IMG 7133 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans celebrated the culmination of two years of work as her legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis became law today.

The new law includes the most comprehensive restorative justice measures of any state that has legalized cannabis, seeking to combat the disproportionate harm some communities suffered due to discriminatory drug policies and over-policing.

“I am proud to say that, by working with hundreds of stakeholders and spending years seeking community input, we have crafted the most just, well-regulated cannabis plan in the country,” Steans said. “This law keeps our children safe by prioritizing public safety, includes extensive restorative justice measures and brings in much-needed revenue for our state. I am thankful to all of my colleagues who stayed with me in this fight and to Gov. JB Pritzker for making it law.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, adults 21 and older will be able to possess any combination of the following:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product

To prioritize restorative justice, the law allows for the automatic expungement of convictions dealing with amounts of cannabis under 30 grams. For convictions dealing with amounts of 30-500 grams, state’s attorneys or individuals can petition a court to vacate the conviction.

It invests significantly in communities harmed by discriminatory drug law, creating the Recover, Reinvest and Renew Program (R3) program to provide grants and assistance to those areas.

After agency administrative needs and costs related to expungement are covered, the remaining revenue from taxes and licensing fees will be distributed as follows:

  • 2% for public education and safety campaigns
  • 8% for law enforcement funds for prevention and training to be distributed through the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) formula
  • 25% for Recover, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program
  • 20% for programs that address preventative substance abuse programs and mental health services
  • 10% for the bill backlog
  • 35% or the remaining amount for the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF)

This law makes Illinois the first state in the country to legalize cannabis through the legislative process, rather than a ballot initiative.

The law is effective immediately, but the sale and possession of cannabis remain illegal until Jan. 1, 2020.

 

 

P1030285SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), issued the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bipartisan, balanced budget into law:

“This budget is an example of what happens when we work together and work with a governor who is willing to come to the table in good faith and pass a budget that benefits the people of Illinois.

“We are still recovering from years of chaos, and this budget is a giant step in the right direction. We are restoring funding to vital human service programs, exceeding our required education funding and meeting our pension obligation for the seventh year in a row.

“I hope today sends a message to the people of Illinois that we are working to restore stability to our state and invest in its future.”

Balanced budget honors commitments, invests in state’s future

05292019CM1690 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s lead budget negotiators, issued the following statement after voting to approve a balanced budget:

“This year’s budget cements our commitment to stability and our willingness and ability to put years of chaos behind us.

“This is a responsible plan that honors our obligations while prioritizing programs that invest in the future of our state, like early childhood education and grants for college-bound students.

“We are also providing much-needed funding for those who serve our most vulnerable citizens. Home health care workers will get a long-awaited raise. The Department of Children and Family Services will receive appropriations to hire new staff, reducing worker caseload and ensuring more attentive oversight for children and families under the agency’s care.

“Overall, the budget sends a clear message: Illinois is not merely surviving; we are thriving.”

05212019CM0481 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) is continuing her effort to introduce an inclusive curriculum to Illinois schools that celebrates the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Steans passed legislation out of the Senate today that will require public schools to teach students learning history about the contributions LGBTQ individuals made to Illinois and the United States.

“One of the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” Steans said. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version of history but also promote acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”

Currently, Illinois schools are required to teach students about the role and contributions of African Americans and other ethnic groups, as well as about women’s history, the history of the labor movement and disability history.

According to a 2015 survey conducted by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, nearly 70 percent of LGBTQ students in Illinois have been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation.

“It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents of harassment,” Steans said. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”

House Bill 246 passed the House and Senate and now awaits the governor’s signature.

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