Senator Steans

November 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

Today the Illinois State Senate passed legislation to override the governor’s veto on automatic voter registration. I co-sponsored Senate Bill 250 with Senator Manar, which automatically registers eligible voters when they interact with state agencies. The legislation now moves to the House for consideration.

 

Automatic voter registration is estimated to provide access to the ballot to about 2 million eligible voters in 2018 and update the addresses of 700,000 voters.

 

Given the recent election, it is clear now more than ever how important it is to make voting easier. Over the weekend leading up to the election alone, 62,000 Illinoisans registered to vote online, demonstrating a need for increased access to voter registration. Although Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest, we have one of the lowest voting turnouts in the region. Our democracy becomes more representative as more people get involved.

 

Automatic voter registration will help more Illinoisans register to vote, especially minorities. Nearly half of voting-age eligible African-Americans are not registered to vote in Illinois, while nearly 60 percent of Asian-Americans are not registered and 33 percent of women are not registered to vote.

 

Most of you will see this change when you go to the DMV to update your driver’s license or state identification card. At that time, you will be given the chance to opt out of being registered to vote. Otherwise, if you are eligible, your voter information automatically will be added or updated.

 

By automatically registering eligible voters, the state will streamline the registration process and remove duplicative paperwork. Automatic voter registration also maintains accurate voting rolls and ensures that as people move, their voter registration is updated.

 

I will continue to fight for our democracy during this legislative session. As always, please feel free to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

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

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Senator Steans

November 15, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

In the aftermath of the elections there have been reports of children in distress, especially from frequently marginalized youth such as LGBTQ members and immigrants. For refugee and immigrant children, fear of being forcibly separated from family through deportation is clearly traumatic and threatening. LGBTQ youth may be frightened that recent broadening of civil rights and social acceptance may be at risk. Resources that may help during this transitional time are below, and you can click here to review more information from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital on youth health and well-being.

 

Additionally, students may have interpreted language used during the election cycle as permission to bully other students. Bullying is a serious problem facing our children and one that can stunt self-confidence and impede learning in school. I have included links below to some helpful guides on how to talk to children about the election and promote safety.

 

As always, please feel free to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

Support for youth

 

Support for family, parents and caregivers

 

Support for professionals working with youth

 

 

Local human and civil rights organizations

 

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

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

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Senator Steans

October 26, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

From apple bobbing to parades and free trick-or-treating, there is an abundance of Halloween festivities around the district this weekend. I’ve included a list of activities for you and your family to enjoy, as well as some safety tips to ensure that trick-or-treaters have a fun night out.

Trick-or-treaters

 

As you’re preparing for the holiday, have you noticed that you have a Halloween costume gathering dust in your home? If so, why not bring some cheer to a local child by donating it?

 

We are collecting new and gently used costumes to give to after-school programs, social service agencies and other groups that work with children who can't afford a costume.

 

You can drop off costumes at my office (5533 N. Broadway) this week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. We will collect costumes until Friday, Oct. 28. Call 773-769-1717 for more information.

 

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

 

Local Halloween Festivities

 

Friday, Oct. 28:

  • Spook-Tacular Halloween Parade at the Edgewater Library, 6000 N. Broadway (9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.)
    • Join the library for a costume parade around the block followed by story time. Permission slips are required and will count as registration.
  • Gale Elementary School Fall Ball, 1631 W. Jonquil Terrace (2 p.m.-6 p.m.) 
    • Come together to celebrate the holiday with apple bobbing, face painting, games and more for a $1 entry fee.


Saturday, Oct. 29:


Monday, Oct. 31:

  • Halloween Party at Loyola Park (4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.)
    • Wear your costumes and prepare for fun, food and games to celebrate the holiday.

Halloween Party at Loyola Park Flyer

 

Safety tips and tricks for a great night

 

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers.
  • Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to help them see and be seen by drivers.
  • Plan a route in advance.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and layer up for those chilly fall nights.
  • Make sure costumes aren’t too long.
  • Check the candy to make sure it didn’t become unwrapped or exposed while in the goodie bag.
  • When possible, choose face paint over masks.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

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

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Senator Steans

July 5, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

Last week the House and Senate passed and the Governor signed a partial budget compromise that will allow schools to open on time, relieve uncertainty about their ability to stay open this year and stave off disaster for our remaining social services providers and the vulnerable populations they serve.  

It is - unequivocally - progress. But it is also a step that should have been taken more than a year ago and one that will not fully or immediately revive the many organizations that have already cut staff and/or closed their doors.

The deal was comprised of several parts:

Senate Bill 2047:

  • Increases PreK-12 education funding by $331 million, fully funding the current per-pupil Foundation Level for the entire 2016-17 school year and ending the practice of prorating General State Aid to districts in order to account for insufficient appropriations

  • Includes a $250 million "equity grant" that will be distributed to school districts on the basis of need

  • Funds other education programs, including mandated categoricals, agriculture education, bilingual education, student assessments and career and technical programs

  • Appropriates more than $720 million for state agencies' operational expenses; this money will come from General Revenue Funds, the Budget Stabilization ("rainy day") fund and the Commitment to Human Services Fund

  • Will allow the state to pay for many of the costs (such as food, medical care and utilities) incurred at state-run facilities such as prisons

  • Sends $655 million to the state's nine public universities, totaling 90 percent of FY 15 funding for those universities with the smallest reserves and most significant fiscal challenges (Chicago State, Eastern University and Western University) and 82 percent of FY 15 funding for the other six

  • Appropriates $114 million for community colleges, $20 million for emergency expenses in higher education, $50 million for adult education programs and money for various grant programs for veterans, aspiring teachers and others

  • Covers remaining FY 16 MAP grant claims ($151 million), making whole the universities that continued to honor these awards last school year

  • Allocates more than $670 million from the Commitment to Human Services fund for services not covered by a consent decree; this funding can be used to cover both FY 16 and FY 17 expenses

  • These services include the Community Care Program, community mental health, addiction treatment, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, HIV/AIDS services, youth programs, homelessness prevention and services, burials for the indigent, immigration and refugee services, Adult and Juvenile Redeploy Illinois crime diversion programs and more

  • Funding for these programs is equal to 65 percent of an 18-month appropriation (FY 16 plus the first six months of FY 17)

  • Medicaid reimbursements and payments for services rendered under a consent decree will continue to be paid at FY 16 levels

  • Includes the full IDOT capital program for roads and transit

  • Includes money to restart some mothballed infrastructure projects for schools, water systems and park districts

  • Appropriates federal funds and money from "other state funds" for FY 17 (and FY 16 if not already appropriated)

Senate Bill 318:

Allows the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education to levy up to $250 million in property taxes, which will be used to make payments into the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund, helping to stabilize the district's finances and ensure schools remain open

Senate Bill 2822:

Establishes one year of pension parity between CPS (which currently receives almost no money from the state toward its teacher pensions) and other Illinois school districts, which receive the full "employer contribution" toward teacher pensions from the State. Pursuant to a deal reached with the governor, this measure has passed both chambers but is being held in the General Assembly rather than sent to the governor's desk pending debate and passage of a separate pension reform bill at a later date. This will likely be addressed in January. If the pension parity bill is released to the governor and signed, the state would cover $205 million in normal teacher pension costs (i.e., not including payments incurred because of the system's unfunded liability) for CPS for FY 17 only.

Senate Bill 1810:

A Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) that forgives interfund borrowing in order to fund part of the state operations portion of SB 2047 and undertakes other actions needed to put the partial budget into effect.

I don't intend to let the good news of a short-term budget compromise become an excuse for complacency. Instead, this legislation is a model for what can be accomplished when partisan barricades are abandoned and trust is built on a foundation of shared priorities. The rank-and-file working group process eventually bore fruit through a hard-won trust that launched a productive conversation with and among leadership. However, the budget group in which I participated also produced a complete budget; I am dismayed that we were not at the point where all leaders were willing to take that step.

I will continue to fight for a complete, responsible budget and the revenue and reforms needed to sustain it. While pressure can incite action, as it finally did last week, it also takes a tremendous toll on individuals and families who are in no way to blame for the state's fiscal crisis. That's the wrong way to govern, but we've seen it happen time and again in the past year and a half, and it will continue unless we not only budget appropriately for the future but repair the damage inflicted during the impasse. I will use the breathing room provided by this partial budget as an opportunity to work toward that necessary goal.

As always, please feel free to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 with any questions or concerns you may have about this budget or any issue in state government. A good opportunity to chat in person is a coffee I will host at the Swedish American Museum (5211 N. Clark) this Sunday, July 10 from 10-11 a.m. You can also visit my website for a list of upcoming events in the district; I'll be in touch with further announcements as they arise.

 

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

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

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

 

Springfield Office

122 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