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.”

05292019CM1071 rSPRINGFIELD – After two years of work, hundreds of meetings with stakeholders and over a dozen public hearings, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation today that would make it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and use cannabis.

The legislation includes some of the most comprehensive restorative justice measures of any state that has legalized cannabis, seeking to combat the disproportionate harm prohibition caused to minority communities.

“Prohibition is not working. It’s time to come up with a better policy,” Steans said. “This plan keeps our children safe by prioritizing public safety, includes extensive restorative justice measures and brings in much-needed revenue for our state.”

Under Steans’ proposal, adults 21 and older would be able to possess any combination of the following beginning Jan. 1, 2020:

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

The measure 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)

House Bill 1438 passed the Senate today and will head to the House for a concurrence vote.

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