Daisy Contreras

Reporter

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.

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Workers in the temporary labor industry have gained new protections after years rallying around worker's rights. These changes will impact the state's current regulations, which have remained the same for several years.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, allowing for the expansion of public funding for abortions.  Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to revisit Rauner's challenge to public sector union "fair share" fees.  UIS Professor Emeritus Kent Redfield and WTTW's Amanda Vinicky join the panel, which includes Sean Crawford and Daisy Contreras.

Illinois draws about 512, 000 hunters every year. Now a group is promoting how that number impacts Illinois' economy. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The bill puts Rauner in a tricky position as he prepares to seek re-election--one where a veto would anger those who favor abortion rights, while signing it could alienate conservatives who are opposed. 

Yuri Samoilov / Flickr

Time is running out on Governor Bruce Rauner to act on a bill that would change the way websites track a user's location and how they store that data. 

Shereen Marisol Meraji / NPR

Seventy years ago a California lawsuit started by five Mexican-American families, helped pave the way for the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education.  That court decision led to the desegregation of schools across the country. Sylvia Mendez, the oldest daughter of the Mendez family—one of the families in the lawsuit— has spent the last twenty years sharing her family’s lesser known story. 

As of this month – Illinois is required to have updated signage for emergency situations at rail-road crossings. People can call the number on these standardized blue signs to report track obstructions or other safety issues at specific locations. If a crossing gate is malfunctioning, for example, railroad authorities need to know. 

Lincoln Land Community College

Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield is addressing the issue of African American male underrepresentation in the workforce. The college launched the Open Door Mentorship Program a year ago, which has so far helped 25 male students get a head start in gaining professional experience.

Craft Brew glasses on tasting board
theNerdPatrol / Flickr

Several breweries from across the state will compete during a new attraction at this year's Illinois State Fair. 

Amanda Vinicky

We talked to leaders at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and The Civic Federation to learn about their insights on the state's first spending plan in more than two years.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Over 50 people rallied in Springfield Tuesday night to protest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Signs had phrases like "Stop Repeal" and "Healthcare is a Human Right." On Tuesday, a close vote in the U.S. Senate led to the first potential legislative steps in dismantling the law.

The rally was one of several taking place across the state. Organizers say they will continue efforts to draw attention to the proposed changes by telling the stories of those impacted. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

After the first day of a special session on education, Democratic lawmakers and the Republican Governor Bruce Rauner appear no closer to resolving the dispute that could hold up money for school districts. Rauner continues to demand Democrats send him the funding plan so he can change it and remove additional money for Chicago teacher pensions.

IRS-1040 tax form header
flickr:401(k)2012

A tax increase is not the only change coming for some Illinois residents as the new budget package is rolled out.  

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns.

For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

Heather Steans
file / Office of Sen. Heather Steans

Illinois lawmakers and the governor have spent the past several days ratcheting up their calls for compromise to end the budget impasse.   

Sean Tenner

In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order for a 10-day special session, the General Assembly  returned to Springfield this week to focus on crafting a budget. Three weeks ago, legislators tried to beat the end of the official spring legislative session and worked to pass measures ranging from women’s and LGBT rights, farmer’s market concerns and issues related to women in prison. Many of these bills were approved by both chambers, and are waiting to be sent to the governor.

CL DESIGN LLC / Maribis

The state’s medical cannabis pilot program  has three more years before it is set to expire. Despite the looming deadline, dispensaries continue to open across the state, offering treatment alternatives to patients with cancer, PTSD, Lupus—and many other health conditions.

Kendall Coyne

  A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Editor's note: UPDATE The spring legislative session ended without lawmakers agreeing on a budget proposal, throwing the state into its third year without proper funding. But lawmakers introduced and garnered support for a variety of bills aimed at helping Illinois’ women, who generally make 79 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Women comprise 60 percent of the state’s minimum wage workers.

Justin Wright

Some reformers say Illinois' minimum age for juvenile detention needs to go up.

Deana Rutherford

While the state's budget impasse continues, activists from Chicago are demanding an end to it through a 200 mile march. Today, a group from Fair Economy Illinois set out on a 15 day walk from Chicago to Springfield. 

Daniel Biss speaking to group
Office of state Sen. Daniel Biss

The Illinois Senate passed a bill Friday that would prohibit a defense for murder based on a victim’s sexual orientation or a nonviolent sexual advance.

The gay panic defense bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston, passed unanimously with a vote of 41-0 and will be up for consideration in the House.

Biss says that although rare, these types of crimes do happen.

Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois

The spring legislative session has been overshadowed by a 22-month stretch without a budget. Nevertheless, meaty legislation is being weighed. Those issues include abortion, wage theft, animal research and criminal justice.

Rep. Anna Moeller
Rep. Anna Moeller

Legislation passed out of the House Wednesday is meant to help close the gender wage gap in the state.

After a House vote of 91-24, the Equal Pay Act amendment will now be considered in the Senate as SB 981, under the sponsorship of Sen.  Daniel Biss, a Democrat from Evanston. 

Democratic Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin, who sponsored House Bill 2462, says that while she expected the House to pass the bill, she was surprised by the number of yes votes.

“It just shows that this is an issue that is important to women in Illinois and families in Illinois,” she said. 

Warehouse Workers for Justice

Legislation aims to improve working conditions for temporary workers as the need for them increases.

Equality Illinois

As rapid-fire change comes at the federal level, advocates want  to keep Illinois' status as one of the leading states in offering protections.

Alex McCray didn’t want to believe Donald Trump had won the election. In the words of the transgender nursing student from downstate Sherman: “I was hoping it was all just one terrible nightmare. It felt like my rights were being ripped out right from underneath me.”

Kendall Coyne

A bill in Springfield seeks to ease the gender pay gap.

Palos Heights native Kendall Coyne, an Olympic silver-medalist in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, has joined her fellow skaters in a fight off the ice.

Matt Turner / Flickr

The spring legislative session is in full swing under the shadow of a failed Grand Bargain, which aimed to end a 20-month stretch without a budget. Bills proposed are diverse, including lobbyist ethics, an Obama holiday, wage theft and animal welfare.

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