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

Lee Milner

Legislation allowing a major expansion of gambling in Illinois failed on Monday. It’s something lawmakers have been working on for years, as an effort to raise money for state and local governments.

via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois lawmakers on Friday rejected legislation that would have loosened restriction on how police use drone surveillance. It was meant to help law enforcement keep tabs on large crowds.


via Chad Weber

It’s been just about six months since a new Illinois law allowing 16 and 17 year olds to donate organs went into effect. Has the change made a difference for those waiting for life-saving organ transplants?

Mitch Barrie via Flikr

State lawmakers are continuing to push Illinois gun legislation in the wake of a recent run of mass shootings. The Illinois House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow police to take guns away from someone if a court finds them dangerous.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois lawmakers are pushing a measure to allow immigrants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse to more easily make their case to the police.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

After more than two years of extensive renovations, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner moved back into the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield on Monday.

via Mark / Flikr

The Illinois General Assembly approved a measure allowing parents to give their kids medical marijuana while at school.


State Representative Jonathan Carroll website

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner this week added sweeping changes to a piece of gun legislation, in a move some state legislators called “political gamesmanship” and “unconstitutional.” But the lawmaker behind the original bill isn’t backing down, announcing Wednesday he's asking the Illinois House to agree with those changes.


via Creative Commons 2.0 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

About 114 million people visited Illinois last year, setting a new state record. That’s according to the latest state tourism data released on Tuesday.


Wikimedia Commons

Illinois legislators are taking up a measure to change the way police gather information for gang databases. It comes after more than a year of controversy surrounding the Chicago Police Department’s data collection practices.


via Illinois Central Management Services video

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the state should be able to execute those who kill police officers or commit mass shootings. The Governor proposed that and several other measures on Monday in an amendatory veto of gun legislation.


via IL Senate Democrats Twitter account

Ongoing budget talks at the Illinois Statehouse have shown no real sign of progress. This week, Senate Democrats pressed Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration this week to explain its proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois is promoting its ties to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. State tourism officials on Tuesday unveiled a self-guided trail linking more than a dozen Wright-designed homes.


via Illinois Central Management Services

lllinois' 3 million Medicaid users will soon have more access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. Officials in Washington, D.C. ok’d a new state program that sets aside about $2 billion in Medicaid funds for the services.


Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Hundreds of police officers, families, and state officials gathered in Springfield on Thursday for an annual service honoring officers killed in the line of duty. Officers from the Chicago area and Rockford were memorialized in the service at the Illinois State Library.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration says a costly rebuild of the Quincy Veterans Home is the best way to get rid of legionella bacteria linked to more than a dozen deaths there. While some state legislators support the move, others remain skeptical.

Mark Warner via Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Lawmakers in the Illinois House voted to implement more stringent background checks on drivers for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

Piush Dahal via flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Illinois House has voted to allow tax breaks for those who take vacant land and use it for urban farming. The aim is to give an economic boost to the state’s low-income areas.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois' largest public employee union feels it has plenty to complain about. The union known as AFSCME has been fighting for what it says is overdue pay -- going all the way back to 2011.

Illinois Innocence Project

Criminal justice advocates say a measure that's cleared the Illinois legislature will keep innocent people from winding up in prison. Among other things, it would require criminal informants to be vetted before their testimony could be used at trial.


Moody Air Force Base via Creative Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

People caught texting and driving on Illinois roadways could risk losing their licenses under a measure being considered by state lawmakers.  It’s part of a statewide effort against distracted driving. 

 

The proposed rule change would up the ante on anyone who breaks the state’s distracted driving law. Instead of just a ticket or warning, anyone who’s caught texting and driving would be hit with a moving violation. 

Those are the kind of tickets that count as strikes against your driving record; after three, your license gets suspended.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois House failed to pass legislation related to the Affordable Care Act on Friday. It would have locked in certain health insurance benefits. 

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, more than 90% of Illinoisans have health insurance. The landmark 2010 law banned companies from using pre-existing condition clauses, and let more low-income people join Medicaid. 

But federal health officials are letting states waive those parts of the law, and put in work requirements for people on Medicaid. The Trump administration has been encouraging both moves.

Illinois State Board of Elections

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois state legislators and advocates say state employees need more protection from a growing trend of workplace violence. But statehouse measures addressing that have gotten a mixed reception. 

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The annual statewide Holocaust Remembrance service was held  in Springfield on Thursday. Each year, the scores of Jews and political targets killed by the Nazis are remembered in a service called Yom HaShoah. 

Solidarity and somberness echoed through the Old State Capitol hall, where those gathered recalled the six million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. 

via TheMuuj / Flikr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

With summer fast approaching, one Illinois lawmaker wants to let people break into cars to rescue animals trapped inside. But some argue that might do more harm than good. 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner says if asked by President Trump, he would send Illinois National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tom Driggers / via Flickr

Illinois farmers are among the targets of new Chinese tariffs. Beijing this week said it will impose a tax on American soy and pork products, two of Illinois' chief exports. The move is a response to President Trump’s announced tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois General Assembly is considering whether people should be allowed to sue to block regulatory decisions of state government. The state’s business community says that’s dangerous for the economy.

Kyle McCarter
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois State Sen. Kyle McCarter’s nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Kenya comes at a time of challenges for the African nation.

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