Sam Dunklau

Reporter

Sam is a general assignment reporter.  Previously, Sam was a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working at the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.

Since 2015, he's been floating around the radio airwaves as a reporter, disc jockey, and station manager.  A multimedia journalism degree from Augustana College now rests comfortably under his belt. 

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A group of Illinois House Republicans heavily criticized the lack of work from a statewide task force on property taxes.


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More Illinois students now qualify for college financial aid. State government will now offer money to students who might have been disqualified from getting federal help.


Salty Cracka via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Recreational cannabis has been legal in Illinois for just under a week, and the state estimates consumers have already bought nearly $11 million worth of product. But the legal industry is only just getting started.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Marijuana sales began with more than $3 million in sales on New Year’s Day. Backers of the law, however, say that news ought to take a back seat to the more than 11,000 pardons for past pot convictions Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a day earlier.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois’ recreational cannabis dispensaries made around $3.2 million in sales on New Year’s Day, according to early estimates from a state agency overseeing the now-legal industry.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The more than 255 new Illinois laws taking effect on New Year's Day may affect everything from your car to your paycheck.

We took a look at some of the biggest changes coming in 2020.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Legal marijuana is coming January 1 — what will that look like in Illinois? Will there be enough supply to meet demand? And what will happen to the black market?

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Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker approved a plan Wednesday to pool the pension funds of nearly 650 downstate police and fire departments.


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Illinois’ Attorney General is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs, alleging the company intentionally hooked teens on vaping.


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Illinois' Department of Agriculture published its bi-annual study that looked at how to improve water quality by cutting down on pollutants that runoff into streams and rivers. Runoff has been on the rise lately, and officials say reducing it involves more than just farmers.

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Beginning in January, all Illinois employers will have to start providing sexual harassment training for their employees.

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The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could determine whether a person convicted of battery can still own a gun.


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Five Illinois residents have died so far this year after vaping. Two of those people have died within the last week, while public health investigators have struggled to find what’s behind the spike in illnesses.

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Speedy drivers have been a particular problem for the Illinois State Police so far this year. Troopers across the state have issued nearly 2,500 tickets for drivers going 100 miles per hour or faster on Illinois roadways.


Reedy Press

There may be no more famous man in Illinois history than Abraham Lincoln. More than 150 years after his death, the 16th president continues to inspire writers of all kinds. But before 2018, few books had been written about Lincoln as a boy, and even fewer had been written from the young Abe’s point of view.

That changed when retired teacher and author Jan Jacobi wrote the novel “Young Lincoln,” in which the famous Illinoisan himself narrates his journey from young boy to young man, painting a rarely-seen portrait of Lincoln’s formative years.

Blue Room Stream

Illinois lawmakers Wednesday advanced a plan to pool more than 650 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds. Passing the measure out of both chambers by week’s end is a top priority for Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Pritzker’s office has been arguing for weeks that combining all of those funds would make more money for retired police and firefighters, while cutting fees and reducing the need to raise local property taxes.

Stuart Rankin / via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

The Illinois Senate approved a move Tuesday that would allow Illinois to stay on daylight saving time permanently.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The second and final week of the Illinois legislature’s fall veto session begins Tuesday. State lawmakers will have just three days to get a number of proposals — big and small — over as many legislative hurdles as possible.


Illinois Capitol Development Board

Final construction work on the long-awaited Chicago Veterans Home is on schedule, and a state official says the facility will be fully operational by next summer.


via Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s "furious" about the behavior of state lawmakers ensnared in federal probes this year. Now he’s calling for changes in the way lobbyists disclose their finances.

Tom Irwin & John Arden, used with permission

Springfield singer-songwriter Tom Irwin and playwright John Arden are bringing their production about the life and times of a Sangamon County teenager back for another run.

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State lawmakers are now formally considering legislation to pool the resources of nearly 650 local Illinois police and fire department pension funds.


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Brian Mackey

As the fall veto session continues, the Stathouse has been rocked by a federal charge of bribery against Democratic state representative Luis Arroyo and his subsequent resignation.  Meanwhile, the end of the Chicago teachers’ strike is allowing Mayor Lori Lightfoot to focus more on her agenda for fixing the city’s budget problems.

WTTW Chicago Public Television's Amanda Vinicky joins the panel.

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The Illinois House approved legislation Wednesday to further restrict the use of ethylene oxide gas. Nearly no Republicans supported the move, and both sides of the aisle have concerns.


Lee Milner

State lawmakers are considering whether to ban flavored tobacco products in Illinois. Both sides of that debate made their cases before a panel of state senators in Springfield Tuesday.


As a growing number of Illinois state lawmakers have been ensnared in recent federal probes, some of their colleagues want to ramp up punishment for public corruption.


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Ahead of next month’s open enrollment period for Medicaid health insurance, a new report shows more Illinois residents are insured. But that same report shows nearly three quarters of a million Illinoisans still don’t have health insurance.

The report by insurance comparison website QuoteWizard looked at uninsured rates across the country over the last decade. It found as many 1.3 million Illinoisans were uninsured in 2008, but that number dropped by nearly half in the decade since.

Rebecca Anzel / Capitol News Illinois

An anti-abortion law firm is asking the federal government to block a portion of Illinois’ reproductive health law. They say it improperly says forces people to pay for health insurance that covers abortions.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois Department of Transportation on Monday released details for how it plans to spend billions of dollars on road construction in the coming years.


Government of Prince Edward Island via Creative Commons / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Flu season has begun once again in Illinois, and public health officials are urging residents to practice good hygiene and vaccinate against the virus.

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