Dana Vollmer

Reporter - Public Affairs Reporting

Ways to Connect

Rianne Hawkins for City Clerk (left), Springfield City Clerk's Office (right)

Springfield voters will again decide between Rianne Hawkins and incumbent Frank Lesko for city clerk when they head to the polls April 2.

The city clerk performs a range of duties and legal requirements for city council, including recording meeting minutes, filing municipal records, and drafting agendas.

Lesko narrowly beat Hawkins by a 51-49 margin in 2015. 

NPR Illinois talked with Hawkins about her plans to win back the office.

Lesko did not respond to several phone requests for an interview.

Liz West - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

A proposal in the Illinois House would allow people to donate their unused prescriptions and medical supplies to people who can’t afford them.

Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Adult entertainer Stormy Daniels visited the Illinois Capitol today to protest the so-called “Sin Tax.”

A 2012 law requires Illinois strip clubs to charge an extra $3 for each guest or pay a flat tax. It’s meant to help fund rape crisis centers.

Daniels said the tax incorrectly connects adult entertainment with rape.

Matt Brown - Flickr / CC-by 2.0)

Legislation being considered in the Illinois House could cancel plans for a proposed ICE detention facility in Dwight.

Scrappers Film Group

Stateville Calling is a documentary about parole reform and its effect on aging prisoners.

The film follows 84-year-old activist Bill Ryan as he works to pass legislation reinstating parole in Illinois, which the state hasn’t had since 1978.

Screenings are taking place around the state. Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Director Ben Kolak and Producer Yana Kunichoff ahead of a March 26 screening in Springfield.

The Parents Union - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Illinois’s new $15 minimum wage law doesn’t guarantee better pay for workers with disabilities. An exemption in federal labor law still allows some employers to pay them less.

Tatiana Vdb - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Women in the Illinois Senate want to address a surge in maternal deaths related to childbirth.

Lori Stalteri - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Some Illinois lawmakers want to make it easier for worker cooperatives to grow.

Mike Mozart - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Walgreens customers want the company to pay up for charging an extra tax on some water bottles. The Illinois Supreme Court is considering whether the charges were fraudulent.

Blogtrepreneur - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Young adults could be tried in juvenile court up to age 21 under legislation being considered in the Illinois Senate.

Marc Nozell / Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)

March 8 is International Women’s Day. It’s a call to raise voices within the women’s rights movement and strategize to create a more gender-equal world.

Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Susan Bramlet Lavin, executive director of the Illinois branch of the National Organization for Women, about what’s been accomplished and what still needs work.

This interview have been edited for clarity.

Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Illinois nurses are calling on state lawmakers to restrict the number of patients under their care.

Wikimedia Commons

An Illinois study of racial profiling in police stops is set to expire in July. State lawmakers are considering whether to keep collecting data.

Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Republicans in the Illinois House are speaking out against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax.

Dave Nakayama / Flickr (CC-by 2.0)

A new proposal in Illinois aims to reduce the time juveniles spend behind bars before their trial, but some argue it might not be in the best interests of the young people accused of wrongdoing.

U.S. Supreme Court exterior
Brittany Hogan / Flickr (CC-by 2.0)

Low-income earners can soon apply to waive their court costs in Illinois.

Tony Webster - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Environmental groups want Illinois to produce more clean energy, but the state is already behind on its renewable energy goals.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Illinois is one step closer to having a $15 minimum wage, after the state Senate approved the legislation by a 39-18 vote Thursday.

Ray Bodden - Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Activists are calling on Illinois to improve transparency in the oil and gas extraction technique known as fracking.

Dana Vollmer / NPR Illinois

Employees at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site are still anxious, despite being back at work for a week after the shutdown ended.

CREDIT FLICKR USER / MICHAEL COGHLAN "PRISON BARS" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Some women incarcerated in Illinois have not been receiving all the same benefits as their male counterparts.

GotCredit - Flickr / CC-By 2.0

Tax season kicks off in Illinois today, and taxpayers may notice some differences in the filing process.

Jeff Hitchcock - Flickr / CC-By 2.0

The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to settle a fight between two of the state’s environmental regulators. At issue is whether certain waste disposal sites should have to do groundwater testing.

Tammy Godon - Flickr / CC-BY 2.0

The Illinois Supreme Court is considering whether Chicago’s regulations on food trucks unfairly stifle competition.

UIS Brookens Library Archives

The site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot could soon become a National Historic Monument.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Illinois Supreme Court is considering whether sending a teenager to prison for 50 years is effectively a life sentence.


Katie Buck / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Despite the federal government shutdown, Illinoisans will continue getting food aid through February.

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