Dear friends,

This week, Gov. JB Pritzker delivered his first budget address before the General Assembly. He laid out a vision for a balanced budget and, perhaps most importantly, indicated his willingness to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Having the governor propose a balanced budget is a positive step toward restoring stability to our state and ensuring long-term functionality within our government.  Illinois continues to face structural budget challenges and I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker is addressing them head on.

Below, I will share some highlights and details of the governor’s budget. You can also view the full document here.

As one of the Senate’s budget negotiators, I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate over the next few months to develop a budget that significantly moves Illinois toward a solution that achieves financial certainty and builds trust that Illinois is back on the right track.

Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Education spending

Recommended spending increases for education in the governor’s budget include:
•    $375 million for K-12 schools ($25 million more than required by the Evidence Based Funding Formula)
•    $100 million for early childhood education
•    $50 million for MAP grants
•    $10 million for AIM HIGH grants
•    $55 millino for operational support at state universities
•    $13.9 million for operational support for community colleges


Human services spending

Recommended funding for vital human service programs includes:
•    Expanding eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($30 million increase)
•    $7 million increase for Early Intervention programs
•    Supporting nearly 700 new placements for individuals with developmental disabilities ($31.3 million)
•    $107 million to support minimum wage increases for programs including addiction treatment, child care, developmental disabilities, home services and other community services
•    $103.2 million increase to Home Services Program funding in recognition of a growing caseload
•    $6 million increase in funding for new lead screening cases
•    $65 million to address rate increases for workers within the Community Care Program and other senior support services


Revenue increases


In his address, Gov. Pritzker reiterated his support for a graduated income tax in Illinois. Illinois is one of only nine states with a flat tax rate, and it is time to update our tax structure so that an undue burden does not fall on lower-income and middle-class people.

This can only be accomplished with a Constitutional amendment and a ballot referendum, however, and Illinois needs revenue in the meantime to address the bill backlog that ballooned under Governor Rauner.

To that end, Gov. Pritzker proposed the following revenue increases to generate $1.1 billion:

•    Decouple from federal tax credit for repatriated corporate income - $94 million
•    Legalize sports wagering - $212 million (license fees)
•    Legalize adult-use cannabis - $170 million (license fees)
•    7 cent plastic bag tax - $20 million
•    Phase out School Scholarship Credits - $6 million (in year one)
•    Progressive tax structure for video gaming - $89 million
•    Cap retailer’s discount to $1,000 per month - $75 million
•    Increase cigarette tax by 30 cents per pack - $55 million
•    Tax e-cigarettes under same structure as tobacco cigarettes - $10 million
•    Managed care assessment program - $390 million
Click here to view the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget’s full analysis of the budget proposal.

 

Steans Facebook Image

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Gov. JB Pritzker’s first budget address:  

“Having the governor propose a balanced budget is a positive step toward restoring stability to our state and ensuring long-term functionality within our government.  Illinois continues to face structural budget challenges and I am encouraged that Governor Pritzker is addressing them head on.

“I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate over the next few months to develop a budget that significantly moves Illinois toward a solution that achieves financial certainty and builds trust that Illinois is back on the right track.”

 

Dear friends,

On Jan. 31, the Illinois Department of Health officially began accepting patients to the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP), an innovative approach to tackling the devastating opioid crisis in our state.

The OAPP was created by the Alternatives to Opioids Act, which I cosponsored in the Senate last year. It gives patients temporary access to medical cannabis after a doctor certifies that they have a condition for which opioids might be prescribed.

To qualify for this program as a patient, you must:

•    Be an Illinois resident age 21 or older 
•    have been prescribed an opioid or have a health condition or disease for which you could be prescribed an opioid
•    obtain a certification from your physician
•    NOT have a CDL-driver's license or a school bus driver permit
•    NOT be a current participant in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

You will need the following documents to apply:

•    Government-issued ID (Current Illinois driver's license or state ID)
•    Proof of address which matches your driver's license or state ID (ie, utility bill, voter's registration card, bank statement)
•    2'x2' color passport photo
•    Application fee -$10 for each 90-day period. Only credit, pre-paid credit, or debit cards are accepted
•    Select a dispensary

After securing these documents, you will need to:

•    Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss whether medical cannabis is a treatment alternative to opioids.
•    Ask your doctor to complete an online physician certification confirming your diagnosis.*
•    Once the physician certification has been entered online, you may register for the program.
•    Register online; a $10 registration fee is required.
*Physician certifications are valid for 90-days but can be renewed.

The administrative rules were released and implemented Dec. 1. Anyone who applied on or after Dec. 1 will receive almost immediate access to the program. For individuals who applied online provisional access will be granted by the form of eRegistry card to the dispensary they selected as long as they have a valid email address on file. Individuals who applied via mail will be receiving a letter they can use as their provisional access along with another form of ID to their local dispensary for immediate access while their application is approved and sent out by the department. Those individuals that applied before Dec. 1, and have not received any correspondence from the Department of Public Health in regards to their application should reach out to my office to have the status of their application checked.

If you have any question about your application, this program or any other matters, please contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online.


Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Dear friends,

On Jan. 31, the Illinois Department of Health officially began accepting patients to the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP), an innovative approach to tackling the devastating opioid crisis in our state.

The OAPP was created by the Alternatives to Opioids Act, which I cosponsored in the Senate last year. It gives patients temporary access to medical cannabis after a doctor certifies that they have a condition for which opioids might be prescribed.

To qualify for this program as a patient, you must:

  • Be an Illinois resident age 21 or older  
  • have been prescribed an opioid or have a health condition or disease for which you could be prescribed an opioid
  • obtain a certification from your physician
  • NOT have a CDL-driver's license or a school bus driver permit
  • NOT be a current participant in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

You will need the following documents to apply:

  • Government-issued ID (Current Illinois driver's license or state ID)
  • Proof of address which matches your driver's license or state ID (ie, utility bill, voter's registration card, bank statement)
  • 2'x2' color passport photo
  • Application fee -$10 for each 90-day period. Only credit, pre-paid credit, or debit cards are accepted
  • Select a dispensary

After securing these documents, you will need to:

  • Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss whether medical cannabis is a treatment alternative to opioids.
  • Ask your doctor to complete an online physician certification confirming your diagnosis.*
  • Once the physician certification has been entered online, you may register for the program.
  • Register online; a $10 registration fee is required.

*Physician certifications are valid for 90-days but can be renewed.

The administrative rules were released and implemented Dec. 1. Anyone who applied on or after Dec. 1 will receive almost immediate access to the program. For individuals who applied online provisional access will be granted by the form of eRegistry card to the dispensary they selected as long as they have a valid email address on file. Individuals who applied via mail will be receiving a letter they can use as their provisional access along with another form of ID to their local dispensary for immediate access while their application is approved and sent out by the department. Those individuals that applied before Dec. 1, and have not received any correspondence from the Department of Public Health in regards to their application should reach out to my office to have the status of their application checked.

If you have any question about your application, this program or any other matters, please contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online.

Sincerely,

Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th District

Dear Friends,

Throughout our nation’s history, the African-American community has played a vital role in shaping our culture, values and society. Despite the impact this community has had on our nation, their accomplishments and influence often go unrecognized.

While history classes teach our children about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, they often fail to mention other black historical figures who made great strides in many different fields of work. Bessie Coleman was the first female African-American aviator, who broke through socioeconomic and racial barriers to fly. Matthew Henson, born to sharecropper parents, was the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.

In order to tell the neglected stories of African Americans like Coleman and Henson and to recognize the individuals in this marginalized community who overcame their circumstances and helped build, fight and die for their country, our nation dedicates the month of February as Black History Month.

There are many events throughout Chicago celebrating Black History Month. A list of events open to the public is below.

Citywide Events

Film Screening: Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Friday, Feb. 1, 7-9 p.m.
Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University
40 Arts Cir Dr, Evanston, IL 60208
Summary of the film: This insightful, moving and visually breathtaking documentary offers a glimpse into the emotional geography of African-American lives in the South. For more information, click here.

Chicago History Book Club: The Black Panther Party
Saturday, Feb. 9, 10-11:30 a.m.
Edgewater Library
6000 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Chicago History Book Club discusses the history of The Black Panther Party through the following readings:
From the Bullet to the Ballot by Jakobi Williams
The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas
For more information, click here.

Film Screening: The Color of Art
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2-4:30 p.m.
The Dusable Museum of African-American History
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
Summary of the film: This documentary explores the present-day renaissance of black art in Chicago, centered on neighborhoods such as Bronzeville and organizations such as the South Side Community Arts Center and the Hyde Park Art Center. For more information, click here.

An Unforgettable Afternoon with Diane Williams
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2-4 p.m.
Sulzer Regional Library
4455 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Diane Williams is a Chicago poet and author who has published poetry, essays, fiction and dramas, and has performed in Chicago and New York City. She will be making a rare public appearance to celebrate Black History Month. For more information, click here.

Family Traditions: Stories with Mama Edie
Monday, Feb. 11, 5-5:45 p.m.
Chicago Bee Library
3647 S State St, Chicago, IL 60609
Renowned storyteller Mama Edie will read about kinfolk and African-American family traditions for children. For more information, click here.

Book Club: The Other Wes Moore
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 6-7 p.m.
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S State St., Chicago, IL 60605
The Other Wes Moore follows the story of two boys with the same name. In celebration of African American History Month, Harold Washington Library will be holding a discussion on the book. For more information, click here.

Black History Month Celebration at Loyola
Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Loyola Park
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave, Chicago IL 60626
This event will celebrate the rich heritage of African-American, African, and Caribbean families at the park. The program includes music, spoken words, historical remembrances and refreshments. The event is free to the public and for all ages. For more information, click here.

Loyola Park Advisory Council Black History Month Celebration
Sunday, Feb. 24, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Loyola Park Fieldhouse
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
This free event will feature works of art by Chicago Public School students.

Author Elliot J. Gorn’s Discussion on Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till
Monday, Feb. 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S State St., Chicago, IL 60605
Author Elliott J. Gorn discusses his new book titled Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till. For more information, click here.

Kindred Spirits: Silk Screen T-Shirts
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Rogers Park Library
6907 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626
Learn how to make a silk screen t-shirt to take home featuring an African-American Heritage-themed “Kindred Spirits” design. T-shirts will be provided for children. Registration is required. For more information, click here.

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

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