Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Sterigenics Opponents Fight Proposed Deal to Reopen Plant

The Sterigenics medical sterilization plant in west suburban Willowbrook. (WTTW News)

A medical sterilization plant in west suburban Willowbrook that’s been shuttered since February would reopen under a proposed court order, but not if residents who leave near the facility have their way.

Reflections on the Life of Justice John Paul Stevens

John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States, Photographer: Steve Petteway)

John Paul Stevens was a born-and-bred Chicagoan who rose to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Local legal scholars, historians and attorneys who worked with Stevens reflect on his life.

What Illinois Offers Undocumented Immigrants

Even as President Donald Trump cracks down on undocumented immigrants, Illinois is expanding services available to them. What services are – and aren’t – on offer.

Chicago Prepares for Possible Immigration Crackdown

“There’s a lot of fear out there, and what’s most distressing to me is the fear in the hearts and in the eyes of children,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday, July 11, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago is on the list of cities targeted for a large-scale immigration raid that could come as soon as Sunday, according to national reports.

Illinois Betting on a Rapid Pace for Casino Expansion

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

State legislators laid out a rapid pace in the new gambling expansion law that will give Illinois six new casinos, including one in Chicago – so fast that it appears the state is already struggling to keep up.

Illinois Unemployment System Down, Payments Delayed

(kaboompics / Pixabay)

The outage means people cannot file for unemployment and 29,000 of the 86,000 claimants who are already certified will see their payments delayed.

Lead Concerns Halt Chicago Water Meter Installations

(Skitterphoto / Pixabay)

Chicago’s water meter installation program is on an indefinite hold after new data showed an increased level of lead in some metered homes.

Illinois Taxes Goods. But What About Services?

(kaleido-dp / Pixabay)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been upfront recently that city residents should expect to pay more in taxes to help fill persistent budget holes. One she’s eyeing? A tax on services.

Illinois Looks to Drivers, Smokers to Fund Road Repairs

If you filled up your gas tank Monday, you may have noticed it got pricier. What’s behind that bump, and what other new laws are going into effect at the start of Illinois’ new fiscal year.

Driving Under the Influence of … Marijuana?

(Chuck Grimmett / Flickr)

Illinois is on the road to legalized marijuana. What that means for local law enforcement.

Controversy Over School Ratings as New CPS Board Meets

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson speaks at a Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s newly appointed Chicago Board of Education ushered in some changes during its first meeting Wednesday. 

Pritzker Expected to Sign Marijuana Legalization Bill Next Week

(Martijn / Flickr)

Recreational marijuana is all but a done deal in Illinois. Late last month, Illinois became the first state in the nation to approve such a measure via a legislative body. On Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to make it final.

State Leader Defends Personal Stake in Illinois’ Gambling Industry

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady speaks at the City Club of Chicago on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (WTTW News)

A recent investigation revealed that Illinois Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady has a “business interest” in Midwest Electronics Gaming, a prominent video gaming company. On Tuesday, Brady commented on the business.

Changes Coming to Chicago’s Embattled Workers’ Comp System

“The system that Ed Burke ran was ripe for corruption,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday, June 13, 2019. (WTTW News)

It’s a program that costs the city more than $100 million a year, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot says that under Ald. Ed Burke, it was “ripe for corruption.”

How Many Chicago Aldermen Have Side Hustles?

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to set some restrictions on outside employment for aldermen. We analyze the latest batch of financial disclosure forms to find out who could be impacted.

Illinois Has a New State Budget. Will It Help Fix Fiscal Woes?

“We’re investing in the things that really matter in this state,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a press conference after signing the $40 billion spending plan Wednesday, June 5, 2019. “Many of these things haven’t been addressed for 20 years.”

Passing and managing a budget is one of government’s most basic functions, but as he signed a new $40 billion spending plan into law Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker called it a “watershed moment.”

Place Your Bets: Where Should the Chicago Casino Be Built?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about the Chicago casino – specifically, where he thinks it should be built – during a media appearance Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (WTTW News)

Chicago is getting a massive casino that could rival Las Vegas operations in size and scope. But where will it go? Gov. J.B. Pritzker isn’t offering a site, but an opinion: not downtown.

Recapping an ‘Extraordinarily Productive’ Legislative Session

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

Illinois could become a very different state, thanks to a bunch of measures legislators approved over the weekend. Here’s a rundown of budget bills and the new public works program.

‘Consequential’ Session Comes to a Close; Pritzker Takes a Victory Lap

In this file photo, Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions about Senate Bill 1, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, after it passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP)

During a whirlwind week in Springfield, Illinois lawmakers voted for a host of measures that left rookie Gov. J.B. Pritzker claiming triumph for the progressive agenda he’d promised.

Lawmakers Vote for Chicago Casino, Plus Gas and Cigarette Taxes

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

By Saturday night, Republican representatives joined with Democrats who control the General Asssembly to agree to a massive package of bills comprising a $40 billion budget.

Illinois Welcomes Weed, Waits on a Budget with Another Extended Session

Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, throws her fist in the air as she celebrates with Illinois state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, left, and Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, as they watch the final votes come in for their bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in the Illinois House chambers Friday, May 31, 2019. The 66-47 vote sends the bill to Gov. J.B. Pritzker who indicated he will sign it. (Ted Schurter / The State Journal-Register via AP)

Six months from now, when Illinois residents ring in the New Year, they need not settle for a swig of champagne. They’ll be legally able to toke up.

With a Full Slate, Time is Running Out for Illinois Lawmakers

(Éovart Caçeir at English Wikipedia)

A $39 billion budget. A public works program. Casinos. Legalized recreational marijuana. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers have a single day – until 11:59 p.m. Friday – to wrap up all of that, and more.

Illinois on the Precipice of Legalizing Marijuana

(Martijn / Flickr)

The Illinois Senate approves a newly revised measure that would allow anyone age 21 or older to buy and use marijuana starting in January. But supporters shouldn’t break out the champagne – or bongs – just yet.

Illinois House Passes Expansive Abortion Rights Bill

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

As other states, including neighboring Missouri, have passed laws that are tantamount to abortion bans, Illinois is moving in the opposite direction.

Democrats Put Graduated Income Tax Question to Voters

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Following a Memorial Day vote, Illinois voters will get a chance in 2020 to decide whether they want to fundamentally change the rules dictating how their income is taxed.