Stories by Hunter Clauss

Catholics and Climate Change

Pope Francis' recent views on climate change are sparking debates within the Catholic community. Joining us are Mark Potosnak, a member of the Catholic Climate Covenant and assistant professor of environmental science at DePaul University, and Mary Anne Hackett, president and CEO of Catholic Citizens of Illinois.

Safety in Sanctuaries

A panel of local religious leaders joins us to talk about the racially motivated shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina and how they are addressing safety concerns from their congregations.

Techweek Chicago

Ahead of the annual congregation of entrepreneurs, visionaries, and innovators at Techweek Chicago, we’ll talk with Techweek CEO Katy Lynch about what to expect this year and how the weeklong event has rebounded from last year’s snafu involving controversial party invites.

Analyzing the Advantages of Lake Michigan

Last weekend, the nonpartisan Council of Great Lakes Governors held a summit to discuss how to prevent a repeat of last year’s toxic algae bloom that left more than 400,000 without drinking water. We’ll talk with experts about the summit and the economic and technological advantages that Lake Michigan provides to Chicago. 

Examining the Consequences of a Property Tax Freeze

The political game of chicken between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers got even more heated this week as the two sides went toe-to-toe over the issue of freezing property taxes. Chicago Tonight analyzes the pros and cons of a property tax freeze with experts. 

State Budget Battle Continues

The battle over the state’s budget continues to heat up. We’ll talk with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky about the latest news coming out of the state’s Capitol. 

Former Gov. Jim Edgar on State Stalemate

As Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly continue to battle over the state’s budget, we talk with former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar (1991-1999) about the state’s pension-funding plan he signed into law, how he worked with Democrats in Springfield, and what advice he has for the governor. 

A Different Kind of Comic Convention Hits Town

Credit: Ivan Brunetti

Not all comic books are about spandex and capes. Fans of independent comic books will gather at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, which is also known as CAKE, on June 6 and 7. The comic convention will feature signings from some big names in the industry, such as Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, as well as panel discussions and workshops. 

Principals’ Union President on Dirty Classrooms and Budget Shortfall

It’s literally a mess at Chicago Public Schools, according to the head of Chicago principals’ union. Clarice Berry, president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, joins us to discuss a controversial CPS contract for janitorial services that did not include 22 schools, and some ways the cash-strapped district can save money. 

Budget Battle Rages on in Springfield

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers were unable to agree on a budget plan for the state on Sunday, the deadline for the spring legislative session. Powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan said his chamber plans to be in “continuous session” this summer to address the state’s $6 billion budget shortfall. We’ll talk with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky about the public relations battle between the governor and Democratic leaders.

Psychologist Takes Over As Cook County Jail Director

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, a clinical psychologist, is the new director of the Cook County Jail. She joins us in conversation.

Springfield News with Amanda Vinicky

The showdown between Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan continues as state lawmakers stare down a May 31 deadline to approve a budget plan. On Wednesday, lawmakers will continue to vote on a series of measures that make up the spending plan, backed by Madigan, that’s about $3 billion short. At the same time, lawmakers will hold hearings on items that make up Rauner’s Turnaround Illinois agenda.

Springfield News with Amanda Vinicky

It’s crunch time as state lawmakers have less than a week to pass a budget and close a $6 billion deficit before the end of the current legislative session. We talk with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky about the likelihood of a budget being passed before the Sunday deadline. 

Crisis in the Classroom

Kids are almost out of school for the summer, but some long days are ahead for Chicago Public Schools as it tries to close a more than $1 billion budget deficit, most of which is tied to a $700 million pension payment that is due. On top of that, district officials are negotiating with the Chicago Teachers Union over a new teacher contract. Chicago Tonight talks with CTU President Karen Lewis.

Springfield News with Amanda Vinicky

The May 31 deadline for state lawmakers to approve a budget and solve a $6 billion shortfall is quickly approaching. We talk with Chicago Tonight Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky about what tax hikes and other revenue generators are on the table, what services could be on the chopping block, whether lawmakers will be able to pass a budget before the end of the month, and, if not, how that affects the numerous legislative items on their plate. 

By the Numbers

Questioning Chicago’s Crime Statistics

Chicago magazine digs further into the Chicago Police Department’s homicide numbers a year after the magazine came out with two explosive reports by David Bernstein and Noah Isackson. The reporters detailed a number of incidents in which crimes were reclassified in order to fit the narrative that crime overall was falling in the city. A year later, the duo reports that CPD continues to undercount the city’s murders in New Tricks.

Municipal Bankruptcy in Illinois

Should Cities Have the Option?

Should Chicago declare bankruptcy as its financial challenges grow in light of its credit downgrade to junk status by Moody’s Investors Service? We talk to a panel of experts about whether Mayor Rahm Emanuel should consider the move and what it would mean for city. 

How Does the State’s Pension Crisis Affect Cook County?

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will discuss what last week's Illinois Supreme Court ruling means for her plan to change the county's pension system. 

Civic Federation Says Rauner’s Proposed Budget Is “Unachievable”

“Unachievable.” That's what fiscal watchdog group The Civic Federation calls Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed 2016 fiscal budget in a new report released today. And the report comes a day after Rauner gave an unprecedented speech to the Chicago City Council, saying city officials shouldn't expect a bail out from the state. Tonight we talk with a panel of experts about what this means for the city and the state.

“Newton Minow: An American Story”

Newton Minow may be mostly remembered for his gutsy assessment of the television industry, calling the medium a “vast wasteland” as the fresh-faced, 34-year-old chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in 1961. But in the new documentary, Newton Minow: An American Story, veteran journalist Mike Leonard and local producer Mary Kay Wall examine how Minow’s life has had a far-reaching impact that still reverberates today.

Parks Group Says Lawsuit Still an Option Against Obama Library

The Friends of the Parks says it won’t rule out a lawsuit against the Barack Obama Presidential Library even as Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign a bill aimed at squashing potential legal hurdles for the library and the George Lucas museum.

The New City Council

A new City Council will be sworn in next month, and aldermen are quickly organizing into both new and old coalitions to push their political agendas. But how exactly will this new council take shape? And will it become less of a rubber stamp and more independent from the mayor’s office?

Landmark Illinois Names Most Endangered Historic Places

A state agency charged with preserving landmarks finds itself listed on a list of “most endangered historic places” by another preservation group. The 44-year-old nonprofit Landmarks Illinois unveiled Wednesday its annual list of historic places across the state that are in jeopardy, and it included the state’s Historic Preservation Agency.

Friends of the Parks President to Resign

The city’s parks will have to find a new best friend. The head of Friends of the Parks said Tuesday that she will step down as the 40-year-old nonprofit sues to prevent the construction of the George Lucas museum on the lakefront.