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.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's first budget proposal is calling for new taxes, more spending, and a series of moves around state pensions. But that's all a placeholder as he begins a push to change Illinois' flat income tax to one where the wealthy pay more.

We'll analyze what he said, what he didn't say, and what's next for Illinois' ailing finances.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recalled Illinois’ darkest days during his first budget address Wednesday. But he’s also looking to get beyond the current financial mess — and is calling for higher taxes, now and in the future. 

shape of Illinois in coins
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

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

Illinois became the first state in the Midwest Tuesday to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the measure at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Democrats in the Illinois House approved an increase in the state minimum wage. Assuming Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the legislation — he's said he will — the rate will gradually climb to $15 perhour in the year 2025;

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. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Business owners across Central and Southern Illinois say they have concerns about what a  $15 per hour minimum wage increase could mean for their bottom line.

Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign / Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that House Speaker Michael Madigan was recorded pitching his private legal services to someone wearing a wire for the federal government. It took place several years ago and the speaker has not been accused of wrongdoing.

It came as part of the investigation into the activities of Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, whose cooperation already led to corruption charges against Chicago Ald. Ed Burke.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

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

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker spent his second week in office taking actions to signal his support of progressive causes.

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

 

Inventorchris - Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

A 2004 Illinois law requiring officer documentation of every traffic stop is set to phase out this summer.  The data, which includes the driver’s race and outcome of each stop, has helped law enforcement agencies study deficiencies in their practices.

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Brian Mackey

This week, J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as Illinois' new governor, promising a progressive agenda. 

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. 

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

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.

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Brian Mackey

A new General Assembly sworn in on the eve of a new Governor and administration.   Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times joins the panel.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Outgoing Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will pass on the baton to Juliana Stratton next week, when a new administration is sworn in.

 

But before that, we sat down with Sanguinetti to talk about her upbringings with immigrant parents--a Cuban mother and Ecuadorian father, her influence on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies and what it has meant to be the first Latina lieutenant governor in the country.​

 

 

Interview Highlights

 

On her influence on Rauner and the policies he pursued:

The Illinois General Assembly began a new legislative session Wednesday—with both new and familiar faces. Though the legislative leaders remain the same, making what was old “new” again,  Democrats have expanded their veto-proof majority, known as a “supermajority".

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

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. 

Rep. Lou Lang
Brian Mackey / WUIS

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. 

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Brian Mackey

Chicago Ald. Ed Burke is accused of using his position to steer business to his law firm. The city's longest-serving alderman has ties across government in Illinois and the city — will there be other shoes to drop?

Lincoln Home
Brian Mackey/WUIS

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.  

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Brian Mackey

A look back at the top stories in Illinois politics and government over the past year.

Lydia Fu for ProPublica Illinois / Lydia Fu for ProPublica Illinois

Hundreds of kids and teenagers are suing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. This comes after an investigation by ProPublica Illinois found children are being kept in psychiatric hospitals longer than medically necessary.

General Assembly chamber
Matt Turner / flickr

 

The Illinois General Assembly could include sports betting on their agenda this year.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After years of effort, a bipartisan coalition passed criminal justice reform legislation in Congress this week. Turns out the relationship between Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and presidential adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner played a role in keeping the legislation on track.

Jenna Dooley / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission has selected a new inspector general – to investigate misconduct and harassment within the Statehouse

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Two small towns in rural Illinois recently lost their Walmart stores -- more than three decades after the retail giant came in and pushed out mom and pop shops. Now, the communities have lost convenience as well as major property and sales tax revenue. Some see it as an opportunity to revitalize main street, while others are not so optimistic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker announced his ninth and tenth transition committees this week, including one on business issues and economic development. He also reiterated his committment to raising Illinois' hourly minimum wage to $15.

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