Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Statehouse Bureau Chief

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School Closings for Election Day
11:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

No School For Kids On Election Day

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 5:26 pm

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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Concealed Carry Appeals
11:56 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Attorney General Wants To Send Concealed Carry Cases Out Of Court

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 12:07 am

Illinois gun owners who've been denied a concealed carry permit can appeal. But instead of going through the courts, Illinois' Attorney General wants a state panel to decide those cases.

There are about 200 concealed carry denials before Illinois courts, brought by people who say they shouldn't have been deemed dangerous or a threat to public safety by Illinois' Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.

Until recently, applicants didn't actually know why they were rejected.

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NPR Story
8:17 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Supreme Court Won't Take Up Term Limits

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:22 pm

  An effort to institute term limits in Illinois has hit a major road block. The state Supreme Court says it will not rush to hear the case.

 The Supreme Court's decision could be the end of Republican Bruce Rauner's term limits initiative.

Limiting how long legislators can be in Illinois' General Assembly has been a staple of his campaign for governor.

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Quinn's anti-violence program
11:49 am
Wed July 16, 2014

How The NRI Hearing Could Play Out For Quinn's Campaign

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:36 am

Governor Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program will be in the spotlight today (7/16) when a bipartisan legislative commission meets in Chicago.  

It's not yet clear how lawmakers will proceed, given that the federal government wants them to put a hold on their investigation until mid-October, just before the November election, when Quinn will face Republican Bruce Rauner.

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown says that's what Quinn's campaign wants.

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Concealed Carry
10:40 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Applicants Denied Concealed Carry Licenses Will Learn Why Under New Emergency Rules

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:47 am

  A year after Illinois legalized concealed carry, new rules are out to determine the process for deciding who can't carry a gun in public. The Illinois State Police issued the emergency rules Monday 7/14 afternoon.

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Governor's Race
11:47 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Republican Bruce Rauner Defends His Personal Tax Bill

Bruce Rauner

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 9:52 am

Bruce Rauner -- the Republican nominee for Illinois governor -- says he followed the letter of the law when filing his taxes.  But he won't say whether it was fair.

Rauner, a businessman, has said his wealth puts him in the top .01%.

Even so, a Chicago Tribune analysis showed that in several recent years, he paid no Social Security or Medicare taxes.

Rauner has released limited parts of his tax returns.

It's believed he took advantage of I-R-S rules to legally cut his tax burden.

Rauner defended that ...

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NPR Story
12:49 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Tensions Rise With Waters Over Flood Expense

There's an irony to the arch on the entranceway of Clarksville's park, which reads "Touch the Mississippi." Normally, that requires stooping down; now the river laps up a main downtown drag, and comes to you.

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 11:07 am

Heavy rains have led to flooding all across the Midwest in recent days: in Iowa, Illinois, and in the small town of Clarksville, Missouri, which sits on the Mississippi River. That river is expected to reach its crest there Wednesday, and residents hope the walls they’ve built to keep out the water will hold. Especially because this time, they had to build those walls themselves.

Ask a Clarksville resident how long they’ve lived there, and the answer is usually given in the context of a flood.

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Fiscal Year 2015
6:57 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

New Illinois Budget Signed Into Law

Governor Quinn criticized legislators for not doing their jobs, yet he left their spending plan largely untouched.
Credit Rich Egger

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made a bit of a change to the state budget that goes into effect Tuesday—a change meant to play well with voters.

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Illinois Budget
9:43 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Deadline For Quinn To Take Budget Action

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:50 am

  It's the last day of the fiscal year for the State of Illinois, which means the pressure is on for Gov. Pat Quinn to sign a new budget into law.

There's nothing on the governor's public schedule for today, but that doesn't mean he won't be busy making official the spending plan passed by his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly.

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Ballot Initiatives
5:29 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Rauner's Discarded Term Limit Initiative Mirrors Quinn's 1994 Effort

Then-Treasurer Pat Quinn had a term limit petition of his own in the early 1990s. But in summer 1994, much like Rauner's term limit petition, it was found unconstitutional.

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:53 pm

Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, disagree about plenty -- everything from gun rights and restrictions, to what Illinois' income tax should be. But with Friday's ruling by a Cook County judge knocking a term limits initiative off the ballot, the candidates have something in common.

Though there has been a lot of turnover in the General Assembly in recent years, some politicians have been serving in Springfield for decades.

Chief among them House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been a state representative since 1971.

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