Senator Steans on the Senate floorSenator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) seeks to create a new revenue source for the State of Illinois by legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. Senate Bill 316 legalizes the possession of up to 28 grams of marijuana and will allow facilities to sell marijuana products.

“Right now, all the money being spent on marijuana is going into the pockets of criminals and cartels,” Steans said. “In a regulated system, the money would go into the cash registers of licensed, taxpaying businesses. It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new revenue for our state. Prohibition is a financial hole in the ground, and we should stop throwing taxpayer dollars into it.”

Legalizing recreational marijuana has swept the nation. During this past election, voters from coast to coast passed ballot initiatives to legalize its use, making recreational marijuana now legal in eight states and Washington, D.C.

“It is clear that individuals across the nation are receptive to purchasing marijuana through a legal market,” Steans said. “Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois’ worsening budget problems. Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor’s $5 billion budget gap.”

Identical legislation has been introduced in the House by Representative Kelly Cassidy.

In 2016, the state of Oregon collected more than $60 million in new revenue from a tax on marijuana – more than six times what the Oregon Liquor Control Commission expected for the 2015-2017 budget period. In Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012, the state collected more than $140 million in 2016 from taxes on legal marijuana sales.

Though recreational sales in Colorado began in 2014, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, marijuana consumption by teens has not increased since recreational marijuana was legalized.

Increasingly, researchers are finding that marijuana can be an effective alternative to opioids for pain management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids killed more than 33,000 individuals in 2015 alone. In Illinois, 75 percent of drug overdoses in 2015 involved opioids according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“I believe that we should explore all options to ending the opioid epidemic,” Steans said. “I think that by legalizing marijuana, we could see a drop in opioid overuse.”

Marijuana has also been used to treat patients with chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy and some psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Last year, legislation introduced by Senator Steans to decriminalize possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana became law.

Senator Steans

March 14, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

After Gov. Rauner stifled the grand bargain, the Senate called on more than a dozen Rauner administration agency heads to testify about possible budget cuts to reduce the $5 billion gap in the governor’s budget.

 

Senator Steans speaks at a press conferenceThe cabinet directors were repeatedly unable, unwilling or unprepared to offer any savings or program cuts. Out of 15 agency directors that testified, none of them could identify a single dollar to cut.

 

This is especially concerning considering that the governor has asked the General Assembly to give him the power to cut whatever he wants in order to balance spending for three years in a row. The fact that the governor's handpicked agency heads failed to find any cuts suggests that the governor might be ill-prepared to do that.

 

By continuing to push his partisan priorities, the governor is hurting taxpayers, businesses and families. Every day that we don’t resolve this budget crisis, $11 million is added to the state’s debt and our backlog of bills grows.

 

Though the governor presented a budget that is now $5 billion out of balance, I remain determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find compromise and fill the budget gap the governor created.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

 

Get more involved in state government

 

Keeping track of what’s happening in Springfield can be difficult. Let me help make it easier to follow by sending you a list of noteworthy legislation that will be heard in committees during session weeks.

 

If you are interested in receiving this kind of update, please sign up here.

 

 

Upcoming events in the district

 

There are several upcoming events in the district, including an information session on lead exposure this Saturday, March 18. Additionally, see below for more information about how you can pick up a free tree from a water reclamation plant and the details of our next know your rights event.

 

Lead Workshop in Rogers Park 3/18

Restore the Canopy

Know your rights

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in light of the inability of Rauner administration agency heads to identify possible spending cuts during committee hearings:

Senator Steans at a press conference on Rauner administration budget testimonyThe governor presented a budget that is now $5 billion out of balance. When members of the Senate asked his agency directors how they could contribute to filling this gap, none of them were able to identify a single dollar to help balance the budget.

The fact that the governor stifled the Senate’s grand bargain negotiations when his budget relied on the grand bargain to help balance his budget tells me that the governor is more interested in creating chaos than fiscal stability. By continuing to push his partisan priorities, the governor is hurting taxpayers, businesses and families. Every day that we don’t resolve this budget crisis, $11 million is added to the state’s debt and our backlog of bills grows.

Though the governor’s budget proposal is now $5 billion out of balance, I remain determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find compromise and fill the budget gap the governor created.

Senator Steans

March 7, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Thank you for seeking to take on a more active role in state government and for signing up for this new email list. If someone forwarded this message to you and you’d like to sign up for this list, click here.

 

I have included a list of noteworthy pieces of legislation that have been posted to committee this week below along with the committee schedule. This list includes legislation introduced by both democrats and republicans. I support some of the pieces of legislation below and do not support other pieces. I have included both so that you can stay informed and decide which pieces you’d like to support or oppose.

 

If you would like to see all of the bills that are posted to a committee, click here and select the committee you’d like to review. The list can be found under “bills” on the committee page.

 

To listen to a hearing live, click here and select the room the committee you’re interested in is meeting. The committee schedule is subject to change, and some committees may be cancelled throughout the week. Additionally, committees may be delayed if previous events in the day run longer than initially scheduled. The Senate Democrats tweet committees, including when they begin and end. Follow them at @ILSenDems.

 

For directions on how to submit a witness slip to show your support or opposition to a particular bill, click here.

 

If you are interested in tracking legislation beyond its hearing in a committee, you can sign up for a free bill tracking tool on www.ilga.gov. You can build queries based on which committees the legislation moves through and follow it as it is debated, voted on and passed to the other chamber. To sign up, click the “My Legislation” tab on www.ilga.gov.

 

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback on how to improve this email update. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Legislation to watch in committee this week

 

• Tuition reimbursement – SB 1897 establishes a tuition reimbursement grant for full-time in-state undergraduate students attending a state university. (McGuire)

• Drug testing for SNAP benefits – SB 79 requires drug testing for to receive SNAP benefits and state medical assistance. (McCarter)

• Disabled services – SB 84 provides home-based and long-term community-based services to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid assistance. (Steans)

• Officer-involved shootings – SB 58 requires police officers involved in shootings to submit to drug and alcohol testing within one hour to ensure they were not impaired while discharging a firearm. (Hunter)

• Attorneys at bail hearings – SB 1690 allows attorneys to be present at bail hearings and requires the court to appoint an attorney if a person cannot afford it. (Raoul)

• Sexual orientation as a criminal defense – SB 1761 bars sexual orientation or gender identity from being considered mitigating factors or serious provocation in murder cases. (Biss)

• Emissions testing – SB 836 requires emissions test stations within 5 miles of residents subject to testing instead rather than 12 miles required under current state law. (Mulroe)

• Dark money in politics – SB 2089 requires politically active non-profit organizations like the NRA and unions to register as political committees and report their donors. (Harmon)

• U.S.-Mexican wall contractors – SB 2091 prohibits state agencies from contracting with businesses that contract with the federal government to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. (Sandoval)

• Paid sick time – SB 1296 requires employers to provide paid sick time to full- and part-time employees. (Hutchinson)

• Minimum wage – SB 1738 increases the minimum wage to $15 by 2021. (Lightford)

• Equal pay – SB 981 strengthens the Illinois Equal Pay Act and prohibits employers from asking job applicants what their previous salary was in an effort to reduce the gender wage gap. (Biss)

• Right to work – SB 1905 prohibits local governments from enacting right-to-work ordinances. (Silverstein)

• Clean coal – SB 1840 establishes a clean coal technology grant program. (Manar)

• Protecting bees – SB 673 bans the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on public lands and residential settings. (Harmon)

• Plastic bag ban – SB 1597 bars the use of non-compostable plastic bags in Illinois. (Link)

 

Committee schedule, Tuesday, March 7

(All committees are in the Capitol unless otherwise stated)

• Senate Education Committee subject matter hearing on Federal Every Student Succeeds Act 10:30 a.m., Room 212

• Senate Education Committee subject matter hearing on testimony from ISBE on the governor's FY18 proposed budget
1 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Public Health Committee subject matter hearing on testimony from the Department of Public Health on the governor's FY18 proposed budget
1 p.m., Room 400

• Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
1 p.m., Room 409

• Senate Higher Education Committee
2:30 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Judiciary Committee
2:30 p.m., Room 400

• Senate Human Services Committee subject matter haring on testimony from the Department of Human services, Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Department on Aging on the governor's FY18 proposed budget
2:30 p.m., Room 409

• Senate Transportation Committee
4:30 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Criminal Law Committee
4:30 p.m., Room 400

 

Committee Schedule, Wednesday, March 8

 

• Senate Appropriations I Committee subject matter hearing on the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Public Health on fiscal year 2017 liabilities
8:30 a.m., Room 400

• Senate Gaming Committee
9 a.m., Room 212

• Senate Local Government Committee subject matter hearing on testimony from mayors on the effects of the budget impasse for municipal governments
9 a.m., Room 409

• Senate Executive Committee
1 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Licensed Activities Committee
1 p.m., Room 400

• Senate State Government Committee
1 p.m., Room 409

• Senate Labor Committee subject matter hearing on testimony from the Department of Labor on the governor's FY18 proposed budget
3 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Government Reform Committee
3 p.m., Room 400

• Senate Revenue Committee
4:15 p.m., Room 212

• Senate Insurance Committee
4:15 p.m., Room 400

• Joint Senate Appropriations I, Appropriations II and Revenue Committee Hearing Subject Matter On: COGFA's 2018 Economic Forecast and Revenue Estimate and FY 2017 Revenue Outlook Update
5:15 p.m., Room 212

 

Committee Schedule, Thursday, March 9

 

• Senate Agriculture Committee
8:30 a.m., Room 409

• Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee
9 a.m., Room 400

• Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee
10:45 a.m., Room 212

• Senate Telecommunications and Information Technology Committee
10:45 a.m., Room 400

• Senate Environment and Conservation Committee
10:45 a.m., Room 409

• Senate Criminal Law Committee subject matter hearing on testimony from the Department of Corrections and the Department of State Police on the governor's FY18 proposed budget
12 p.m., Room 400

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

 

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Contact Us

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

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