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.

Senator Steans presenting legislationUnder a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), social service providers will have at least 30 days’ notice of a change in contracts with the state.

House Bill 3110 allows authorized social service providers and the state to terminate, suspend or reduce a contract for any reason as long as the other party is provided with 30 days’ notice.

“Immediate contract changes can create an immense financial hardship for social service providers and those they serve,” Steans said. “In the aftermath of the budget impasse, I felt it was important to increase protections for social service contracts and afford providers with more notice so that they can better prepare for financial changes in the future.”

House Bill 3110 also requires state agencies to provide 45 days’ written notice to the governor and legislative leaders if it intends to change a contract because of either a reduction of funds or a failure of appropriation.

“This gives the legislature time to act to prevent reductions of services if they so choose,” Steans said.

This legislation only applies to non-governmental social service providers. It takes effect immediately.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on the Senate’s action to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1:

Senator Steans on the Senate floor“The governor attempted to remove equity for Chicago from Senate Bill 1 in his amendatory veto and force Chicago Public Schools’ students to pay for a pension problem they did not create. To be truly equitable, school funding reform must recognize the fact that Chicago is the only school district in the state that is responsible for its own pension payments. Senate Bill 1 corrects this inequality and provides pension parity for Chicago Public Schools.

“Today I voted with my colleagues in the Senate to override the governor’s veto and bring Illinois students—both in Chicago and throughout the state—one step closer to a fair school funding formula for the first time in decades. It is time for all Illinois students to have access to a quality education, regardless of where they live.”

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