Hannah Meisel

Statehouse reporter

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. Hannah previously covered the statehouse for The Daily Line and Law360, and also worked a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax in 2018.

She has also worked as a reporter for Illinois Public Media in Urbana, and served as NPR Illinois' statehouse intern in 2014 while working toward a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

Hannah also holds a journalism degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was a reporter and managing editor at The Daily Illini.

In 2020, the Washington Post named Hannah as one of the best political reporters in Illinois.

Ways to Connect

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to drop, mitigation measures are being relaxed and plans are being made to increase the distribution of the vaccine.

Mark Maxwell, Capitol Bureau Chief for WCIA TV, joins the panel.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the work of the 101st General Assembly.  And there is  a new House Speaker - Chris Welch - after Michael Madigan lost the support of his caucus after nearly four decades in power.

Rich Miller of Capitol Fax joins the panel.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Update Friday, Jan 15: Twelve hours after this story was published, Gov. JB Pritzker announced he is revising Tier I mitigations to allow for indoor dining. However, no regions currently meet Tier I metrics. This story has been updated to reflect the changes and avoid confusion.

Update Saturday, Jan. 16: Region 5 became Illinois' first region to qualify for Tier I mitigations on Saturday. Additional information has been added to the post.

Governor JB Pritzker on Friday will unfreeze all of Illinois’ 11 regions from the so-called Tier III Coronavirus mitigations he implemented statewide in November as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

Justin Fowler/State Journal-Register via AP

  

Former House Speaker Mike Madigan is now merely State Rep. Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) for the first time in nearly four decades as the embattled Democratic leader passed the gavel on to new Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) Wednesday.

Rep. Chris Welch during debate on the floor of the Illinois House
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

On the eve of his 50th anniversary in the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday night, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s apparent replacement, State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Hillside), was confident he secured the necessary votes to become Illinois’ first Black House speaker.

Embattled House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) stunned Illinois’ political sphere on Monday morning, announcing he would suspended his campaign for a historic 19th term as leader of the Illinois House after falling short on the support he needs in a first round vote Sunday night.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Embattled House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is facing down what could be his final two days as Speaker of the Illinois House — a title he’s held for all but two years since 1983 — after a Sunday evening vote in a private House Democratic caucus meeting left him with only 51 tentative votes for a historic 19th term as speaker.

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

Correction: This story has been corrected and clarified. Veterans were unable to get immediate access to donated name-brand toiletries due to a process that has since been changed, but the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs says residents never went without basic personal care supplies if they ran out. 

The Coronavirus outbreak at the state-run LaSalle Veterans’ Home claimed a 36th life earlier this week, though the spread within the home has been in control for weeks after infecting 90% of residents and killing more than a quarter of the facility’s population.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Amidst the turmoil in Washington DC, the Illinois Legislature meets this week for a lame duck session, with questions about who will be House Speaker and which direction the Illinois Republican Party will go.

Chris Mooney, Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, joins the panel.

via IDES website

  

GOP lawmakers are again demanding answers from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Securities over the state’s processing of unemployment benefits. 

Google Maps

Every decade, the year after a Census, state lawmakers are tasked with adopting new legislative maps for Illinois, which can shift the balance of power in certain areas with demographic changes.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

  Illinois House Republicans say they’re still waiting on Gov. JB Pritzker to propose specific spending cuts to the state’s current year state budget, which is $4 billion out of balance.

ilga.gov

Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of downstate Bunker Hill announced Monday he will resign from the General Assembly effective Jan. 17 to join the governor’s office as an advisor two days later.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The panel marks the end of 2020 and looks ahead to 2021, joined by Amanda Vinicky of Chicago's WTTW.

Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) will resign his Senate seat effective 11:59 p.m. on Thursday — New Year’s Eve.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Washington D.C. worked on a new COVID-19 pandemic stimulus package, while the first batch of vaccines continue to be distributed to health care workers.  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing criticism for her handling of a new scandal involving the Chicago Police Department.

Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business joins the panel.


 

Courtesy of @JeromeAdamsMD on Twitter

  More than 63,000 frontline healthcare workers in Illinois have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in the last week — on top of thousands more healthcare workers in the city of Chicago.

hand sanitizer outside the governor's office suite in the Illinois State Captiol Building
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers have not officially met for a full legislative session day since late May — more than 200 days ago.

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

The November COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ home has killed a 34th resident, the facility reported Friday — just as attorneys for four families of dead residents announced forthcoming lawsuits against the state.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced $700 million in cuts to the current fiscal year's state budget; a special investigating committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan's involvement in the ComEd bribery scandal wrapped up with no action; and Pritzker continues to weather criticism of his administration's handling of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home.

Tony Arnold of WBEZ and Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune join the panel this week.

Dr. Prashant Jagtap, St. John’s Hospital medical director of critical care, was among the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine Wednesday.
HSHS St. John's Hospital

Hundreds of nurses, doctors and other medical staff at central Illinois hospitals received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine this week.

Democratic allies of House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday ended an inquiry into whether the speaker did anything that should disqualify him from serving in the legislature.

Members of a “Special Investigative Committee” formed at the behest of Republicans deadlocked on whether to bring charges against Madigan related to a federal probe into a bribery scheme orchestrated by lobbyists for utility Commonwealth Edison to curry favor with the Speaker.

The first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine arrived in Illinois at the state's Strategic National Stockpile on Monday, Dec. 14.
Screenshot from video provided by Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office

When Gov. JB Pritzker observes COVID-19 vaccines administered at a Peoria hospital on Tuesday morning, he’ll be witnessing among the first COVID-19 inoculations in Illinois after the state received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, Governor JB Pritzker ordered Illinois National Guard medical personnel to the state's four veterans' homes following a deadly outbreak in the LaSalle facility amid criticism from Republican lawmakers.  Also, Michael Madigan continued to resist calls for him to step down as Speaker of the House.

Capitol News Illinois' Jerry Nowicki joins the panel.

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs

Illinois National Guard medical staff have been sent to the LaSalle Veterans’ Homes to assist with COVID-19 testing and screening at the facility, and next week will arrive at the state-run veterans' homes in Manteno and Quincy.

Four GOP state House lawmakers on Wednesday voiced complaints from their central and southern Illinois constituents who say they have waited months after applying for new or renewed gun ownership licenses without an update from the Illinois State Police amid an unprecedented volume of applications this year.

Courtesy of Amanda Knox

The Illinois Innocence Project will host Amanda Knox at a virtual fundraiser for the organization on Thursday evening in an event billed as “Guilty Until Proven Innocent.” Registration for the event closes at midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Find more information about the event at illinoisinnocenceproject.org.

Illinois State Capitol Dome in clouds
Brian Mackey / WUIS - Illinois Issues

A pair of Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to Illinois’ constitution that would expand voters’ ability to recall elections in Illinois — something currently reserved only for the governor.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration on Monday fired the administrator of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home, where 32 residents have been reported dead in the last month after a widespread COVID-19 outbreak at the facility in November.

Hannah Meisel/NPR Illinois

Former State Sen. Marty Sandoval (D-Chicago) died Saturday after a battle with COVID-19, nearly a year after resigning from the legislature amidst an ongoing federal corruption probe involving Democratic politicians and other power brokers from Chicago’s City Hall to Springfield.

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