Stories by amanda vinicky

(WTTW News)

Illinois Senate Democrats Propose $1B Tax Relief Plan

With a week to go before the Illinois legislature’s planned April 8 adjournment, Democrats in the state Senate on Friday introduced an election-year “inflation-busting” plan offering tax breaks to low-income workers, homeowners, parents, teachers, drivers and even volunteer first responders. 

(WTTW News)

More Calls for ‘Gas Tax Relief’ as Prices Increase

President Joe Biden has moved to ease price pressures through opening oil reserves. Some governors, including Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, have called on the federal government to temporarily lift its tax on gasoline, though Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker was not a signatory to a letter making that request.

(WTTW News)

Metra Adds More Trains, Expects More Riders on Its Most Popular Line

Starting Monday, Metra has added five train trips – 91 up from 87 – to its popular BNSF Line, which runs between Aurora and Chicago along stations including Downers Grove, Hinsdale and Brookfield.

(Jakayla Toney / Unsplash)

With Sharp Drop in Demand, Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Sites to End Operations March 31

Illinois will close its community, free COVID-19 testing sites within the next week. The Illinois Department of Public Health cites a “sharp increase in demand” that dropped “precipitously in recent weeks” as its reason for closing the testing locations, as well as an “anticipated end of federal funding.”

(WTTW News)

Illinois to Use $2.7 Billion in Federal Relief Funds to Pay Off COVID-Related Debt

When COVID-19 shutdowns left a record number of people suddenly out of work, Illinois saw record applications for unemployment benefits. That increase drained the state fund that pays out those benefits, the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

(skeeze / Pixabay)

Sen. Dick Durbin in Commanding Seat for Supreme Court Hearings

The Senate Judiciary Committee that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin chairs begins a series of hearings Monday into President Joe Biden’s nominee for the high court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

(WTTW News)

Activists Protest State’s Attorney Kim Foxx Over Lack of Charges Against Police in Fatal Shootings

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced Tuesday that while officers Eric Stillman and Evan Solano erred and “escalated” the situations in their pursuits of Toledo, there’s insufficient evidence and facts to justify criminal charges. 

(WTTW News)

In the Next Decade, All New Cars Will Carry Technology that Monitors for Impaired Drivers

The $1 trillion federal infrastructure package includes spending on construction projects and puts the U.S. on the path toward transitioning to electric-powered and hybrid vehicles. It also contains a variety of safety provisions, including impaired driver monitors.

(WTTW News)

As Candidate Filing Closes in Illinois, Some Want System Reformed

There were no major surprises as the window closed, with no big names mounting a surprise challenge to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. With Petersburg’s Jesse Sullivan getting his petitions in before the 5 p.m. deadline, all five of the high-profile Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for governor have filed to run in what’s expected to be a contentious race.

(WTTW News)

Michael Madigan Indictment Spurs Calls for Reform in Springfield

The former Illinois House Speaker and longtime chairperson of the Democratic Party of Illinois faces multiple counts that carry prison sentences of up to 20 years each. And advocates say Mike Madigan’s indictment should be a call for reform of state government.

(Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay)

Higher Gas Prices ‘A Sacrifice’ Americans Must Bear, Some Local Experts Say

It’s a new front as the U.S. attempts from afar to influence what’s happening in Ukraine. President Biden Tuesday announced a ban on all imports of oil from Russia. What consequences that may have abroad and here at home.

Candidates line up at the Illinois State Board of Election to file petitions on March 7, 2022. (WTTW News)

Under Madigan Corruption Cloud, Election Season Begins in Illinois

Anyone in line to file their petitions by the time election authorities opened their doors has a chance to be listed first on the ballot for their race, a position that could make a difference by attracting voters’ eyeballs in a close contest.

Michael Madigan file photo (WTTW News)

Legislators React to Former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s Indictment

For nearly 40 years, former Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party chairman Michael Madigan was at the epicenter of politics in Chicago and Illinois. Now, he’s at the epicenter of a corruption investigation. The news has Springfield reeling.

Sen. Dick Durbin chairs a Senate committee hearing on carjackings on March 1, 2022. (WTTW News)

As Carjackings Rise Locally and Across the Country, U.S. Senate Holds Hearing

Both locally and nationally, carjackings are on the rise. In Chicago, they have tripled over the last decade, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. Other cities including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. have also seen similar upticks.

Customers dine at The Dearborn restaurant in the Loop on Feb. 28, 2022. (WTTW News)

With Mandate Over, Illinois Businesses Can Decide How to Handle Mask Requirements

As expected, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday issued a new executive order that lifts the requirement for masking in most indoor public settings, citing a “vast improvement” in COVID-related hospitalizations and transmissions. 

(WTTW News)

Peace Rally in Ukrainian Village

For some Chicago areas residents, what’s happening in Ukraine is personal. They’ve got relatives suddenly living in a war zone. They’re trying to draw Americans’ attention to the Russian invasion — including with a rally Thursday afternoon in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.

(WTTW News)

Despite Hurdles, Automatic Voter Registration Law Adds to Voter Rolls

A new report estimates an additional 111-thousand voter registration applications have been processed at Illinois Secretary of State facilities annually, thanks to a 2018 automatic voter registration law. But advocates say Illinois can — and should — do better.

(WTTW News)

Illinois Considers Rolling Out the Red Carpet for New Recycling Effort

Illinois state legislators are considering a proposal that would help facilitate carpet recycling, but the effort has what one might call wall-to-wall complications.

(CNN)

Ending Forced Arbitration for Workplace Sexual Harassment

Five years since the #MeToo movement took off, comes a change that will give women more protections in the workplace, and – a rarity for Washington – the measure has bipartisan backing. 

(WTTW News)

Who Will Replace Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in 11th Ward?

The nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and the grandson of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson will have to resign his City Council seat given his convictions Monday for lying to the IRS and filing false tax returns.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivers his budget address to a mostly virtual audience from Springfield on Feb. 2, 2022. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Details Temporary Tax Relief Plan in Budget Address Kicking Off Reelection Year

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Wednesday afternoon address from the Old State Capitol was delivered to a mostly virtual audience after a snowstorm thwarted plans for an in-person session of the General Assembly.

(WTTW News)

Republicans React to Governor’s Expected Budget Plan

Gov. J. B. Pritzker will present the new state budget Wednesday. Details will include Illinois' pandemic response, funding for schools, and for violence prevention, and potential tax relief. Among the expected proposals are holding the line on a gasoline tax, and temporarily lifting a 1% tax on food. 

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Plans Reelection Year Tax Relief; Snow Cancels Legislative Session

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker heads into a reelection year that could prove trying, on Wednesday he is set to present a budget proposal with nearly $1 billion in one-time tax relief.

(WTTW News)

Chicago Teachers Union Leadership Faces Competition

Wednesday marks two weeks since Chicago Public Schools students returned to class — after a standoff between the teachers’ union and the district over COVID-19 protocols resulted in canceled classes. Union leadership already has another fight on its hands.

(Pixabay)

Illinois Law Allows Pharmacists to Dispense Contraception

It’ll be easier to access birth control in Illinois, courtesy of a new law that allows pharmacists to dispense hormonal contraception without a doctor’s prescription.

(Irvin Campaign)

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin Jumps into GOP Governor’s Race as Expensive Campaign Season Looms

It’s been nearly a year since candidates began announcing their intent to run for Illinois governor, but Monday brought a new entrant to shake up the race. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin declared he’s running as a Republican in an online video.