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.

Gambling has expanded throughout Illinois as the state struggles to catch up with its budget deficit. The lure of additional revenue brought support from local governments, businesses and unions. But not everyone is a fan, as some argue it takes advantage of the vulnerable among us.

One woman has spent the last two decades fighting against state-sanctioned gambling.

Springfield-area youth left the classroom Friday morning to rally around climate change. They joined an international event known as the Global Climate Strike. 

The Illinois Department of Labor is gearing up to help business owners with the new ‘no salary history’ law, which takes effect Sept. 29. The measure prohibits employers from asking applicants what they made in a previous job. 

Unlike other rural towns in central Illinois, officials in Beardstown say their population is growing. And they want to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census. 

For this week’s Illinois Issues, we look at the challenges to an accurate count and what’s at risk if not everyone participates.

Illinois — and the rest of the country — could soon start seeing more days of extreme heat. That’s according to a report released Tuesday, “Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days”— authored by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

DAISY CONTRERAS / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Illinois groups against cash bond and pretrial detention rallied in Springfield last weekend to call for reform of pretrial practices.  

Margaret Tucker, of Springfield, joined several dozen advocates on a march to the Sangamon County Jail to share her family’s experience with the pretrial system. She said her son spent two years in jail in the 90s because her family could not afford to pay his bond. 

Illinois job seekers might soon avoid disclosing how much money they made in a previous job. 

Illinois’ new infrastructure plan has money set aside to help residents secure affordable housing across the state. This is the first capital plan in 10 years.

The Illinois Pollution Control Board determined an energy company is responsible for contaminating groundwater with coal ash in four Illinois communities. 

Illinoisans will soon pay more for gasoline and cigarettes. Those are just two tax increases needed to pay for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, which includes money from sports betting and additional casinos.

The usual May 31st deadline for the Illinois General Assembly passed last night, but lawmakers are not yet done with their work.

With only four days left in the Illinois legislative session, some lawmakers say they are ready to move forward with a gambling expansion proposal.  But many others have pressing questions about diversity and business opportunities — one of several issues left to be worked out before the end of session May 31. 

NPR ILLINOIS

Recreational pot, construction projects and more — here’s what we know.

Budget

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker introduced his freshman budget this winter, he proposed a range of new or increased taxes. It was intended to let Illinois government hobble through next year’s budget on its way to a graduated income tax.

One year after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states outside of Nevada to set up their own sports betting rules, some experts are offering Illinois lawmakers tips as a final proposal is drafted. 

Some rock and roll star power showed up in the Illinois Statehouse Wednesday to help push for a new casino. 

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The Illinois Senate last week approved increased protections for those who use alternative electric and gas suppliers. 

 

Consumers leave their public utility companies with promises they’ll save a few dollars on their monthly bills. Private suppliers may even offer free electricity in exchange for a contract. 

But state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood, said many end up paying more.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tried to convince business groups Wednesday to accept his graduated income tax plan. 

A group of 16 Illinois organizations and agencies have teamed up to help the monarch butterfly survive. 

Some Illinois lawmakers want more protections for employees who are sexually harassed in private sector jobs. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has agreed to pay raises and money owed to the state’s more than 40,000 child care workers and home aides.  

The Illinois Senate Thursday approved raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. All eyes now turn to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has yet to say where he stands on the idea. 

It's not the first time some Illinois lawmakers are pushing to end the so-called gender pay gap. The House of Representatives approved a measure Wednesday that could be a first step. 

Illinois lawmakers in the House voted Tuesday to raise the age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.  Last year, the proposal made it to the governor’s desk, but then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. Supporters of the change are more optimistic this time.  

 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month laid out his plan for a state budget.  But the Democratic governor is perhaps being too optimistic, counting on proposals for tax revenue sources that still need to be negotiated. One of those is the expansion of gambling and raking in the money from taxing and further regulating it. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his first budget address at a time of acute fiscal distress for the state of Illinois. It also comes after Democrats have taken total control of the executive and legislative branches of state government, including supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.

For this week's Illinois Issues report, NPR Illinois reporters analyzed the governor's speech:

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House approved a $15 minimum wage plan Thursday that now heads to the governor’s desk. But, some are still unhappy with the fast-track approach.

It isn’t the first time a minimum wage measure has passed out of the legislature—a similar plan was approved in 2017 but then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. The difference this time? J.B. Pritzker—a Democrat—is governor. He campaigned on the issue and has indicated he’ll sign it as soon as next week.

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to legalize sports gambling. They’re still negotiating the details - -but a recent analysis shows the state could benefit from allowing the practice—sooner than later. 

Illinois lawmakers are moving quickly to draft a plan for a minimum wage increase. But, there are competing ideas on how to approach it. 

The state of Illinois is trying to give federal workers some financial relief as the partial government shutdown continues into its fifth week.

 

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault Website / Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Illinois’ crisis centers for sexual violence survivors are starting to feel the effects of the partial government shutdown—now in its fourth week. Funding for services will soon stop coming in.

The Justice Department has given organizations until January 18, when it will stop processing funding requests.

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