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.

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.

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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.

The measure would make it easier for some in jail to vote. The proposal also aims to educate those that have been through the criminal system about their voting rights.  

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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Last month, the state's voters decided on the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor. But with the primaries behind them, the winners still have to convince those who wanted someone else at the top of the ticket.

Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner probably thought he didn't need to worry about his only Republican opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, during the primary campaign. In the past, he'd called her a "fringe candidate" and decided to forgo campaigning against her until just a few weeks before election day.

Daisy Contreras/NPR Illinois

Lawmakers are urging the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to be more transparent with the public.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said in a press conference Tuesday the agency withheld reports on incidents of child abuse over the last few months. She says the agency took down the data from its website last July — a first after 35 years. “I’m certainly hoping this isn’t secrecy and trying to shroud facts about what’s going on with children," she said. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday took a step closer to establishing state net neutrality rules before the federal regulations expire later this month. The Illinois proposal advanced out of a House committee and will be discussed by the General Assembly. But — there’s still confusion about consumer protections and the legality of the legislation.

Cable and internet service providers say they have already pledged their support for net neutrality — and the General Assembly getting involved is unnecessary.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois House Republicans introduced a resolution Tuesday opposing a progressive income tax — even though Democrats in the General Assembly haven’t been actively pursuing it.

The resolution doesn’t carry much weight — it’s not legislation — but it is part of a coordinated set of talking points used by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

"connecteurs" by Flickr User Pan Ant / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois is joining several states scrambling to keep net neutrality protections before the federal repeal date of April 23.  Some Illinois legislators say they still have time to act with a plan before that deadline.

"Chain Of Rocks Bridge" by Flickr User Chris Yunker / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois needs more money to cover its deteriorating transportation systems, but the federal government’s new infrastructure plan doesn’t offer much.

A recent report estimates the state will need close to $4.6 billion per year to bring roadways, bridges and transit systems up to working condition. One proposed solution: Illinois motorists and users of public transportation may have to shoulder the expenses. 

After Illinois was targeted by Russian hackers prior to the 2016 elections and voter information leaked, securing future data has become a priority.  The state may now look to emerging technology for one possible solution.       

Mayo Clinic News Network

Makers of generic pharmaceuticals are pushing back against an attempt to regulate prices in the industry.

A measure would allow the Illinois attorney general to investigate if a price increase goes above a certain level. Companies can avoid penalties if they can show the hike is because of increased manufacturing costs. 

State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) says drug prices are often left unregulated because insurance covers the costs. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Several gun-related proposals passed an Illinois House committee hearing Tuesday. 

Gun control supporters in attendance included members of the Chicago Police Department, who stood behind the so-called "Paul Bauer Act" —  drafted in memory of the Chicago police commander killed by a man wearing body armor. The measure would prohibit its use and set a limit on high-capacity ammunition devices.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told lawmakers it’s up to them to prevent similar tragedies going forward.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Following the Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead, Democrats in the Illinois House plan to take up a package of gun safety measures this week.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as head of the Democratic Party at least temporarily, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

The speaker fired Kevin Quinn earlier this week after Madigan’s lawyer spent three months investigating accusations that Quinn harassed a campaign staffer.     

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Illinois is joining 35 other states this year attempting to give divorced couples equal parenting time. The issue is stirring debate among family law attorneys, mental health professionals, parents and others.  

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner has begun airing TV ads attacking his Republican primary opponent — state Representative Jeanne Ives. This is a departure from his previous campaign strategy.

Until now, Rauner has dismissed the Wheaton Republican as a “fringe candidate.”

FLICKR USER LEE BENNETT / (CC x 2.0)

The Illinois legislature will soon discuss if good Samaritans should be allowed to rescue kids and pets left inside hot vehicles. The plan would decriminalize breaking windows or opening locked doors when the temperature makes it a potentially deadly situation.

Lauren and Scott Knudsen

Many research labs across the country use animals for testing products such as make-up or medicines. For the past decade, advocates have pushed to get more of these animals — especially research dogs — adopted after they are no longer needed. Just a handful of states have policies in place. Illinois just recently joined that list.

Lucy is a three-year-old beagle who grew up in a research laboratory. Last year, she was rescued by the California-based organization the Beagle Freedom Project who paired her up with Lauren and Scott Knudsen of Winnetka, Illinois.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Legionella bacteria, which has created problems for an Illinois veterans home in Quincy, might be present at the State Capitol Complex. Initial water tests from a burst pipe showed the presence of Legionella DNA. But until additional test results come out, state officials are saying it’s safe for employees and visitors to continue their daily routine.

Flickr user DNAK / (CC x 2.0)

Advocates across Illinois are calling on the state to change the way it handles young people who’ve committed serious crimes. They want to end the use of large prison facilities.

The alternative is to place youth into smaller community settings, where support can be focused on their educational and mental health needs.

Blind parents in Illinois are guaranteed certain rights under new state guidelines.

Deborah Kent Stein is with the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. She says this will help clarify the protections already outlined under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which says that a disability cannot be used as the only factor to determine parenting capabilities.

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