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. 

Ways to Connect

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the midst of nationwide protests and demands for police reforms, Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed their support for possibly requiring police officers to be licensed by the state.  Also, as Illinois continues to see a decrease in COVID-19 metrics in Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, other states are seeing a significant spike in cases and deaths.  Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker signed off on an uncertain state budget.

WBEZ's Tony Arnold joins the panel this week.

elinerijpers / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Illinois schools are now able to welcome students back for some types of in-person learning during the summer. The State Board of Education has issued guidance to districts to offer several programs.

Yonkers Honda / via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Automobile dealers in Illinois were among the hardest hit businesses during the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home period.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Protests and in some cities looting and destruction the past week in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police have taken place nationwide and in Illinois.  On this week's program, a discussion of the causes and consequences, and the reactions of the Governor and the Mayor of Chicago.

The Chicago Sun Times' Maudlyne Ihejirika joins the panel.

Sam Dunklau, via Welch & Buckner Twitter pages / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

As outrage and protest against police brutality and racial injustice has spilled into the streets of cities across the country, several Black Illinois state lawmakers are offering their plans for how to fix those problems.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Illinois enters Phase Three of "Restore Illinois", Governor Pritzker is responding to  criticism and lawsuits surrounding his re-opening plan.  Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its short special legislative session last weekend after passing a state budget. The panel also discusses a controversy over whether or not lawmakers will see their pay go up.

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel joins the panel.

Mike Miletich / via Twitter

Close to two dozen staff and community members protested outside the State Journal-Register’s newsroom in Springfield Wednesday, demanding the paper's corporate owner reconsider a change to the newspaper's printing schedule.

Kenneth Lu / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Illinois is on track for salons, some offices and outdoor seating at restaurants to open this weekend as the state moves into its next phase of reopening. The state’s movie theaters, which have been shut down since March, said Wednesday they want to welcome customers during that phase too.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois is arguing a lawsuit between a state representative and Gov. J.B. Pritzker should remain in circuit court, after state Attorney General Kwame Raoul's office moved the case up to the federal level.

Justin Fowler / ILCA Pool Photo

In the midst of a global pandemic, despite social distancing, and all while wearing face masks, Illinois state lawmakers approved a new state budget over the weekend totaling $43 billion. But that budget won’t be possible without heavy reliance on the federal government.

via Blueroomstream.com

Expanded voting-by-mail is coming to Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday he will sign the expanded voting measure into law.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois legislature gathered in Springfield for the first time in weeks for a short special session.  Among the issues facing lawmakers are further responses to the pandemic, rules for voting this November, and the state budget.

Rep. Darren Bailey (R, Xenia) is escorted out of the temporary Illinois House chamber at the Bank of Springfield Center, after members voted to remove him for not wearing a face mask in accordance with updated House rules on May 20
Ted Schurter / ILCA Pool Photo

A lawmaker who portrays himself as an outsider found himself on the outside Tuesday. A group of protestors, meanwhile, made their voices heard as state lawmakers convened for the first day of a special legislative session.

Sam Dunklau / via Blueroomstream.com

Two county health departments are trialing a new “tech-based” approach to COVID-19 contact tracing. Meanwhile, Governor J.B. Pritzker Monday defended rules that lay out penalties for businesses disobeying statewide shutdown orders.

Pritzker’s office announced both St. Clair and Lake County’s health departments will use a “state-of-the-art” software platform that is designed to gather data from infected persons and track the virus in real-time. Another 95 counties will join them over the next few weeks.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" plan to slowly re-open the state's economy is facing resistance from several quarters.  Meanwhile, the Illinois Legislature is preparing for an abbreviated session in Springfield next week.

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

via Apple/Google FAQ page

Illinois wants hundreds to potentially thousands of contact tracing workers trained and ready to start tracking the spread of the new coronavirus by the end of this month. At the same time, big tech companies are developing technology that could help with tracing efforts.

BoS Center Facebook page

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, along with other legislative leaders, are "ready to convene" a special session as early as next week, according to letters sent to lawmakers and shared with the media.

via IDES website

Gig workers and independent contractors now qualify for unemployment benefits in Illinois. While many of those workers have been trying for weeks to receive financial help, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday a new third-party system is already helping to process claims more efficiently.

Screenshot of J.B. Pritzker via Blue Room Stream
Blue Room Stream / Blue Room Stream

A senior Pritzker administration staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and all employees in the Governor’s office are now working from home as a precaution.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzer announced a plan to re-open the state in stages and by region, depending on continued progress in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Capitol News Illinois’ Rebecca Anzel and reporter Bill Wheelhouse join the panel.
 

Sam Dunklau / via SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Zoom

Nursing homes across Illinois claim they haven’t received the amount of personal protective equipment they have asked for. In response, a group of Illinois Senate Democrats are asking the state’s public health department to disclose more information about shipments. 

via Blueroomstream.com

Governor J.B. Pritzker reiterated during a press briefing Monday that law enforcement can arrest anyone who is defying Illinois’ stay-at-home order. Meanwhile, two big tech companies are looking to develop contact tracing apps, but for now, the governor has nixed the idea for Illinois.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker is extending his “Stay-at-Home” order for another month in the face of lawsuits and complaints that he has exceeded his authority.  Joining the panel this week is Greg Hinz, a columnist writing about government and politics for Crain’s Chicago Business.

The panel talks about the legal challenges to the governor's order, when and how the Illinois legislature might reconvene and a big borrowing package being pushed by the Pritzker Administration.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Despite a number of legal challenges that have yet to be resolved, Governor J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order, which takes effect Friday through the end of May.

Blogtrepreneur / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Attorney Thomas DeVore, who’s representing a southern Illinois state lawmaker and another from Rockford, is confident he’ll win legal challenges against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order on two fronts. Meanwhile, the governor maintains the suit is “the height of recklessness,” and Congressman Rodney Davis is among those weighing in.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

A Clay County judge is lifting Illinois' extended stay-at-home order for a single state representative.

via Facebook Live

An online forum hosted by Springfield’s NAACP chapter this weekend highlighted Illinois’ COVID-19- related racial disparities and aimed to dispel myths about the new coronavirus.

via Blueroomstream.com

An Illinois Republican is suing Governor J.B. Pritzker over restrictions he’s put in place to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that he is amending and extending his Stay-at-Home directive through May 30th.  The Daily Line's Hannah Meisel joins the panel.

Matt Turner via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While public health workers continue to combat the new coronavirus that has ravaged communities across Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker and others are predicting the virus will deal a long-lasting blow to the state’s finances.

I explored what analysts are expecting, and what state lawmakers are planning to do about it for this week’s Illinois Issues report.

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