Amanda Vinicky

Statehouse Bureau Chief/ The Players Blog

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. 

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.

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.


Illinois law gives political candidates five days to report campaign contributions of $1,000 or more, but it's been weeks since Gov. Bruce Rauner gave Republican lawmakers four times that, and some still haven't told the state. But they aren't breaking the law.

It was May 11 when Rauner's campaign spread $400,000 among Republican senators and representatives, but you wouldn't know that from looking at state election records. Many legislators still haven't disclosed the money.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Your favorite TV show might be interrupted with a pointed message purchased by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, though  the governor is refusing to say whether he's going to buy TV time to promote his agenda as he battles with the legislature's Democratic leaders.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois' legislative session was supposed to be over by now. The schedule published months ago marked Sunday, May 31st as the adjournment date. Legislators typically don't return to Springfield until the fall. Instead, members of the General Assembly will be back beginning Thursday for a "continuous" summer session.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he and Democratic legislators have until midnight Sunday to reach a deal on both the state budget and his pro-business agenda. That's when the General Assembly is scheduled to leave town for the summer.

The current situation at the Illinois Statehouse as lawmakers and the Governor enter the scheduled closing weekend of the legislative session.  Rick Pearson of The Chicago Tribune joins the panel this week.

Parts of Illinois Democrats' $36 billion budget have now been approved by the General Assembly. But that doesn't mean they're going to the governor - at least not yet.

Think back civics class. You know the drill: in order for a bill to become a law, it has to first pass the legislature, and then be signed by the executive branch.

The first part is getting done - by Democrats, who control Illinois' General Assembly.

A new plan to expand gambling in Illinois is emerging, but it could get caught up in a larger battle. Details are expected to surface on Thursday.

Illinois would get five new casinos under Sen. Terry Link's latest proposal. They'd go to Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County and the south suburbs. It could also add so-called "satellite" casinos in places like Decatur.

As with previous proposals, horse race tracks would be able to get slot machines.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's office appears to be preparing in case there's a strike. The state's contract with its largest public employees' union, AFSCME, expires on June 30, when the state's fiscal year ends.

Amanda Vinicky

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a plan that seeks to curb the abuse of heroin and painkilling drugs.

Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Heavyweights from each of Illinois' public universities gathered for a rare meeting at the state Capitol yesterday.

It's thought to be the first time leaders from all nine state schools have collectively met with the governor's office and the leaders in the General Assembly.