Senator Steans

5/23/14

Dear Neighbor,

 

With the end of May and the legislative session nearing, I want to update you on where the development of a budget for the next fiscal year stands and the Equal Rights Amendment I passed out of the Senate yesterday.

 

Budget

 

Illinois’ current income tax rates are scheduled to expire on January 1, 2015. Lowering the individual rate from 5% to 3.75% and the corporate rate from 7% to 5.25% would result in a revenue reduction of $1.6 billion. The General Assembly is debating whether to keep the current rates in place or make significant cuts to core services in order to balance the budget.

The Senate appropriations committees, one of which I chair, have been listening all spring to the testimony of state agencies. They’ve been telling us about the likely effects of a budget cut of this magnitude – outcomes such as eliminating child care subsidies for 23,000 children, mental health services for 40,000 patients, assistance for 11,000 domestic abuse victims and an estimated 13,000 public school teaching positions. Many of my colleagues and I have warned consistently against the devastating impact these reductions would have on real lives, particularly given the significant cuts to state budget already made over the last 5 years (Medicaid cuts of $1.6 billion; closing four prisons, two state psychiatric hospitals and two state centers for people with developmental disabilities; reducing school aid to 89% of per-pupil funding and reducing the number of state employees by 4,000, to name just a few).

Last week, House members voted for a budget, based on maintaining current revenue, that would allow the state to sustain essential services. The House did not pass legislation to keep the revenue in place, however. The Senate determined it was not interested in passing a budget without needed revenues to support it.

This week the Speaker of the House announced that only 34 House Democrats are willing to vote to maintain current tax rates. The House will now vote on a budget based on letting the tax rates expire. It is my hope that my fellow legislators in the House will recognize the short-term and long-term harm these deep cuts to education, human services and public safety are likely to cause, in addition to the harm this will cause to fiscal stability and the State’s bond ratings.

I will continue to lead the charge in the Senate for a responsible budget that brings certainty and fiscal stability to the state and maintains core services.

 

Equal Rights Amendment

 

Yesterday, the Illinois Senate voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment – 42 years after Congress first sent the ERA to the states. It’s hard to believe that in 2014, we still have to debate the appropriateness of declaring the legal equality of men and women, but I told my colleagues, some of whom questioned why we are doing this now, that there’s no time like the present to make history and right this wrong.

The Equal Rights Amendment reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Equal rights for women are such a part of our national fabric that in a 2012 survey, 91 percent said they thought the U.S. Constitution already protected against gender-based discrimination. Yet Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that he does not believe the Constitution guarantees women’s equality under the law, and policies that discriminate on the basis of sex are subject to a standard of review that is less strict than the court’s approach to racial discrimination. When women challenge unequal hiring, promotion or wages, they often face uphill court battles.

Illinois’ state constitution already establishes the equality of men and women. It is fitting – and past time – for Illinois to become the 36th state to ratify the ERA. This can happen if three-fifths of House members approve the ratification resolution.

Generations of women have struggled simply to establish as one of our nation’s core values that discrimination based on gender is wrong, yet this issue is as timely and urgent as ever. From equal pay to reproductive rights to fair treatment on college campuses, women’s rights are at risk as long as they are not protected in the Constitution. It has been an honor to lead the ratification effort in the Senate, and I am deeply conscious of all the trailblazing women who have come before me, shaping Illinois’ society and politics and making possible this long overdue and still crucial step toward full equality.

 

I sincerely welcome your input on the budget or any other legislative matter. Please contact my office (773-769-1717) with your concerns, ideas and questions.

 

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

M120 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Senator Steans

5/21/14

Dear Friends,

 

Here is information on upcoming events in our community.

 

CTA Red and Purple Modernization Phase One Projects
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in February 2012 hosted an open house meeting to discuss the proposed Red and Purple Modernization Project. Since then CTA has been evaluating the benefits and potential impacts of the RPM improvements and has announced the proposed first phase of RPM improvements which will include two components: Modernization of Lawrence to Bryn Mawr and the Red-Purple Bypass. CTA will hold open houses on each of these components.

 

Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Open House
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Truman Community College
1145 W. Wilson Avenue

 

Red-Purple Bypass Open House
Thursday, May 22, 2014
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
19th District Police Department
850 W. Addison Street

 

Click here to access the RPM Modernization website and please contact CTA with any comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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

M120 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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www.SenatorSteans.com

Senator Steans

4/22/14

Dear Friends,

 

As we celebrate Earth Day I want to highlight opportunities we have to create a sustainable environment for future generations. Illinois has the most green-certified buildings. Chicago leads the nation with the most roof top gardens. Increasingly, Chicagoans are becoming more sustainable in their choice of transportation and business enterprises.

 

Yet there is still much to do. Recently, I learned that the exfoliating “microbeads” found in many facial cleansers, soaps, toothpastes and other products are actually made of non-biodegradable plastic. They’re so tiny that millions of them each year make it past sewage treatment systems and into bodies of water, including Lake Michigan, where fish and other animals can ingest them. Environmental research groups that care about the Great Lakes are measuring the concentration of microbeads in the lakes and studying their potential effects on aquatic life.

 

Illinois is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban microbeads. Legislation I introduced will ban the manufacture of products containing microbeads by 2017 and their sale by 2018. Senate Bill 2727 has already passed in the Senate and is ready to be considered in the House. Companies that produce cosmetics containing microbeads even support this bill and plan to transition to natural exfoliants, such as ground almonds and pumice, in the near future. If you want to avoid using microbeads now, check ingredient lists for “polyethylene” or “polypropylene,” chemical names for the plastic spheres.

 

Sen. Steans at a press conference about microbeadsLast week, supporters of the microbead ban held a press conference on the beautiful Lakeside Terrace at Shedd Aquarium. I am grateful to the Illinois Environmental Council as well as Shedd, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Personal Care Products Council for working with me to make this common sense piece of legislation a reality.

 

This Saturday, there are many opportunities to help protect our environment and contribute to a healthy, sustainable future. Please join me at 1245 W. Devon at 9:30 am to beautify planters on Devon. Other opportunities are listed below.

 


Lincoln Square Neighbors North 3rd Annual Spring Clean-Up Event
Saturday, April 26, 2014 10:00AM - 12:00PM
4874 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL
The Lincoln Square Neighbors North require no registration to volunteer for their Spring Clean-Up event! Join your friends and neighbors for some fun and socializing while beautifying our great neighborhood! Please visit website for more information by clicking HERE.

 

46th Ward Events
46th Ward Clean & Green
Saturday April 26 2:00PM - 6:00PM
4544 N Broadway, Chicago, IL
Join the 46th ward in cleaning up the neighborhood and planting trees in the areas in need of green to compliment Earth Day! Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 773-878-4646 For more information visit the website by clicking HERE.

 

47th Ward Events
47th Ward Clean & Green Recycling Event
Saturday, April 26 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
47th Ward Streets & Sanitation, 5333 N. Western, Chicago, IL
There will be two projects in the 47th Ward:

Project 1 - Join the 47th ward neighbors as they help beautify, clean up and improve our corner of the city. The 47th ward will be painting the bottom of the poles that have stickers or grafiiti, ready corners for spring planting and clearing drains, helping older adults to clear out their yards and garages, and manning a collection site for electronic recycling.

Project 2 - The 47th ward will also be recycling litter thrughout the neighborhod and will be accepting old books. Please let Dara from the 47th Ward Office know by April 19th what projects you would like to undertake and Streets and Sanitation can provide brooms, shovels, rakes, bags, and extra volunteers.

Please contact Dara at 773-868-4747 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. For more information on either of the projects listed above please click HERE.

 

48th Ward Events
48th Ward Clean and Green Volunteer Day
Saturday, April 26 9:00 AM - 1:00PM
48th Ward Streets & Sanitation Yard 5853 N Broadway
Come celebrate Earth Day and our community with the 48th Ward, Loyola University of Chicago and the Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project (EESP)! We will sweep, paint and plant our way throughout the 48th ward and improve schools, gardens, parks, and storefronts. After, we will celebrate at the Streets and Sanitation yard with a free barbecue and refreshments.
Volunteers can sign up by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 773-784-5277. For more information check out the website by clicking HERE.

 

49th Ward Events
49th Ward Spring Clean-Up and Participatory Budgeting Early Voting
Saturday, April 26, 2014 9:00 AM
49th Ward Service office 7356 N. Greenview
Come out and help beautify the community and vote early for your favorite projects on the ballot for PB49. Stay and then join us for the “Taste of Rogers Park” that follows! For additional information, contact us at 773-338-5796 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also visit the website by clicking HERE.

 

Touhy Park
Tree-mulching, park beautifying, face painting, and refreshments
7348 N. Paulina
11 am – 1 pm
Click here for information

 

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

M120 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

Senator Steans

3/24/14

Dear Friends,

 

Wednesday, March 26th at 6pm, I will be joining Rep. Kelly Cassidy live for a Virtual Town Hall. During the Town Hall, we will discuss the budget and other issues currently facing our state.

 

There are two different ways to join us on the Virtual Town Hall. If you have a Google account and would like to have the opportunity ask questions in the chat, the link for the Hangout will be posted here before the event. If you would simply like to view the Town Hall, please visit Rep. Cassidy's YouTube channel here. Links will be posted on both sites approximately 30 minutes before the Town Hall begins.

 

We highly encourage you to submit questions beforehand by filling out the form here. Any questions we aren't able to answer will be responded to via email.

 

If you have any additional questions, please contact me at 773-769-1717 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

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

M120 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