SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) issued the following statement on today’s passage of a compromise budget that funds human services and state government operations through Floor 6 30 16 webJanuary and K-12 schools for the full fiscal year:

Today’s vote allows schools to open on time, relieves uncertainty about their ability to stay open this year and staves off disaster for our remaining social services providers and the vulnerable populations they serve. It is – unequivocally – progress. But it is also a step that should have been taken more than a year ago and one that will not fully or immediately revive the many organizations that have already cut staff and/or closed their doors.

I don’t intend to let the good news of a short-term budget compromise become an excuse for complacency. Instead, this legislation is a model for what can be accomplished when partisan barricades are abandoned and trust is built on a foundation of shared priorities. The rank-and-file working group process eventually bore fruit through a hard-won trust that launched a productive conversation with and among leadership.

I look forward to a continued conversation about responsible budgeting and the revenue and reforms needed to sustain it. While pressure can incite action, it can also take a tremendous human toll on individuals and families who are in no way to blame for the state’s fiscal crisis. That’s the wrong way to govern, but we’ve seen it happen time and again in the past year and a half, and it will continue unless we not only budget appropriately for the future but repair the damage inflicted during the impasse.

####

 

Senator Steans

June 7, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

The May 31st end of regular session came and went for a second year without a balanced budget. This is simply wrong and devastating for the state. College students will not receive scholarships, and high school seniors will be counseled to attend colleges outside Illinois. Survivors of sexual assault will not have access to services. Seniors will not receive home-delivered meals. Small businesses and social services agencies will continue to not get paid, and more of them will close their doors. The list goes on.

 

We need a comprehensive budget that includes spending reductions and new revenue to provide financial certainty and stability to the state and our residents. The Governor continues to demand elements of his turnaround agenda be passed before increasing revenue, which he acknowledges is needed for a permanent solution. There are working groups addressing some of these items, and I believe they are making good progress. I support compromising on some items, like workers' compensation, to achieve a bipartisan agreement and move the state forward. You can see me discuss the budget impasse with a panel of legislators on Chicago Tonight.

 

Rather than having the opportunity to vote on a comprehensive solution, however, the House passed a partial budget that did not provide needed revenue, and the Governor vowed to veto it. This budget received only 17 votes in the Senate; I was among those who voted no. The Senate, in turn, passed a K-12 education-only budget that would ensure no school district would receive less funding than the current year and would invest an additional $700 million in high-poverty, low-wealth school districts throughout the state (I voted yes). The House did not pass this budget.

 

There is now a group of appropriations chairs from each of the four legislative caucuses meeting with the Governor's budget team to negotiate a stopgap budget. The aim of this effort is to provide a full year budget for K-12 education and a six-month budget for remaining functions to ensure government and its vendors/social service providers can continue to function. As an appropriations chair, I am part of this team and continue to push for a comprehensive plan to end the destruction the budget impasse is causing around the state. A complete solution is unquestionably the right thing to do, and we should not wait until after the November election. We need to end this absurdity now.

 

Please call me at (773) 769-1717 or contact me via email with any questions or suggestions.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

Senator Steans

June 8, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

Informed by the tragedy in Flint, Michigan, I introduced Senate Bill 550, which would require increased testing for lead in drinking water, especially in schools, and stepped-up efforts to identify and replace lead service lines in water systems. This measure also brings Illinois law into line with federal lead limits and includes new rules to keep the public informed about potential risks in their drinking water. School buildings that serve preschool through fifth-grade students and were built before 1987 must take samples from their drinking water sources and have them tested for lead. If the level of lead in any water sample from a school is 15 parts per billion - the "action level" set in federal law - or higher, parents and guardians must be informed of the level and the associated risks. This legislation passed in the Senate and has been sent to the House for its consideration.

 

Even though this bill has not yet become law, the Chicago Public Schools has been testing schools' water for sources of lead out of an abundance of caution and to ensure student safety. This document shows the planned schedule for testing. Tests are being conducted in conjunction with the City's Departments of Water and Public Health. If a school was built before 1986 (when code changed to prevent use of lead pipes) and houses any preschool or kindergarten program, CPS has put it on the expedited list of 250 buildings to test before the end of the school year. The remaining CPS schools will be tested over the summer and into the fall. You can visit the CPS lead testing website to see more of this information.

 

If you are concerned about your child's possible lead exposure risks, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends going to your pediatrician or one of the local health providers in your community. In addition, CDPH's lead hotline can address any health-related question you may have or help you in deciding whether to have your child tested. For questions or more information, please call (312) 747-5323. For additional information about lead and children's health, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/.

 

Also feel free to contact me at (773) 769-1717 or write to me here with any additional questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

Senator Steans

May 24, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

What happens in Springfield affects you and your community, but especially at the end of the spring legislative session, following the action and separating rumors from fact can be difficult.

 

Representative Kelly Cassidy and I will host a virtual town hall this Thursday to provide you with a live update from the Capitol. Submit your questions prior to the event, and we'll answer as many as we can and email you with a response if we run out of time. Scroll down for details on how to join us on Thursday.

 

While work continues on a comprehensive budget, Illinoisans still don't know where the governor stands on desperately needed stopgap funding for human services providers, many of which are on the verge of running out of money and closing their doors. From Southern Illinois to the Sun-Times, pressure is building on Gov. Rauner to sign SB 2038 and provide immediate relief to the state's most vulnerable and those who are meeting their daily needs even as the state fails to meet its contractual obligations.

 

From the editorial board of The Southern Illinoisan: "We urge the governor to sign SB2038 ... Because all 167 'yay' votes in the General Assembly realize that the $700 million contains zero dollars from the state's General Revenue Fund. That's correct: the out-of-balance state revenue and expense picture is in no way impacted by this bill. It's money that MUST be spent on human services. $450 million comes from a dedicated 'Commitment to Human Services Fund' while the remaining $250 million comes from other state and federal (pass-through) funds. Ironic that the Governor is hesitant to release money from a 'Commitment to Human Services' fund, don't you think? Perhaps a commitment to 'winning' has clouded his sight."

 

And from the Sun-Times' Mitch Dudek: "Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday dodged the question of whether he will sign a bill on his desk that provides $700 million in emergency funding for groups that provide social services to the state's most vulnerable residents. 'These short-term fixes aren't really where we should focus our time,' he said, characterizing the legislation as a 'short-term Band-Aid...'"

 

You can add your voice by calling the governor's office at (312) 814-2121 or submitting your comments electronically here.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Join us for a virtual town hall live from Springfield!

 

Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Virtual Town Hall - click HERE to participate

6 p.m. on Thurs., May 26

Submit questions prior to the event by clicking HERE

Questions? Call Rep. Cassidy's office at (773) 784-2002 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

legislative survey

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492