May 24, 2016
What happens in Springfield affects you and your community, but especially at the end of the spring legislative session, following the action and separating rumors from fact can be difficult.
Representative Kelly Cassidy and I will host a virtual town hall this Thursday to provide you with a live update from the Capitol. Submit your questions prior to the event, and we'll answer as many as we can and email you with a response if we run out of time. Scroll down for details on how to join us on Thursday.
While work continues on a comprehensive budget, Illinoisans still don't know where the governor stands on desperately needed stopgap funding for human services providers, many of which are on the verge of running out of money and closing their doors. From Southern Illinois to the Sun-Times, pressure is building on Gov. Rauner to sign SB 2038 and provide immediate relief to the state's most vulnerable and those who are meeting their daily needs even as the state fails to meet its contractual obligations.
From the editorial board of The Southern Illinoisan: "We urge the governor to sign SB2038 ... Because all 167 'yay' votes in the General Assembly realize that the $700 million contains zero dollars from the state's General Revenue Fund. That's correct: the out-of-balance state revenue and expense picture is in no way impacted by this bill. It's money that MUST be spent on human services. $450 million comes from a dedicated 'Commitment to Human Services Fund' while the remaining $250 million comes from other state and federal (pass-through) funds. Ironic that the Governor is hesitant to release money from a 'Commitment to Human Services' fund, don't you think? Perhaps a commitment to 'winning' has clouded his sight."
And from the Sun-Times' Mitch Dudek: "Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday dodged the question of whether he will sign a bill on his desk that provides $700 million in emergency funding for groups that provide social services to the state's most vulnerable residents. 'These short-term fixes aren't really where we should focus our time,' he said, characterizing the legislation as a 'short-term Band-Aid...'"
You can add your voice by calling the governor's office at (312) 814-2121 or submitting your comments electronically here.
Sincerely,Senator Heather Steans7th District – Illinois
Join us for a virtual town hall live from Springfield!
Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy
Virtual Town Hall - click HERE to participate
6 p.m. on Thurs., May 26
Submit questions prior to the event by clicking HERE
5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640
773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)
122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
May 17, 2016
Illinois' system of funding public education is one of the least equitable in the nation. Far too often, where a child lives determines the quality of his or her education in Illinois public schools. The distribution of state resources doesn't do nearly enough to counterbalance the effects of poverty and inadequate local tax bases. And the Chicago Public Schools - the state's largest school district and one of the most challenged by poverty, with 87 percent of students coming to school from low-income households - is subject to an additional inequity, because unlike every other district in Illinois, its pension costs are not covered by the state.
Last week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 231, a comprehensive plan to reform state education funding. It replaces an outdated funding formula with one that takes into account student need and each community's ability to pay for its schools. It also takes a step toward parity for CPS by making the state responsible for the normal yearly cost of the employer contribution toward its teacher pensions. Chronically under-resourced school districts throughout the state - and the students they serve - will benefit.
This important legislation is now in the hands of the House. If you are concerned about K-12 education in Illinois and the continued ability of the Chicago Public Schools to educate our city's children, and if you don't believe students' opportunities should be limited by where they live, please sign my petition urging members of the House to vote for SB 231.
Please feel free to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 or by clicking here to send me a message on this or any other legislative topic.
April 12, 2016
I'm pleased to invite you to two important events I'm co-sponsoring in our community this week. Please scroll down for details.
On Thursday night, explore one of the factors perpetuating our city's and our nation's appalling number of gun deaths: the easy availability of firearms. First, we will watch Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA. This documentary film investigates the NRA's successful lobbying effort against gun regulations and also features interviews with gun violence survivors and victims' family members. A discussion will follow the movie.
On Saturday, join your neighbors to beautify and improve our community on Clean and Green Volunteer Day.
Please call my office at (773) 769-1717 if you would like more information.
March 24, 2016
Along with some of my valued colleagues in public service, I'm proud to present three thought-provoking and informative discussions on current issues.
Next Wednesday, March 30, State Senator Andy Manar, State Representative Kelly Cassidy, Alderman Harry Osterman and I will hold a town hall meeting on inequities in school funding. Sen. Manar has been at the forefront of convening task forces and introducing legislative proposals to overhaul our outdated education funding formula, which does not adequately match resources to needs.
On Sunday, April 3, I'm excited to sponsor (along with Rep. Cassidy and Ald. Joe Moore) a "Know Your Rights" seminar. Representatives from the ACLU, ICIRR, ONE Northside and the Office of the Cook County Public Defender will help you understand your rights when you are interacting with the police. This workshop will be the first of many community discussions on public safety.
On April 14, Rep. Cassidy and I will host a screening of a documentary entitled Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA. The movie will be followed by panel discussion on gun violence and how we can work to curb the firearms industry's tendency to put profits over people.
Details on these events can be found below. Please call my office or send me a mesasge through my website with any questions.
Education Funding Inequities Town Hall
Know Your Rights!
Gun violence movie and discussion
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