Daisy Contreras

Daisy reports on various assignments for NPR Illinois. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues. Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter. She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.

In the wake of the #metoo movement and the spotlight on assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, more states — including Illinois — are rethinking how sex education should be taught in public schools. 
 

The Illinois Capitol breathed a sigh of relief this summer when Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature agreed on a state budget. But most Illinois voters say they’re not sure the deal will solve the state’s $1.2 billion deficit and other fiscal woes. That’s according to a new survey of registered voters conducted by AARP Illinois.

Illinois roads and bridges are in major disrepair. But after a two-year budget impasse and a backlog of bills that the state is struggling to cover, infrastructure continues to take a backseat. This year, advocates and lawmakers plan to change that.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a plan last week that would bar employers from asking about salary history. Now, some lawmakers say these actions could impact the governor’s race in which Rauner is vying for a second term.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek re-election after over 15 years in office drew a plethora of candidates to the ballot. The last three standing, Republican nominee Erika Harold, Democratic candidate Kwame Raoul and Libertarian Bubba Harsy, continue to battle it out with just nine weeks until the general election.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

At a bill signing event in Springfield, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner continued to say House Speaker Michael Madigan should be prosecuted. 

Last week the governor said he would help fund the campaign of Republican attorney general nominee Erika Harold, hoping she could prosecute Madigan. But, for days, the Republican governor has not said what he thinks Madigan has done wrong. 

That's until now – sort of. 

Advocates say increasing access to hormonal contraceptives could help reduce unplanned pregnancies. One legislative proposal considered earlier this year aims to do just that by allowing patients to skip a physician's visit and head straight to a pharmacist. But it is having trouble catching on in Illinois.

With temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s over the next few days  -- and the heat index even higher, road buckling could become a problem for some Illinois motorists. 

The man at the center of the case of public sector unions and fair share fees is a state employee from Springfield.  Mark Janus took his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court and on Wednesday, he was victorious.  The decision means non-union members won't have to pay those fees to cover activities like collective bargaining. 

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

As news has centered on the plight of hundreds of families who have been separated while trying to enter the US through Mexico, concern has been raised over the ultimate destiny of about 1,500 children being held in detention centers and shelters. There are at least 66 of those children in Chicago, according to Heartland Alliance, a non-profit with nine shelters for unaccompanied minors there.

Illinois Senate Democrats

After a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered years of sexual abuse in the city’s public schools, Illinois lawmakers are calling on school officials for answers. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning in Chicago.

The investigation found instances where administrators did not report the abuse to the proper authorities, even after some of the students came forward. In other cases, the alleged abusers remained employed while the misconduct persisted.

After a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered years of sexual abuse in the city’s public schools, Illinois lawmakers are calling on school officials for answers. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning in Chicago.

A team of Chicago Tribune reporters looked into cases of sexual misconduct in the city's public schools spanning a decade. Their series 'Betrayed' tells the stories of students abused by educators or other school employees. We talked to David Jackson — one of the reporters involved — about what they uncovered. 

The debate continues over whether Illinois’ law allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions violates the state constitution. A trial judge dismissed the case last year but anti-abortion advocates are fighting back.  

A prominent state legislator, who led efforts in the Illinois House to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, has stepped down from his leadership post after being accused of bullying and intimidation. 

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a plan aimed at making sure people in jails can exercise their right to vote.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said he will cooperate with a special investigation over claims he used intimidation to pressure state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) to quit her part-time job with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office. Cassidy alleges Madigan retaliated after she criticized him over his handling of sexual harassment cases within his office earlier this year.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

An Illinois House committee Monday discussed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reinstate the death penalty for mass shooters and for those who murder police officers. The proposal is part of a broader public safety plan put forth in an amendatory veto.  

After weeks of feuding within the Illinois Republican Party an unusual agreement has been reached with hopes of bridging the divide.

After Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a proposal to license gun dealers, several legislators are suggesting a new, bipartisan approach in hopes of getting his support.

Rauner previously said he found the measure too burdensome for small gun shop owners. Other opponents, like Republican state Sen. Chris Nybo of Elmhurst, said they thought the process was too bureaucratic. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois gubernatorial candidates will soon receive a written pledge in the mail asking them to support the new law expanding abortion coverage — and oppose any push to repeal it.

After Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law providing abortion coverage under state health insurance and Medicaid, some — like state Rep. Jeanne Ives who ran against him on the GOP ticket in the primary — said it showed Rauner’s position on the issue is too liberal. According to Ives, the governor's decision encouraged her to run as his opponent. 

"Coins" by Flickr User Tax Credits / (CC x 2.0)

The Civic Federation, a Chicago-based fiscal watchdog group Wednesday said Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal is unrealistic and relies on money that may never come through. The group’s report calls it “precariously balanced."

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

With time against them, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and top leaders met again Tuesday morning to talk about adopting a budget before next month. But – there is some disagreement between leaders about just how helpful these meetings have been.

Republican leaders say they’d like for Democrats to speed up their negotiations and offer a revenue estimate. They say without one, budget negotiators are left in the dark about how much money there is to spend and can’t continue with helpful discussions.

Illinois lawmakers want to prevent a shooting similar to the one that happened in Las Vegas last year. A proposal, approved by the Senate, addresses security concerns around large-scale events.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they sometimes are
awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

"Blackhoe 3" by Flickr User Alexandr Trubetskoy / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan intended to create more construction jobs.

 

The so-called Blue Collar Jobs Act would award tax credits to companies that put up new buildings or improve existing structures. The idea is to tap into the local workforce.

 

State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) says factories left behind by companies like Caterpillar could be upgraded and reused.

 

Flickr User Nate Grigg

Illinois lawmakers are pushing to expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to fill orders without consulting a doctor. 

The measure would allow pharmacists to dispense hormonal birth control after undergoing training. Advocates say this will remove the extra step of making doctor appointments just to refill a prescription.

State of Illinois

As the state works toward a budget for the next year, some lawmakers say they need a target for how much money is available.

Andrew Villegas/WFYI

A proposal to allow the temporary use of cannabis instead of opioids for pain management was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.

In response to the deadly Waffle House shooting in Nashville, one Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure firearms stay with those who can legally carry them.

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