Senator Steans

April 12, 2018

Dear Friends,


Senator Steans on the Seante floor.The Illinois State Senate took a historic vote yesterday in support of my bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and solidify equal rights for all. I am pleased to inform you that Illinois is one step closer to becoming the 37th state to ratify the amendment.


Women across the nation are rising up and pushing back against laws and policies that deny our equality. By voting to ratify the ERA, Illinois lawmakers are saying to women everywhere, ‘We hear you, and we stand with you.’


The Equal Rights Amendment, SJRCA 4, declares that equality of rights will not be denied by the United States or any state on account of sex. It initially was introduced in Congress in 1923 and was sent to the states for ratification 46 years ago.


It may come as a surprise, but women have no guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution. Several advancements for women’s rights, such as the Equal Pay Act and Title IX, could be repealed by a majority vote in Congress. The executive branch also could reduce enforcement of these acts.


The bottom line is women’s rights are in jeopardy as long as our equality is not cemented in the Constitution.


Other states that have ratified the ERAThis is not the first time I have sponsored this legislation, or the first time Illinois has considered ratifying it. Since 1972, both chambers have voted on this legislation multiple times but have never achieved the three-fifths majority in both chambers necessary for ratification. Decades of widespread misinformation have hindered Illinois’ ability to ratify the amendment.


Opposition has argued that the ERA would open women to being drafted and that it would hurt mothers in custody or divorce battles. The fact is the ERA would strengthen protections and legal standards for women.


Another exciting aspect of SJRCA 4 is that it is the first piece of legislation that passed the Senate with the support of the bipartisan Senate Women’s Caucus. I helped found this caucus in the fall and am proud that a measure so fundamental to many women’s issues is the first bill the caucus endorsed.


For Illinois to ratify the ERA to the U.S. Constitution, three-fifths of House members must vote in support of SJRCA 4. Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is sponsoring the legislation in the House.


I will keep you updated on what happens with this historic legislation. I hope that together we can make Illinois the 37th state to ratify the ERA.


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


One Summer Chicago


I encourage students to apply for summer job and internship opportunities through the One Summer Chicago Program. The City of Chicago is accepting applications for more than 30,000 positions. The application deadline is May 21.


The One Summer Chicago Program will run from July 2 through Aug. 10. Job opportunities range from forestry projects to office work to infrastructure jobs. Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 24. For more information and to apply, click here.


Illinois bicentennial coin competition


Calling all artists! The Illinois treasurer’s office is holding a competition to design one side of the 2918 bicentennial medallion. Designs will be judged based on creativity, uniqueness and quality, among other factors. Participants must be Illinois residents and are limited to one design submission. The deadline is May 1. For more information, click here.


Bicentennial Coin Contest



Keep track of what’s happening in Springfield


Keeping track of all the bills heard in Senate committees can be difficult. I started a newsletter to help you track the noteworthy bills that are scheduled to be heard in committee each week. Click here to sign up for these weekly emails during the legislative session.


These updates will give you advance notice so that you can submit a witness slip. Before a bill is heard in committee and let lawmakers know if you support or oppose the legislation. This is a vital part of the legislative process that helps me and other lawmakers make informed decisions before voting.



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

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