Senator Steans on the Senate floorNow that legislation to protect women’s reproductive rights in Illinois has reached the governor’s desk, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) is calling on him to uphold his commitment to support House Bill 40.

“I am heartened by recent reports that the governor has stepped back from his threat to veto House Bill 40,” Steans said. “This is his opportunity to stand on the right side of history and send a strong message to women that Illinois will remain a state where you can legally exercise your right to choose.”

Up until today, the Senate had placed a parliamentary hold on House Bill 40 to allow the governor time to reconsider his threat to veto this legislation.

“House Bill 40 will provide women with the right to choose regardless of their income level, employer or any changes at the federal level,” Steans said. “Illinois has been a safe-haven where women can legally exercise their right to choose in the Midwest without anti-choice barriers. This legislation takes a big step forward to ensure that freedom continues. I hope the governor will honor the commitment he made as a candidate to support such legislation.”

The governor now has 60 days to take action on the legislation.

Senator Steans on the Senate floorFull practice authority for advanced practice nurses is now law under legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

House Bill 313 also extends the sunset of the Nurse Practice Act, which governs the three nursing licenses in Illinois, until Jan. 1, 2028.

“With the increasing shortage of doctors in rural areas, this new law seeks to provide patients with greater access to care,” Steans said. “Advanced practice nurses that meet the full practice authority certification requirements will now be able to prescribe medication and administer local anesthetics. This law updates an outdated system and recognizes the skills that many advance practice nurses possess.”

The new law includes extensive safeguards to protect patients. To obtain full practice authority status, advanced practice nurses will be required to complete 4,000 hours of clinical experience and 250 hours of continuing education or training. Once this has been completed, advanced practice nurses will be able to practice without a written collaborative agreement from a doctor.

Illinois joins 21 other states and the District of Columbia, which already authorize full practice authority for advance practice nurses. The law takes effect immediately.

Senator Steans in a committee hearingState Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on today’s school funding vote:

“My vote today was a vote for compromise on a historic school funding reform measure. This legislation needed support from both parties in order to pass, and as such, some concessions needed to be made. Though I do not support voucher programs or the tax credit scholarships in this bill, at the end of the day, this measure would implement an evidence-based school funding model that supports every school district in the state.

“This legislation would provide even more funding for Chicago Public Schools than Senate Bill 1 and it would deliver pension parity for Chicago. It also includes the funding necessary for schools to remain open for the entire school year. This is a good deal for Chicago schools.”

05092017CM0249 mStarting in January of 2018 Illinois will have additional safeguards against hate crimes under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

The governor signed House Bill 2390 on Tuesday, which expands the definition of a hate crime to include transgressions that are committed on the grounds of a place associated with a particular religion, not just inside a church, synagogue or place of worship.

“This legislation is designed to send a strong message that we will not tolerate hate crimes in Illinois,” Steans said. “Individuals who deface the grounds of a religious facility will now be held accountable for their actions.”

The law removes the $1,000 restitution cap and allows courts to impose fines that are commensurate with any injury or damages caused. Courts also will have the discretion to award punitive damages. In addition, parents and legal guardians now will be held liable for any damages caused by a minor under the law.

“With recent events in Charlottesville and across the nation, now more than ever it is important to cement the rights and protections of religious organizations into law,” Steans said.

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