SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) voted on several pieces of legislation today that would update Illinois’ outdated tax structure and allow the state to implement a fair tax.

Steans voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would delete language prohibiting a fair tax and allow Illinois to tax lower incomes at lower rates and higher incomes at higher rates.

“Rates of income inequality are the highest they have been since 1928, the year preceding the Great Depression,” Steans said. “While the gap between the wealthiest Illinoisans and working and middle-class families continues to grow, the tax rate for everyone stays the same. Updating our tax structure will give us the flexibility to enact a system that is fair for everyone.”

If the amendment passes the Illinois House with a three-fifths majority vote, it will be placed on the November 2020 ballot. If 60 percent of those voting on the question vote “yes,” the Constitution will be amended.

Steans also voted to approve legislation sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) that sets rates for a fair tax, providing the constitutional amendment is approved.

Under Hutchinson’s plan, contained in Senate Bill 687, 97 percent of taxpayers would see either no change or a decrease in their tax rate. Only the top 3 percent of earners would pay more.

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 and Senate Bill 687 passed the Senate today and now head to the House for consideration.

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04102019CM1053 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate yesterday that would update Illinois’ suicide prevention strategy.

Steans’ measure requires the Department of Public Health to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide in Illinois. In 2016, suicide caused more deaths than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

“Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

Steans’ measure requires the department, working with the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance, to develop recommendations to prevent suicide using evidence based practices and promote any coordinating activity needed to implement them.
Suicide caused nearly 1,500 deaths in Illinois in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

In addition to lives lost, suicide has a significant economic impact on Illinois, with each suicide death resulting in more than $1 million in medical costs and work loss costs, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Senate Bill 1425 passed the Senate without opposition and now heads to the House for consideration.

03142019CM0702 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation today requiring business, environmental and power agencies to work together to create a plan to make Illinois’ energy industry completely carbon-free by 2030.

“Recent reports from the scientific community show that climate change is an even more pressing issue than we imagined and that we must take immediate action in order to avoid disastrous consequences,” Steans said. “Since the current presidential administration shows little willingness to accept these facts, it is up to individual states to make the change to renewable energy.”

Steans’ measure tasks the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Power Agency to work together to design a policy plan to decarbonize Illinois’ energy sector and phase out polluting power plants over the next decade.

Many electric power plants burn coal, oil or natural gas in order to generate electricity for energy needs, which results in carbon emissions contributing to climate change. Whereas the renewable energy industry, comprising alternative energy and sustainable energy companies, includes carbon free alternatives such as hydroelectric power, wind power and solar power generation.   

This measure is a part of a larger effort by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Senate Bill 2020 passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee without opposition today and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

03062019CM0998 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke at a press conference Wednesday with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about her legislation that would develop a new state suicide prevention strategy.

Steans’ measure creates the Office of Suicide Prevention within the Department of Public Health in order to address suicide in Illinois, which caused more deaths in 2016 than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

“Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

There is currently no department charged with looking into ways to prevent suicide, which caused nearly 1,500 deaths in Illinois in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

Steve Moore, AFSP Illinois Chapter Board co-chair and National Public Policy Council member, joined Senator Steans to discuss best practices to prevent suicide and present an art project depicting the scope of suicides in Illinois.

Throughout the day on Wednesday, advocates at the Capitol placed 1,474 rose petals on an 8-foot poster inside the word “HOPE” as a graphic illustration of the number of Illinois residents lost to suicide.

“AFSP’s advocates have a personal stake in improving Illinois’ suicide prevention efforts,” Moore said.
“They have lost someone to suicide or fought against suicide themselves and want to ensure that others do not have to endure the same experience.”

Senate Bill 1425 has been assigned to the Senate Public Health Committee.

 

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