Stories by Amanda Vinicky

3 New Laws to Know in 2021

(Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons)

The new year usually brings with it hundreds of new laws in Illinois. But like everything else in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic has changed that up, too. On Jan. 1, 2021, only a trio of new laws will take effect.

Health Officials Urge Residents to ‘Spread Joy, Not COVID’ Amid Vaccine Excitement

US Surgeon General Pays a Visit to Chicago

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at a press briefing on the coronavirus with Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. (WTTW News)

Just days before Christmas, a trio of high-profile doctors, including U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, made a plea for people to follow public health measures designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, even as two vaccines are being distributed across the U.S.

All Police Officers Involved in Mistaken Raid Placed on Desk Duty: Lightfoot

A still image from a Chicago Police Department body camera video shows a police raid at the home of Anjanette Young in February 2019. (WTTW News via Ja’Mal Green)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that all of the officers involved in the February 2019 raid that left a Chicago woman handcuffed and naked have been placed on desk duty.

High Court Front-Runner Hailed By Right, Feared By Left

Amy Coney Barrett (WTTW News via CNN)

Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic, is a federal appellate judge in Chicago who has established herself as a reliable conservative on hot-button legal issues from abortion to gun control. 

Unrest in Kenosha: A Live ‘Chicago Tonight’ Report

Kenosha residents and activists Brian Little and Diamond Hartwell speak with WTTW News on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (WTTW News)

Protesters have returned to the streets of Kenosha every day since a police officer shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times. We visit the city to speak with residents and officials about the shooting and unrest that’s followed.

An Exit Interview with Senate President John Cullerton

Outgoing Illinois Senate President John Cullerton appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Jan. 13, 2020. (WTTW News)

After 41 years in public service, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is stepping down. He reflects on recent headlines, his life in politics and what’s next.

Lightfoot Fires Top Cop Eddie Johnson for ‘Intolerable Actions’

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces his retirement during a press conference at police headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Less than a month later, Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Johnson during a surprise announcement on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot makes a bombshell announcement: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is terminated, effective immediately. Lightfoot says an inspector general’s investigation revealed Johnson “repeatedly lied” to both the mayor and the public.

Should Chicago Increase Its Minimum Wage to $15 by 2021?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, workers in food preparation and serving-related occupations made up the bulk of workers earning minimum wage or less in 2013, the Pew Research Center reports. (delo / Pixabay)

At a City Council hearing on Tuesday, committee members discussed a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021. Activists say it’s long overdue. But could it hurt small businesses? We debate the issue.

Chicago Casino Study: Taxes Too High to Be Profitable

(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

An onerous tax structure would virtually kill any chance that a Chicago casino operator could make a profit, despite an ability to make massive amounts of money, according to a newly released feasibility study.

Pritzker Signs Bill Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

Gov. J.B. Pritzker takes in the applause before signing a bill that legalizes adult-use cannabis in the state of Illinois at Sankofa Cultural Arts and Business Center in Chicago. (AP Photo / Amr Alfiky)

With the swipe of a pen – several of them, actually – Gov. J.B. Pritzker made it official Tuesday: Illinois will become the 11th state where smoking or otherwise using weed is legal.

FBI Raids 34th Ward Office of Ald. Carrie Austin

A file photo shows 34th Ward Ald. Carrie Austin (WTTW News)

Federal agents have executed a search warrant at the South Side ward office of Chicago Ald. Carrie Austin. A source close to the matter says Austin has been under federal investigation for several years.

Ald. Moreno Charged with Insurance Fraud, Obstruction of Justice

(Alderman Joe Moreno 1st Ward / Facebook)

Chicago police on Wednesday charged 1st Ward Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno with four felony counts after he allegedly lied to police and his insurance agency in January claiming his car had been stolen.

Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against Jussie Smollett

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday March 26, 2019, after prosecutors dropped all charges against him. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett exited the Leighton Criminal Court Building a free man Tuesday morning after prosecutors unexpectedly dropped felony charges against him in a case that’s garnered national headlines for months.

Spotlight Politics: Mayoral Money Machine Revs Up

Bill Daley gets a major endorsement for mayor while hauling in big bucks. Carol Marin, Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky have details on that story and more in this week’s political roundtable.

Spotlight Politics: More Stories of Aldermen Behaving Badly

Chicago aldermen are caught up in some questionable or unscrupulous behavior, as the campaign for mayor gets down and dirty. Carol Marin, Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky have details in this week’s roundtable.

Spotlight Politics: Bombshell Solis Revelations Roil City Politics

Ald. Danny Solis (WTTW News file photo)

Shocking news from City Hall as the scandal touches the statehouse. Political reporters Carol Marin, Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky dive into the story in this week’s roundtable.

Ald. Ed Burke Charged with Attempted Extortion

Ald. Ed Burke, 75, walks into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Federal agents raided longtime Chicago Ald. Ed Burke’s ward and government offices Nov. 29, and for the first time there’s insight as to what they were looking for: evidence of an extortion scheme.

Bill Daley Unveils Partial 2017 Tax Returns

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House chief of staff Bill Daley appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Sept. 17, 2018.

The Daley campaign provided “Chicago Tonight” the cover sheets for his 2017 federal income 1040 form. They show that Bill Daley paid an effective tax rate of 37 percent on adjusted gross income of just over $2.5 million.

FBI Raids Offices of 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward. (Chicago Tonight file photo)

The FBI executed search warrants Thursday at both the ward office and City Council office of powerful Ald. Ed Burke, City Council’s longest serving member. What Burke had to say about the day’s events.

Pritzker Campaign Staffers Allege Racial Discrimination

Ten minority staffers working for J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign have filed suit in federal court for racial discrimination and harassment, alleging they were subject to less favorable treatment than their white counterparts.

State Budget Passes. Now What?

The new state budget includes significant cuts and a higher income tax. So now what? We address some lingering questions about the fiscal health of the state—and the city.

Rauner Calls Trump Immigration Ban ‘Overly Broad,’ ‘Rash’

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday criticized President Trump’s executive order and discussed ongoing issues with Chicago Public Schools and education funding during an interview on WBEZ.

Budget ‘Grand Bargain’ Shaping Up in Springfield

The Illinois State Capitol (Meagan Davis / Wikimedia Commons). Inset: Senate President John Cullerton, Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

After nearly two years of budget gridlock, spiraling deficits and political acrimony in Springfield, a grand bargain on the budget is coming together in the Illinois Senate.