Stories by Alexandra Silets

Democrats Committed to Remap in May, But Uncommitted on Data to Draw From

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. (WTTW News)

With roughly a month before they plan to complete the weighty task of drawing new maps that will determine the lines of political power for the next decade, Illinois Democrats say they have not determined what data they’ll use. We speak with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle about that and more.

Spotlight Politics: More Lawmakers Turn Against Madigan

4 defendants plead not guilty to ComEd bribery charges

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

The main orchestrators of an alleged bribery scheme targeting Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan officially began fighting the charges on Wednesday.

Trump Not Planning ‘Portland-Style’ Deployment of Federal Agents in Chicago: Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a news conference outside Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot sought to calm fears Tuesday that the president plans to send 150 unidentified, secret federal agents to Chicago, saying she has been told it will not be a “Portland-style” deployment. “We do not welcome dictatorship,” she said. 

Journalists Wage Legal Fights After Facing Protest Attacks

Associated Press videojournalist Robert Bumsted reminds a police officer that the press are considered “essential workers” and are allowed to be on the streets despite a curfew, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo / Wong Maye-E)

Journalists alarmed by dozens of incidents where reporters were shot at, manhandled, gassed or arrested while covering demonstrations touched off by the death of Minnesota man George Floyd are fighting back legally.

Illinois Health Officials Report Hospitalizations Linked to Vaping

(nomz / Pixabay)

Six people in Illinois have reported severe breathing problems after vaping. The Illinois Department of Public Health is now investigating these cases and five others, all reported since just May.   

Mayor Lightfoot ‘Concerned’ About Feasibility of Chicago Casino

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears on “Chicago Tonight” on July 25, 2019.

As part of a wide-ranging discussion on “Chicago Tonight,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she will be seeking public input on possible locations for a Chicago casino.

Van Dyke Prosecutor Joseph McMahon, Attorney General Discussing Sentence Challenge

The lead prosecutor in the Jason Van Dyke murder trial says he’s spoken with the state’s top legal officer about the possibility of challenging the prison sentence handed down to the former Chicago police officer.

How it Works: Illinois’ New Opioid Alternative Pilot Program

In Illinois, medical marijuana can now be used as a painkiller to replace opioids. We hear from a co-sponsor of the new law.

Chicago Could Break its Record for Coldest Temperature

Chicago's lakefront is frozen over Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.  (Tyler LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Wednesday’s forecast shows a daytime high of around 14 degrees below zero, which would beat the city’s all-time coldest high of minus 11. When wind chills are factored in, temperatures could reach minus 35. 

In 14th District, Political Newcomer Underwood Defeats GOP Rep. Hultgren

Lauren Underwood gives her victory speech Tuesday after winning the election for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.  (Evan Garcia / Chicago Tonight)

In a highly watched race in the northwest and western suburbs, Lauren Underwood, a 32-year-old registered nurse, declared victory over incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Plano).

Kwame Raoul Wins Democratic Nomination for Illinois Attorney General

State Sen. Kwame Raoul participates in a Chicago Tonight candidate forum March 12, 2018.

State Sen. Kwame Raoul has won a hard-fought race against a crowded field of eight candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee for Illinois attorney general. He will face political neophyte and former Miss America Erika Harold who won the GOP nomination.

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

For first time since the height of the Cold War, the hands of the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic indicator of how close we are to a global catastrophe, have been moved to 11:58 p.m. This is the closest the clock has been to midnight since 1953.

The Week in Review: Celebrating Joel Weisman

A special hourlong presentation celebrates Joel Weisman’s 40th anniversary as host – and his final appearance at the helm of the show he helped create. “For four decades, Fridays have always been my favorite day of the week,” he says.

NFL Players Kneel, Lock Arms in Unity During National Anthem

(Photo credit: NFL)

If you tuned in to watch any NFL game Sunday, you saw nearly all the football players in the league—and even some owners—join in a silent protest during the national anthem. Sports columnist Rick Telander weighs in on the controversy.

Budget Deal is ‘Top Priority,’ Says Madigan, But is Bargain in Sight?

(Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr)

Lawmakers are in the final weeks before the legislative session ends – is there a “grand bargain” in sight?  

Grad Students Get Green Light to Unionize at Private Universities

On its website, Graduate Students United says it’s been “working since 2007 to improve the lives of graduate students and gain recognition for the work we do.” (Graduate Students United / Facebook)

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board gave graduate students at private universities the go-ahead to form collective bargaining units. What local students and schools impacted by the ruling have to say.

Names Emerge for Next Chicago Police Superintendent

Mayor Names Task Force on Police Accountability

One day after the surprise firing of Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, names of a possible successor are starting to emerge. How will the process work?

City Council to Vote on Minimum Wage Hike

The City Council is poised for a vote on raising the minimum wage this week.

President Touts Immigration Reform in Chicago

President Obama is in town to promote his executive order on immigration. We take a deeper look at how it impacts Chicago.

Net Neutrality: What’s at Stake?

The debate over net neutrality is at the very core of how the internet will develop. We debate the issue with experts on opposing sides.