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.

It was a good day to be a Democrat in Illinois as Governor J.B. Pritzker was sworn in on Monday along with a diverse group of statewide office holders. In his inaugural speech, Pritzker set the stage for an ambitious progressive agenda in the upcoming legislative session. But, the Democratic governor along with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly have their work cut out for them.

On his way out of office, Gov. Bruce Rauner is offering a few pointers to the Illinois Republican Party. He also touts what he views as the main achievements of his administration. 

A top Illinois Democrat is stepping down after more than 30 years in the House of Representative to become a lobbyist. Lou Lang was until last year the number three Democrat in the House.

Lang has long worked on marijuana and gambling legislation and is becoming a lobbyist as those are expected to become top issues in the coming year.

“I’m around, I’m not going anywhere and any legislator that needs my help to make something happen that I’ve been working on, I’m more than happy to help them,” he said. 

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield remains closed to the public as the partial federal government shutdown nears its second full week. There are two sites in Illinois affected by the closures -- the other is the Pullman National Monument in Chicago. The National Park Service runs both.  

Illinois coal-fired power plants are allowing hazardous coal ash—a byproduct of coal burning—to seep into groundwater and affecting the quality of future drinking water. That’s according to a recent report, "Cap and Run," released Wednesday by several environmental advocacy groups that included the Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network, Earthjustice, and the Environmental Integrity Project.

The Illinois legislature is considering whether to restrict the use of a cancer-causing gas, currently in use by several Chicago-area facilities.

Democrats dominated in Illinois Tuesday night — easily taking all statewide races on the ballot.  

Illinois lawmakers are trying to gauge whether legalizing sports betting could help the state earn some much-needed revenue.  Experts say the plan has long-term benefits, but only if it’s done right.  

With only three weeks until Election Day, the Illinois State Board of Elections wants to reassure voters their information is safe from cyberattacks. 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the AFSCME union continue to be at odds over raises owed to thousands of state workers.   

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. 

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