Senator Steans

May 8, 2017

Dear Friends,


Last week was filled with budget negotiations and the passage of several important pieces of legislation, such as Automatic Voter Registration and the Trust Act. 


Budget Negotiations
I continue to believe the best available option to solve the budget impasse is the Grand Bargain being negotiated in the Senate. The Grand Bargain is a dozen budget and reform proposals covering everything from appropriations to reducing the number of local government units to raising revenue and changing our government pension and worker's compensation systems. As the Chair of the Appropriations I Committee, I have been meeting with Senate Republicans and Governor Rauner’s staff to discuss current budget proposals and to see what compromises can be made. We have been having genuine discussions about spending cuts and additional revenue that I hope will lead to a budget that is balanced into the future and can bring much needed fiscal stability to the state.

Automatic Voter Registration may soon be a reality in Illinois
Last week the Illinois State Senate once again passed automatic voter registration, this time with a unanimous vote. I co-sponsored this legislation, which is estimated to provide access to the ballot to approximately two million eligible voters and update the addresses of 700,000 voters.


Senator Manar, the bill’s sponsor, worked with the opposition to address concerns from the governor’s office, the Secretary of State’s Office and the State Board of Elections.


The legislation will now be considered by the House. If passed, it will bring automatic voter registration to Illinois by July 1, 2018. Seven other states have approved automatic voter registration.



Effort to build trust between immigrants and police

Immigrants are an integral part of the fabric of our state, and we need to protect their place within our communities. Immigrants shouldn’t have to fear arrest when going to the hospital or picking their children up from school. I was proud to co-sponsor the Illinois Trust Act, under which law enforcement will not be able to detain, search or arrest an individual based solely on their citizenship or immigration status.


This legislation prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state and local law resources to enforce or comply with federal civil immigration detainers and administrative warrants. It will encourage immigrants to speak up and to work with police officers when crimes do occur.


Additionally, the Illinois Trust Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from using state resources to create discriminatory federal registries based on race, national origin, religion or other protected classes. It also establishes safe zones at schools, medical facilities and properties operated by the Illinois Secretary of State, where federal immigration enforcement would not be admitted without a valid criminal warrant.



Raising personal needs allowance for the developmentally disabled
Residents living in facilities that support the developmentally disabled receive a personal needs allowance that is used to pay for items such as clothes and hygiene products. Currently, individuals receive either $30 or $50 per month depending on in what type of facility they reside. The federal minimum for a personal needs allowance was set at $30 in 1987.


I sponsored legislation to raise the personal needs allowance to $60 per month for individuals in all applicable facilities. The purpose of this legislation is to help individuals with developmental disabilities live a more comfortable life. I believe that as a governing body, it is our responsibility to support all Illinoisans, but especially the most vulnerable.


This bill, SB 1353, passed the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.


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


Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois


Budget tip line


The Illinois Senate continues working on a bipartisan balanced budget, but Governor Rauner's cabinet members have yet to identify any budget cuts and can't find any fraud, waste or abuse in state government spending.

Recent budget hearings have revealed millions of dollars in Rauner administration executive bonuses, secretive lease deals and fast-tracked patronage hiring. We know Illinoisans have a lot of questions for Governor Rauner and his administration, and as your State Senator, I want to help you get your questions answered.

Click here to submit your ideas.


CTA’s Transit Oriented Development Study for the Red and Purple Modernization Program public meeting


The CTA is conducting a development-focused study concurrent with the Red and Purple Modernization transit construction project. The purpose of this study is to encourage community-supported redevelopment strategies for the land impacted by the Red and Purple Modernization transit construction project.

CTA will hold a public meeting as an opportunity for residents to learn more about the study and provide feedback on the plan. Please see the details are below.

Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Study Area
May 11, 2017
6:00–8:00 p.m.
Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway, 60660

For questions and additional information, click here.



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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Contact Us

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

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