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Stories by Amanda Vinicky

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.

Money and Accusations Fly in the Race for Illinois Governor

With Election Day just two weeks away, controversy is swirling in the race at the top of the ticket – a race that’s breaking records when it comes to self-financing.

Pritzker, Rauner Release Partial 2017 Tax Returns

(Chris Potter / Flickr)

J.B. Pritzker is on track to spend his entire 2017 income on his gubernatorial campaign, while Bruce Rauner has spent roughly half his annual income on the race, tax forms show.

Final Debate for Rauner, Pritzker Takes Place in Quincy, Site of Legionnaire’s Outbreaks

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

Democrats have been highly critical of the Rauner administration’s handling of the Legionnaire’s outbreaks, but the governor insisted during Thursday's debate that action was “immediately taken.”

‘Boys, Boys’: Rauner, Pritzker Get Nasty in Debate

JB Pritzker, left, and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear in a debate before the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

The latest joint appearance by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger JB Pritzker came Tuesday before the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Activists Respond to Van Dyke Verdict: ‘We Got Closer to Justice’

Tanya Watkins of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation

Community activists and organizers on Friday began gathering outside City Hall before the verdict was announced in the murder trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Rauner, Pritzker Square Off in Second Illinois Governor Debate

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

Illinois’ leading candidates for governor had to tackle fresh controversies as they faced off Wednesday night in a one-on-one debate.

Opt-In, Opt-Out: Controversy Over Automatic Voter Registration

Voting rights advocates have accused Secretary of State Jesse White of failing to properly implement Illinois' new automatic voter registration law. 

Candidates for Illinois Governor Face Off in First Debate

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

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker traded barbs Thursday evening in their first matchup heading into the Nov. 6 general election, some 6.5 weeks away.

Sweeping Changes for Chicago Police Department Nearly Finalized

“Today is an historic day for the city of Chicago,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. “This morning, we have filed a proposed consent decree with the federal court that will lead to real and lasting reform of the Chicago Police Department.”

A document promised to result in “real and lasting reform” for Chicago police is in the hands of a federal judge. The latest on the consent decree.

Chicago Mayor’s Race: Gutierrez Out, Garcia ‘Taking a Closer Look’

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez announces Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 that he will not run for Chicago mayor. (Chicago Tonight)

There may soon be tidal waves in the race for Chicago mayor, should Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle run, or should County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia take a second shot at the city’s top job.

Top Cook County Leaders Eyeing Chicago Mayor’s Race

Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 16, 2017.

As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presided over a regularly-scheduled board meeting Tuesday, loyalists were beginning to circulate petitions to nominate Preckwinkle for Chicago mayor. 

With Emanuel Out, Who’s In? The Wide-Open Race for Chicago Mayor

“Now with our three children in college, Amy and I have decided it is time to write another chapter together,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 with his wife Amy Rule by his side as he announced he would not seek re-election.

It’s been nearly a week since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the shocking announcement that he won’t run for a third term. We survey the political landscape.

Obama Takes Aim at Trump, Republican Party Elites

“What happened to the Republican Party?” former President Barack Obama asked during a speech Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Urbana, Illinois.

In a fervid speech, former President Barack Obama accuses his successor and GOP elites of appealing to tribalism and fear “because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and their privilege.”

Chicago Police to Document When They Point a Gun

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson talks Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 about a new agreement for tracking gun-pointing instances in the police department. (Chicago Tonight)

The city and state reach agreement on a plan to track instances in which Chicago police officers point a gun at someone. But not everyone’s happy about it.

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