microbeadsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) thanked her allies in the environmental movement for their persistence and the personal care industry for its cooperation as Illinois became the first state in the nation to ban non-biodegradable “microbeads” that threaten Great Lakes ecosystems. Governor Quinn signed legislation Steans sponsored to phase out the manufacture of microbeads in Illinois by 2017 and their sale by 2018.

“Lake Michigan is a critically important natural resource for our state, and its health affects recreation, tourism and the flourishing of aquatic plant and animal species,” Steans said. “I’m proud that Illinois is an environmental leader, taking the first step away from plastic microbeads toward natural exfoliants, and I’m optimistic that we’ve started a nationwide movement to protect not just the Great Lakes, but other bodies of water with high concentrations of microbeads.”

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equalityWhile more than 15 Illinois counties have issued marriage certificates to same-sex couples since a federal judge ruled they could in February, all of Illinois’ 102 counties will officially begin issuing licenses on Sunday (courthouses closed on Sunday for the weekend will begin issuing licenses on Monday).

“This is a day to celebrate the hard work of so many Illinois families whose commitment to human rights and basic fairness made this moment possible,” said Senator Heather Steans (D – Chicago).

The Senate took the historic first step toward same-sex marriage last February by passing Marriage Equality legislation on Valentine’s Day. The measure was held in the House until November, when it passed and was sent back to the Senate for a second reaffirming vote.

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eraSPRINGFIELD – Today, the Illinois Senate approved a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. If three-fifths of House members agree, Illinois will become the 36th state to ratify the ERA, and only two additional states will need to sign on in order to reach the three-fourths threshold for constitutional amendments.

“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,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D - Chicago), sponsor of the resolution. “From equal pay to equal health care access to fair treatment on college campuses, women’s rights are at risk as long as they are not protected in the Constitution.”

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.” Congress first sent the amendment to the states for ratification in 1972.

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Sponsor Steans hopes to help small businesses get started

opensignRSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) secured Senate passage today of legislation that will reduce Illinois’ filing fee for establishing a limited liability company to $39 – the lowest in the nation. The current fee in Illinois is $500.

“Small businesses are powerful engines of economic growth in our state, employing 48 percent of the private-sector workforce,” Steans said. “Anything we can do to make it easier and less expensive to start a new business is a boon to entrepreneurs, job seekers and the entire economy.”

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