

(Photo credit: Nathan L. Hanks Jr.)

Tax returns can show a candidate’s wealth, charitable giving and whether their financial interests could present a conflict of interest. At least five of the major candidates for Chicago mayor have not yet made their returns public.

What Route Will Illinois Take on Infrastructure Funding?

In a little more than a month, Illinois will have a new governor. J.B. Pritzker’s plans for his administration – including infrastructure funding – are beginning to take shape.

Legislator Apologizes for Remarks Met With ‘Applause Instead of Handcuffs’

Harsh political rhetoric is common these days, but did a state legislator take it too far?

Pritzker Wants More Money for Schools, but Funding Challenges Loom

Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker fields questions from high school students during a special episode of “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 8, 2018.

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker wants Illinois to become a national model for education. “There’s no future for the state if we let education drop off the priority list,” he said Tuesday. But he is unable to say where the money will come from to fulfill that pledge.

CPS CEO: Chill Out About Cold Schools

CPS CEO Janice Jackson speaks during a press conference on Monday, June 18, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson on Tuesday brushed aside critics who said students in 20 CPS schools were “robbed … of warmth and educational stability” due to a lack of heat Monday.

Deadline Day Arrives for Chicago Mayoral Hopefuls

State Rep. La Shawn Ford is among those hoping to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Candidates aiming to be Chicago’s next mayor had until 5 p.m. Monday to turn in the paperwork that will get them on the ballot – paperwork that includes the signatures of at least 12,500 registered Chicago voters.

Chicago Police Officer Among 4 Killed in Mercy Hospital Shooting

| Matt Masterson
Law enforcement officials work near Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune via AP)

A Chicago police officer, two female medical professionals and the suspected gunman are dead following a shooting rampage Monday afternoon at Mercy Hospital on the city’s Near South Side.

Lawmakers Vote to Raise Smoking Age, Despite Rauner’s Objections

(Kruscha / Pixabay)

Gov. Bruce Rauner – once known for exerting an iron grip over Republican legislators that had them follow him in lockstep – got a taste Wednesday of his lame-duck status.

All Clear After Bomb Threat at State Capitol

Police and K-9 units investigate a reported bomb threat at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. No bomb was found. (Amanda Vinicky / Chicago Tonight)

Legislative activity has resumed at the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, following a threat of a bomb in the upper chambers of the statehouse.

Veto Session Begins; Madigan on Board With Pritkzer’s Plans for Pot, Taxes

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A week after Illinois Democrats’ decisive general election victories, Illinois lawmakers returned to the capitol Tuesday for the start of the annual fall veto session.

Congressman Calls for Black Friday Boycott to ‘Target’ Store Closings

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 speaks against two Target stores closing on Chicago’s South Side.

‘Tis the season for shopping, but U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush is calling on constituents to avoid buying gifts, and anything else, following Target’s decision to close a pair of stores on Chicago’s predominately black South Side.

Gov.-Elect J.B. Pritzker Promises Honest Assessment of State’s Finances

Pritzker announced his transition team will include a 17-member “budget and innovation” committee to help address Illinois’ projected budget shortfall. 

Gov.-Elect J.B. Pritzker Backs Off Temporary Tax Plan

Fresh off a double-digit victory, Democrat J.B. Pritzker appeared to back away from a previously-endorsed plan that would inch the state toward his long-term vision for linking tax rates to residents’ means.

Obama Stumps for Pritzker, Democrats in Chicago

Former President Barack Obama, center, headlines a rally and appears alongside, from left to right, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, lieutenant governor candidate Juliana Stratton and congressional candidate Lauren Underwood on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Ten years to the day that President Barack Obama held a Grant Park celebration upon his election as the 44th president of the United States, he was back in Chicago to gin up support for local Democrats.

Obama to Rally in Chicago for Democrats – Rauner Campaign Says it Shows Race Tightening

Former President Barack Obama speaks on Monday, April 24, 2017 at the University of Chicago.

Fresh on the heels of winning City Council approval for his planned presidential center in Jackson Park, former President Barack Obama is heading back to Chicago for a get-out-the-vote rally Sunday.

Obama Center Gets Unanimous City Council Approval to Land in Chicago

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday thanked Chicago aldermen for their approval of a 99-year land agreement to allow his presidential center to make its home in Jackson Park. But other hurdles remain.

The Race for Illinois Governor 2018: Bruce Rauner

| Nick Blumberg
Bruce Rauner is sworn in as governor of Illinois on Jan. 12, 2015.

Those who know Gov. Bruce Rauner best describe him as stubborn – and smart. An intimate look at what shaped Rauner, and what that’s meant for Illinois as he tries for a second term.

Illinois Begins to Pave the Way for Self-Driving Cars

Chicago streets filled with cars and passengers – but no drivers – may sound like something out of the cartoon “The Jetsons,” but some suggest the technology actually has roots in Illinois’ not-so-distant past.