Mike Smith

2020 Public Affairs Reporting Intern

Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.

Ways to Connect

Shannon O'Brien / University of Illinois Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield has transitioned to all-remote learning as the state stays at home.

Illinois Times

Illinoisans owe a combined $58 billion on their federal student loans, and with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order leaving some residents unable to work, making payments on those loans can be an impossible task.

Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker announced new measures to help businesses stay afloat during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

laptop
Creative Commons: Chris He, 2009

As Illinoisans continue to practice self-isolation, a Springfield Facebook group is bringing the community together online.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaking with reporters at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago
screen capture / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order starting Saturday at 5 p.m. through April 7 to slow the spread of COVID-19. State public health officials reported Illinois’ fifth death from the virus Friday.

marijuana buds next to prescription container
eggrole / flickr

With Illinois residents practicing isolation inside their homes, the marijuana industry is making adjustments to meet consumer needs.

Innovate Springfield's Katie Davison discussing ideas to attract young people with community members
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

University of Illinois Springfield officials on Thursday fielded ideas from community members about what a potential downtown building should look like and what purpose it should serve.

screen capture from the Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau website
illustration by Brian Mackey / Illinois State Police Firearm Services Bureau

A group of Republican lawmakers is criticizing the state for failing to process FOID card renewals in a timely manner.

Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease / Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease

With a fourth case of COVID-19 announced in Illinois Monday, coronavirus continues to dominate headlines. But experts say there’s another, more common disease that ought to be getting more attention.

Red light camera at intersection
Derek Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois House on Wednesday approved legislation Wednesday that would ban certain red-light cameras. It would only apply in communities with fewer than 25,000 people that have not been granted a special status known as “home rule.”

Graciela Guzman speaking about rising prescription drugs alongside (left) State Representative Will Guzzardi and (right) Dan Rabbitt of Heartland Alliance.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers want to research the rising costs of prescription drugs, especially the price of prescription drugs.

Herwig Kavallar / Creative Commons

An Illinois lawmaker wants people who injure or kill domesticated animals to face a harsher punishment.

State Rep. Mike Murphy (right), a Republican from Springfield, shakes hands with Gov. J.B. Pritkzer in this file photo from Jan. 29, 2020.
handout / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether to waive the concealed carry license fee for qualified veterans.

Isabella McKenna (center) speaks at a press conference alsongside (from left to right) Sen. Linda Homes, Rep. Greg Harris and Illinois State Medical Society President Paul Pedersen.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers want to reduce delays in medical care caused by the requirements of insurance companies.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly speaking at a press conference alongside Deputy Director Isaiah Vega.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

The Illinois State Police is supporting legislation that would fingerprint applicants for the Firearm Owners Identification card.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has fired a transportation company after learning it shackled a young foster child for several hours.

Former Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter, center, testifying at an ethics comittee hearing alongside current LIG Carol Pope, left, and former LIG Tom Homer, right.
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

As Illinois lawmakers consider whether to change ethics laws after recent scandals, former legislative inspector general Julie Porter is urging them to start with themselves.

Private jets at Sun Valley Airport in 2015.
Thomas Hawk / via flickr.com/thomashawk (cc by-nc 2.0)

Illinois Senators overwhelmingly override Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s veto of a sales tax exemption Wednesday, a day after member of the House did the same. It’s the first time that’s happened during Pritzker’s time in office.

State officials speaking at a committee hearing Tuesday morning
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers grilled state officials Tuesday about significant problems with health care for thousands of kids with ties to the Illinois child welfare system.

Concealed handgun
flickr

A pair of gun-rights groups have sued the Illinois State Police for taking too long to process paperwork required to own and carry firearms.

Witnesses testify about ethics laws in Illinois and elsewhere at a meeting of the Illinois Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a massive culture change over corruption in Illinois, state lawmakers were considering how to make that happen — especially when it comes to local units of government.

Representative Bob Morgan speaking at a press conference Tuesday in the Capitol Blue Room alongside Senator Ram Villivalam, Brian Costin and activist Dan Johnson.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A pair of Illinois lawmakers are taking on the practice of offering tax breaks to lure companies from other states.

the Illinois Supreme Court bench in the court's main building in Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Supreme Court says a woman convicted of domestic violence should be able to get a Firearm Owners’ Identification card.

Megan Blair speaking at a news conference where Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to cap the cost of insulin.
​​​​​​​Illinois Office of Communication and Information

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Friday intended to bring down the cost of insulin.

Rep. Maurice West debates the Reproductive Health Act
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers are considering whether the state should begin paying for deferred prosecution programs. They’re intended to give non-violent offenders a second chance.

flanked by students, J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at a Springfield school
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Wednesday aimed at bringing more young people into the civic conversation.

Bruce Sommer formally announces collaboration for downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Two universities have formally announced a collaboration intended to bring a new higher education presence to downtown Springfield.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Officials at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, known as the ALPLM, are once again trying to verify the authenticity of a hat once thought to belong to Lincoln.

Committee on House Administration, Majority via Youtube

A central-Illinois election official told a Congressional panel Thursday some of the voting machines Illinoisans used in the last election are still susceptible to tampering. But he said efforts are underway to prevent it from happening again.

classroom
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday grilled officials about the practice of locking kids in “seclusion rooms” in schools. It’s the first legislative hearing since a news report brought attention to the practice late last year.