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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Blagojevich Pardon Would Send ‘Damaging Message,’ Says Illinois GOP

Illinois’ Republican members of Congress have an ask for the president: Don’t commute the sentence of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Embattled Rauner Appointee Will Party, Won’t Resign

Former Democratic state Rep. Ken Dunkin speaks to the media Thursday, June 7, 2018. (Chicago Tonight)

Gov. Bruce Rauner quietly appointed former Democratic state Rep. Ken Dunkin to Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board last month. Why he’s now calling on Dunkin to resign.

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.

Illinois’ Budget Is Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Gov. Bruce Rauner, flanked by Republican and Democratic legislators alike, did something Monday for the first time in his nearly 3.5 years as governor: he signed into law a new state budget.

Lou Lang Steps Down from Leadership Posts, Calls Accusations ‘Absurd’

“This is a person that did not get what she wanted out of state government,” state Rep. Lou Lang said Thursday, May 31, 2018, of the woman accusing him of harassment.

Longtime state Rep. Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, is the latest of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle besieged by fallout from the #MeToo movement.

Illinois on the Precipice of a Budget

Illinois lawmakers are expected to make a clean break from the paralyzing dysfunction of recent years, and are on the precipice of passing a bipartisan budget. 

The ERA’s Revival: Illinois Ratifies Equal Rights Amendment

Nearly a half-century after it was first approved by Congress, Illinois on Wednesday night became the 37th state to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Is Illinois Close to a Budget Deal?

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

With only two more days before the Illinois legislature’s budget deadline, insiders say a bipartisan deal is within reach.

Chicago Casino’s Bad Odds: Lawmakers Reject Gambling Bill

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Chicago’s long-held desire for a city-owned casino will continue to go unrequited if an Illinois House panel’s Memorial Day vote against a massive gambling expansion package stands.

Illinois Legislators Optimistic About Meeting Budget Deadline

As Illinois heads into the home stretch of its legislative session, lawmakers intimately involved in budget negotiations have an eye on reaching a bipartisan deal by next Thursday’s deadline. 

Chicago Riverwalk’s Rapid Growth Is Making Waves (And Noise)

As the weather gets nicer, Chicagoans and tourists are expected to flock to an increasingly popular destination: the Chicago River and attractions along its main branch. But has it become too congested?

Illinois’ Executive Mansion Gets a $15 Million Face-Lift

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s critics can accurately say he has failed to pass major parts of his agenda. But Rauner has made good on pledges to live in the capital city and revitalize the executive mansion.

Illinois Invites Public Health Employees to Bring Their Infants to Work

(Courtesy of Molly Lamb)

The Illinois Department of Public Health launched a new pilot this week. How the Infant at Work program aims to make life a little easier for working parents.

Rauner Wants to Reinstate Death Penalty, Put 72-Hour Hold on All Gun Sales

Gov. Bruce Rauner (Chicago Tonight file photo)

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday used an unconventional method to announce a sweeping public safety plan that includes reinstating the death penalty in Illinois. 

Civic Federation Slams Rauner’s Budget Plans

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall

Stern warnings on state budget prospects from a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog.

Will This Be the Year Illinois Passes a Budget on Time?

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Illinois’ top lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner met privately in Springfield on Tuesday in an attempt to do something they’ve been unable to accomplish since Rauner took office – brokering a full year’s budget deal.

Illinois Cleared for New Mental Health, Addiction Pilot Programs

Illinois has won long sought-after permission from the federal government to take a more flexible approach to treating opioid disorders, drug abuse and other behavioral health issues.

Illinois Lawmakers Contemplate a Graduated Income Tax

“House Democrats will continue to work to provide for a fair tax,” House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday.

An income tax rate that would rise or fall based on your income level: Is that playing politics with your paycheck?

Rauner Dismisses Would-Be Opponent as ‘Pawn’

“McCann is being used as a pawn by Pritzker and Madigan,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thusday, April 26, 2018.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner weighs in for the first time on a new entrant to the governor’s race: state Sen. Sam McCann.

Gun-Rights Advocates Beat Back Effort to Regulate Illinois Gun Dealers

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act in March. Wednesday was key to determining whether that veto would stick. 

Illinois’ Budget Impasse Leads to ‘Out of Control’ Interest Payments

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Illinois may have a budget (for another few months anyway), but the two-year stalemate continues to put a drag on the state’s finances.

Michael Madigan Wins 6th Term as Head of Illinois’ Democratic Party

(Amanda Vinicky / Chicago Tonight)

He first became head of the Democratic Party of Illinois in 1998. Despite his longevity, House Speaker Michael Madigan isn’t a beloved figure.

Parkland Shooting Survivor Wants Fresh Focus on ‘Never Again’ Movement

May-Ling Ho-Shing is a survivor of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The 17-year-old shared a message Thursday with students at Thornwood High School in South Holland.

Decades After Deadline, Equal Rights Amendment Regains Steam

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

Supporters have tried to resurrect the ERA for years, but the movement gained steam Wednesday, passing the Illinois Senate by a vote of 42 to 12 – more than 35 years past its deadline.

From Pyeongchang to ‘Heart and Seoul,’ Exhibit Highlights Korean Culture

The Winter Olympics are long gone, but at the Chicago Children’s Museum, kids can continue to experience elements of the Korean culture they’ve seen glimpses of on TV.