Amanda Vinicky

Statehouse Bureau Chief/ The Players Blog

217-206-6019

Read Amanda's "The Players" blog.

Amanda Vinicky has covered Illinois politics and government for WUIS and the Illinois Public Radio network since 2006.  Highlights include reporting on the historic impeachment and removal from office of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, winning a national award for her coverage of Illinois' electric rate fight as a result of deregulation, and following Illinois' delegations to the Democratic and Republican national political conventions in '08 and '12.  

Though she's full-time with WUIS now, she previously interned with the station in graduate school; she graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting program in '05.  She also holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

Amanda is insatiably curious, so please reach out to her and get in touch if you notice something interesting going on at the Capitol! She can be reached at (217) 206-6019 or (773) 217-0316. If she's not in the statehouse bureau, you can usually find Amanda tweeting, dining at a local restaurant, taking a jog around Springfield or Chicago or practicing yoga. 

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Brian Mackey/WUIS

Even if Illinois lawmakers and the governor can't reach a budget deal by Wednesday, state employees have another two weeks before they really need to worry about being paid. That's when their first paychecks of the new fiscal year are set to be issued.  But there's confusion over whether they'll get money after that point, or not.

An email sent by Gov. Rauner takes a reassuring tone.

"State employees will be paid for their work --- and I will do everything within my power to ensure you don’t miss a single payroll," he writes.

But will the money come through?

It's the budget deadline day in Illinois. If a meeting yesterday between Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders is any indication, they're not going to make it.

It's seemingly been weeks since Rauner, a Republican, meet with all four of the legislative leaders. Since what's believed to have been the last time they were all together, the governor began airing ads that attack Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. The state has also gotten a lot closer to a partial shutdown since then. They all got together yesterday.

Illinois State Capitol Dome in clouds
Brian Mackey / WUIS - Illinois Issues

Illinois legislators will return to Springfield Tuesday, leaving them one last day to get a budget deal in order. This year's spending plan expires at midnight on June 30. Not only is there no long-term agreement, there's no sign of a provisional one either.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois begins the fiscal year without a new budget. Governor Bruce Rauner revised his plan. He's now offering Chicago and other municipalities some pension relief.

State Week: Countdown To (Fiscal) New Year

Jun 26, 2015

The week began with a complete budget proposal — albeit billions out of balance — awaiting action by the governor. It ended with a near-total veto. Only money for pre-school, elementary and secondary education was spared the knife. But could that actually worsen the state bidget standoff?

WUIS/Lisa Ryan

Tuesday is "deadline day" for state government.  But one deadline is being given a month-long extension.

June 30th is the final day of the fiscal year; after which, the current budget expires. It's also the final day of the state's contract with its largest public employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois is without a spending plan, with less than a week until the new fiscal year begins. Democrats in the General Assembly approved one, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed nearly the whole thing Thursday.


Kevin Wong/flickr

Illinois schools will be able to open on time this fall, despite an ongoing budget stalemate at the statehouse.

Schools not having the money to operate had been a worry, given Gov. Bruce Rauner's condemnation of the spending plan passed by Democratic legislators.

It isn't anymore.

WUIS

Legislators' return to Springfield Wednesday failed to result in real movement toward a state budget agreement, with just one week remaining before the state loses its spending authority.

To hear House Speaker Michael Madigan tell it, Democrats are trying.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has given five conditions that must be met before he'll consider a tax hike that could balance the budget. 

 Democrats are accusing Governor Bruce Rauner of "dodging" questions about how much his top staff are making. Just how much Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is costing taxpayers was supposed to be the subject of a hearing, called by House Revenue Chairman John Bradley.

But when he asked repeatedly "is there anyone from the governor's office here to testify?" there was silence.

No one from the governor's office showed. That's a breach of legislative decorum that's virtually unheard of.

The finished product uses shades of green, blue, rose and peach that match the marble throughout the Capitol.
Bethany Carson / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The Illinois General Assembly doesn't typically meet during the summer. But legislators are back for another one-day session today.

A Springfield native is the subject of not one, but two, proposed House resolutions. Both seek to honor basketball star Andre Iguodala, who helped the Golden State Warriors win the championship title.

Giorgio Niro / UIS Alumni magazine

Every day brings news about the Middle East, and its complex political, religious and economic systems.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois leaders aren't in agreement on a new state budget, even as the current one nears its July expiration date. Democrats passed their own version, but Governor Bruce Rauner can't act on most of it yet, even if he wants to.

Governor Bruce Rauner launches a long-anticipated fusillade of TV ads targeting House Speaker Michael Madigan.  Mike Riopell of the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald joins the panel this week.

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' new Republican governor and the Democrats who lead the General Assembly are deadlocked over the right path for the state.

Gov. Rauner is pushing an agenda that’s both pro-business and anti-union. He says only once that’s passed will he consider raising taxes to stave off deep budget cuts. 

But Democrats say his plans would hurt the state and that the focus needs to be on the budget.

Amanda Vinicky

State legislators are back in Springfield today, and a budget impasse means they have serious issues to deal with, but they spent a brief time getting into the bipartisan spirit of celebrating an Illinois victory, the Blackhawks's win last night. 

State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, led the Illinois House in a quick cheer. "We would like to congratulate the 2015 Stanley Cup champions."

Other legislators joined in to sing the chorus of "Chelsea Dagger," the tune the Blackhawks play when a goal is scored. 

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois' next statewide election isn't until March and even then it'll be another two years before Governor Bruce Rauner has to run again. But already, he's airing commercials. They hit TV screens Tuesday morning.       

On one of his first days as Governor, Rauner said he'd use his wealth to directly reach Illinois voters.

 

youtube.com

Over the last several days, talk has circulated that the uber-rich Illinois GOP Governor Bruce Rauner will be using his resources to take his ongoing message of "shaking up Springfield" to the airwaves. Not through interviews with media, but by buying ad time and creating commercials to promote his ideas for crafting a budget. 

Amanda Vinicky

The end of the month, and therefore the end of Illinois' fiscal year, gets closer every day. With no budget deal in place, Illinois' General Assembly will return tomorrow.

The Democrats who control the legislature have already approved a spending plan, but that's on hold. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner says he won't go along with the out-of-balance budget; he'll only discuss the tax hikes required to help fund it if his pro-business agenda is passed.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Federal records show that Illinois television stations will begin to air ads tomorrow, paid for by Governor Bruce Rauner's political action committee.

When the depths of the dispute between Republican Gov. Rauner and the General Assembly's Democratic leaders really became public at the end of last month, Senate President John Cullerton said the governor had warned a media blitz was on the way.

Amanda Vinicky

An Illinois Republican Party elder statesman is endorsing State Senator Darin LaHood's bid for U.S. Congress.

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says he's known LaHood for 20 years, "and I can't think of anyone that would be better qualified to serve this Congressional district; and by this Congressional district, he'll be my Congressman."

"He is a very thoughtful, no-nonsense young man," he says.

LaHood is one of three G-O-P candidates vying for the 18th Congressional seat vacated by Peoria's Aaron Schock following an ethics scandal.

Millenium Entertainment

 The Humane Society is trying to use star power to protect Illinois bobcats. But will it work?

Ever seen Iron Man 2? The HBO show The Newsroom? Excited about the X-Men: Apocalypse movie that's filming?

Each of them star Olivia Munn. She's also the girlfriend of Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Apparently her interest in the Midwest crosses the Wisconsin/Illinois border.

Bruce Rauner at Illinois Chamber forum.
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Another swath of programs could get the axe. Governor Bruce Rauner this afternoon released a second round of cuts given the uncertainty over a new state budget. There's no deal, with the new fiscal year beginning July first.

At the start of this month, Rauner - a Republican - announced that he's closing a downstate prison workcamp, the State Museum in Springfield, and cutting off funding of a program that helps low-income people pay their electric bills.

That list has grown.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

The war of words continues between Governor Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Legislature and they seem to be no closer to an agreement on a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year - which leaves Illinois facing a possible government shutdown on July 1st.  Doug Finke of Gatehouse News joins the panel this week.

Lisa Ryan

Illinois lawmakers have a couple of weeks left to reach a resolution on the state budget. If they don't get it done by the end of June, the comptroller has warned that she'll no longer have authority to pay the state's bills.

Leslie Munger at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, says she will have to stop nearly all state payments if a budget impasse remains unresolved by the end of this month, when the fiscal year ends.

Amanda Vinicky

Lawmakers' actions in Springfield today made evident there has been no thaw in state politicians' stances on a property tax freeze. It's one of various stalemates holding up a budget deal even as Illinois is weeks away from a potential government shutdown.

Gov. Bruce Rauner campaigned on lowering local property taxes; more recently the Republican has said a freeze must come before he'll negotiate to bridge a 3-billion dollar gap in Democrats' spending plan.

Aaron Schock
Aaron Schock / Instagram

Former Peoria Republican Congressman Aaron Schock's fall from political grace set in motion an unexpected special election, and that has unexpected consequences for county clerks.

On July 7, primary voters in the 18th Congressional district will get their first crack at choosing who'll represent them in D.C., following Aaron Schock's resignation.

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Illinois leaders have another month to settle on a new budget plan, but given their failure to reach a deal by Sunday's initial deadline, Gov. Bruce Rauner says he must take immediate steps to manage state spending.

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