Dear friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration! Now it’s time to turn our minds to a day keeping with the spirit of the season: Giving Tuesday.

Today is a day to reflect on our own blessings and try to pay it forward. As you’re contemplating your own holiday giving, consider the network of organizations that serve our community and could use your support. These groups help our neighbors put food on the table, settle in new homes and stay warm during the winter.

If you can lend a helping hand, please review the list of donation opportunities for nonprofit and social service organizations in District 7 here.

To ensure your donation makes the biggest possible impact, I encourage you to explore how these organizations have changed operations during the pandemic. For example, some organizations are asking for e-gift cards or directing donors to an Amazon Wishlist this year to help protect donors, volunteers and the community.

If there is a local organization you feel should be added to this list, please reply to this email or call my office at 773-769-1717 with their information.

Stay well – don’t forget to wash your hands frequently and wear a mask to help keep our friends, family and neighbors safe this holiday season.

Sincerely, 

Heather Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Our hospitals are under heavy stress due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, and if we continue on our current course, they may soon become overwhelmed.

Doctors and nurses are doing their best to care for us—we need to do our part, too.

To contain the spread of the virus, Gov. JB Pritzker has instituted new Tier 3 resurgence mitigations across the state that began today, Friday, Nov. 20 at 12:01 a.m.

Tier 3 mitigations include new guidance for all industries:

 

 

 

Read more ...

Dear friend,

 

Yesterday, Mayor Lightfoot announced new COVID-19 mitigations in Chicago to reverse the worsening trends of hospitalizations and deaths. In addition to targeted regulations and a new information campaign, these measures also include a Stay at Home Advisory. I urge you to familiarize yourself with this new information and to follow these new guidelines. The pandemic is only worsening, but we can all work together to prevent its spread.

 

You can read full details of the “Protect Chicago” campaign here.

 

As part of "Protect Chicago", the Mayor has instituted a Stay at Home Advisory that will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 a.m. Residents are strongly encouraged to only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food, or receiving deliveries. When you do leave home, wear a face covering and practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others.

 

We also need to put off any gatherings, something I know can be painful. It is strongly advised you not have guests in your home unless they are essential workers (e.g., home health care providers, child care workers or educators), that you cancel traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, and that you avoid travel.

 

In accordance with the Stay at Home Advisory, the City will also impose and enforce attendance limits on meetings and special events to no more than 10 people. Effective Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 a.m., all indoor or outdoor events and meetings, such as weddings, birthday parties, and other events taking place at banquet halls, event venues or similar spaces will be limited to no more than 10 people. Existing capacity guidelines at establishments such as fitness clubs, retail stores, movie theaters or performance venues, will remain unchanged.

 

Businesses can continue operating under the existing COVID-19 regulations, with the addition of the new 10-person limit on events. You can find the latest information on these regulations at chicago.gov/reopening. As I have throughout this pandemic, I encourage you, if you are a business owner, to do everything you can to accommodate things like home delivery or curbside service.

 

Remember that the City’s Executive Order 2020-9 also states that indoor gatherings within private residences cannot exceed six non-household members.

 

Please see below for details of certain COVID-19 regulations for specific businesses, and visit chicago.gov/reopening for an overview of all of the requirements.

 

Bars and Restaurants

Per state order, indoor service is not permitted at bars and restaurants. Outdoor service is allowed, which includes the following:

  • Rooms with retractable roofs
  • Rooftops
  • Tables that are within eight feet of a wall, provided that the wall is open at least 50%
  • tents and other multi-party outdoor enclosures with at least 50% of the sides open (note- fully enclosed tents are considered indoors and are not permitted)
  • Structures that hold one party, such as plastic domes, with adequate ventilation

 

For a full overview of outdoor dining regulations, visit chicago.gov/winterdining.

 

Bars and restaurants can only hold private events in locations that are designated and typically used for private events only. Main bars or restaurant space cannot be used for private events. Furthermore, event capacity is limited to no more than 10 people effective Monday, Nov. 16.

 

Bars and restaurants must continue to close at 11 p.m. Carry-out, delivery or curbside pick-up of food may continue past 11 p.m., but the sale of alcohol must cease. Outdoor tables must be six feet apart, with no more than six people per table, and face coverings must be worn at all times except when actively eating and/or drinking.

 

Retail

Under the Retail Guidelines, non-essential retail is limited to 40% capacity and essential retail is limited to 50% capacity. Furthermore, establishments are required to limit total gatherings of employees/customers within any one area (i.e. checkout area) to no more than 50 people. Face coverings must be worn at all times. Non-essential retail must be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while essential retail is not subject to curfew.

 

Performance Venues

Under the Performance Venue Guidelines, establishments may operate at 40% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Performance venues must close at 11 p.m. per the non-essential business curfew. Establishments may sell food or drink for carry-out, delivery, curbside pick-up or for patrons to consume at their seats, but common dining areas must be closed. Patrons must maintain six feet of social distancing, and performers must remain 10 feet away from patrons. Face coverings must be worn at all times, although performers can remove masks while performing.

 

Health and Fitness Centers

Under the Health and Fitness Center Guidelines, establishments may operate at 40% capacity. Face coverings must be worn at all times, and establishments must be closed between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. per the non-essential business curfew. Social distancing of six feet must be maintained at all times. Fitness classes are limited to no more than 15 people, while adhering to the 40% capacity limitation and six feet of social distancing.

 

Personal Services

Under the Personal Services Guidelines, establishments may operate at 40% capacity. Face coverings must be worn at all times, with the exception of services that require their removal, such as beard shaves or facials. Establishments must close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. per the non-essential business curfew.

 

Places of Worship

Under the Places of Worship Guidelines, regular services are limited to 40% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller. However, effective Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 a.m., all events, such as weddings and funerals, must be limited to no more than 10 people. Face coverings must be worn at all times and six feet of social distancing must be maintained.

 

For an overview of other COVID-19 industry regulations, visit chicago.gov/reopening.

 

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my website at http://senatorsteans.com/contact-us. Together, we can fight the spread of COVID-19.

 

Sincerely,

State Senator, 7th District

Dear friend,

 

Yesterday, I joined 15 other members of the Illinois General Assembly to call for ethics reform measures in light of the numerous, ongoing federal investigations involving bribery, influence peddling and insider trading impacting state government officials and lobbyists.

 

Illinois is facing monumental challenges – from the coronavirus and its economic impact, to the history of racial inequalities in our society, to the impact the state’s huge revenue loss will have on vulnerable residents. Our government will not be able to effectively meet all of these challenges without the confidence and trust of the people we represent. Unfortunately, trust in Springfield has been shaken given the charges and resignations involving a number of our colleagues.

 

To restore the public’s faith in state government, we are announcing nine specific ethics reform measures that we believe could receive bipartisan support in the upcoming veto session. These proposals would dramatically increase transparency and take meaningful strides toward restoring public trust in state government at a time when government action has never been more crucial to overcome the hardships and dangers we’re facing as a state and as a society. These nine measures seek to address three broad areas.

 

Lobbying Reform

 

  1. Prohibit legislator-lobbyists. We would prohibit any sitting legislator from simultaneously lobbying other units of government, including city, county or federal entities. This ban should apply to lobbying elected officials; performing legal or regulatory work should still be allowed.
  2. Stop the legislator-lobbyist revolving door. We would establish at least a one-year prohibition on legislators and senior management within each caucus (those who file statements of economic interest) leaving their offices and immediately going to work as lobbyists.
  3. Better define who is a lobbyist. We urge the Joint Commission to consider changing the current definition of what constitutes a lobbyist to cover additional individuals or consulting firms. Consultants and lawyers should not be able to use loopholes to perform lobbying and skirt registration as a lobbyist.

 

Legislative Reform

 

  1. Ensure better disclosure of outside income. We would expand current requirements for legislators to disclose the sources and amounts of their outside income and increase penalties for those who refuse to comply in full. This must be done in a way that protects confidentiality rules of professional conduct, and avoids disproportionately impacting legislators and candidates who are not independently wealthy.
  2. Initiate an official censure. We would establish a process to officially censure a legislator who has violated ethics laws, similar to that which is practiced in the United States Congress.
  3. Strengthen the Legislative Inspector General. We encourage changes to the Legislative Inspector General’s Office to increase its independence, such as allowing the LIG to self-initiate investigations and making it an independent agency for the purposes of budgets and hiring.
  4. End exemption from Human Rights Act. We would remove the current exemption of legislators’ direct employees from the state’s Human Rights Act, so those employees receive the same protections afforded to other employees.

Leadership Reform

  1. Establish term limits for legislative leaders. We would establish term limits for the period that legislators can serve in leadership positions, including the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House and the President and Minority Leader of the Senate.
  2. Establish a process for removal of legislative leaders and committee chairs. We urge creation of a policy calling for the temporary removal of a legislative leader or committee chair during any criminal investigation relevant to job duties involving that member or an actual charge/indictment. The individual can be reinstated upon completion of said investigation or upon their acquittal.

 

These nine steps without a doubt will bring a greater level of transparency to the business that is done in Springfield, and it is important that legislators work together to get them passed. Enacting meaningful ethics reform has been elusive and, given the magnitude of the ongoing investigations, it is imperative that we act in the upcoming veto session.

 

Mechanisms exist to begin making these changes. The Illinois House and Senate last year voted to empanel a Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform, to whom we are submitting these nine proposals for ethics reform. The Commission was charged with holding hearings and issuing a report and recommendations by March 31, 2020. Although hearings began early this year, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the commission’s work and final report. We understand the Commission is continuing its work and appreciate their consideration of these proposals.

 

For our full statement on our proposals, you can view an explainer at my website, [here]. I will keep you up to date on any developments as they occur. Springfield must work for the citizens of Illinois. It is past time for a change.

 

Sincerely,


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

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District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

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627 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492