Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief
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There is plenty of competition for licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois as part of the state’s Cannabis Pilot Program.

College students are back on campus and classes are underway. Parents at some Illinois schools have extra assurance their kids will be safe when they're at school.

Universities and colleges are often ranked, making "best of" lists for one program or the other. 

But only a couple in Illinois have achieved the designation of becoming a "Ready to Respond" campus -- a title given by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency after the school has met criteria, like developing a violence prevention plan and going through training exercises. 

Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

A Sangamon County judge's decision means Illinois voters in November will see three names for each office at the top of the ballot.

  They no longer had to do it through campaign commercials. Gov. Pat Quinn and his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner faced one another in a joint interview before the Chicago Tribune's Editorial Board Tuesday.

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has come out with a set of highly-anticipated rules that could finally lead to hydraulic fracturing in the state.

You may know by now that a question regarding term limits has been knocked off the ballot by the courts, but do you know why? Regardless of the court rulings, don't expect the issue to go away.

Republican nominee for governor Bruce Rauner and his attorneys say they tried to write a proposal that could pass constitutional muster.

Politicians are supposed to apologize when they mess up, but typically that doesn't involve saying "I'm sorry" to cows. That's what Governor Pat Quinn says his opponent's running mate needs to do.

Before Republican Bruce Rauner asked her to be his running mate, attorney Evelyn Sanguinetti had made inquiries about getting a job with the state.

Lee Enterprises newspaper reporter Kurt Erickson uncovered that inquiry; which was made via email, to state employee whom Sanguinetti supposedly went to law school with.

Even though Illinois' general election is months away, a controversial ballot question could be answered by the end of this week. Friday is the deadline for a term limits initiative to make it on the ballot.

Republican's nominee for governor, Bruce Rauner, has made instituting term limits for legislators a central plank of his campaign.

That would require a constitutional amendment. Rauner funded an effort to collected a half million signatures, so that the question could go before voters this fall.

  With summer coming to an end, and the November election getting ever closer, Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois Democrats gathered Wednesday in Springfield, for an annual party meeting and rally. But Thursday, Republicans had their day. The GOP hopes it'll be their year.

There's no "normal" way to get to the area on the Illinois State Fairgrounds where Republicans had their gathering.

Even as states like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin are known as political battlegrounds and bellwethers, Illinois has the reputation for being a solid "blue" state. Illinois sends double as many Democrats to Washington as it does Congressional Republicans. The state legislature tips heavily in favor of Democrats, who hold veto-proof majorities. And it has been more than a decade since a Republican last sat in Illinois' governor's seat.

Enjoy Illinois

More than a dozen historic sites in Illinois will be closed to the public for an extra day each week.

  Amtrak ridership in Illinois has risen in recent years; it's up almost 85 percent from 2006 through last year. That trend developed after the rail service added routes. The train service could grow more in the future.

In 2006, lines branching out from Chicago that went to Carbondale, Quincy and St. Louis added trips.

Wall Street's view of Illinois' financial health has taken a hit, thanks largely to the state budget that took effect at the start of this month. Pensions also continue to be a drag. 

When Illinois Democrats passed the state's latest budget, many seemed to hold their nose. Credit ratings agencies are more direct: Standard & Poors has revised Illinois' credit outlook to "negative." 

Illinois lawmakers hope to have a second shot at reaching a compromise with public employees over pensions, but the unions are pinning their hopes on the court system.

Illinois students could get a day off of school come election day. Schools are often at the heart of a community, metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites.

But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.

Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble.

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