June 8, 2016
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,Senator Heather Steans7th District – Illinois
5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640
773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)
122 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
May 24, 2016
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.
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
May 17, 2016
Illinois' system of funding public education is one of the least equitable in the nation. Far too often, where a child lives determines the quality of his or her education in Illinois public schools. The distribution of state resources doesn't do nearly enough to counterbalance the effects of poverty and inadequate local tax bases. And the Chicago Public Schools - the state's largest school district and one of the most challenged by poverty, with 87 percent of students coming to school from low-income households - is subject to an additional inequity, because unlike every other district in Illinois, its pension costs are not covered by the state.
Last week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 231, a comprehensive plan to reform state education funding. It replaces an outdated funding formula with one that takes into account student need and each community's ability to pay for its schools. It also takes a step toward parity for CPS by making the state responsible for the normal yearly cost of the employer contribution toward its teacher pensions. Chronically under-resourced school districts throughout the state - and the students they serve - will benefit.
This important legislation is now in the hands of the House. If you are concerned about K-12 education in Illinois and the continued ability of the Chicago Public Schools to educate our city's children, and if you don't believe students' opportunities should be limited by where they live, please sign my petition urging members of the House to vote for SB 231.
Please feel free to contact my office at (773) 769-1717 or by clicking here to send me a message on this or any other legislative topic.
SPRINGFIELD – The House and Senate sent Governor Rauner a stopgap budget today that will offer relief to many social services providers struggling to stay afloat during the funding impasse, which has now entered its eleventh month.
“While this is still not a complete budget, it is the latest bipartisan step in the direction of full funding for essential state services, and I am encouraged by the conversations that have taken place across the aisle and between the House and Senate to make this happen,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th), who presented the legislation in the Senate. “My priority remains keeping services available for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents while continuing to work on balanced and responsible budgets for the current year and the coming year.”
Senate Bill 2038 releases $715 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund and a number of smaller funds in order to pay for community mental health care, homelessness assistance, sexual assault victims’ services, services for people with disabilities, meals for low-income seniors, addiction treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more.
It will take effect if signed by the governor.
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