Senator Steans

January 30, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

Senator Steans in a committee hearingThis week kicks off the spring legislative session. I look forward to reviewing new legislation as well as measures that were not addressed last year.

 

I have provided a list of noteworthy bills that are scheduled to be heard in committee this week, as well as the committee hearing itinerary below. The Senate plans to discuss legislation to end Illinois’ participation in the Crosscheck voter registration system, create restrictions to the tax credit scholarship program for private schools, and review legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, among other proposals this week.

 

I encourage you to read more about these pieces of legislation and submit a witness slip to indicate whether you support or oppose a bill. For directions on how to submit a witness slip and make your opinion known, click here. You can listen to committee hearings or floor debate in real-time here.

 

The governor will give his State of the State address this Wednesday at noon in the House chambers. Here’s a link to watch and listen to his presentation.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

Noteworthy bills in committee this week

 

Commerce and economic development

  • Local first - HB 1023 creates the "Support your Neighbor Commission" to increase the number of products made in the United States and Illinois that are bought and sold by the State. (Murphy)

  • Entrepreneur learners permit - SB 2281 expands the Entrepreneur Learner's Permit pilot program to encourage and assist beginning entrepreneurs in certain business sectors by reimbursing them for State fees associated with starting a business. (Righter)

Consumer protection

  • Crosscheck - SB 2273 ends Illinois' participation in the Crosscheck voter registration system, a program for sharing voter data among states that poses cyber security risks and has been the basis for discriminatory purging of voter rolls in other states. (Raoul)

  • Russian hacking - HJR 59 creates a task force to address threats from Russian cyber security hackers. (Cunningham)

Education

  • Tax credits - SB 2236 prevents donors from receiving a tax credit for scholarship donations if the state doesn't meet minimum school funding levels. (Bertino-Tarrant)

  • Civics - HB 1252 requires every public elementary school to include at least one semester of civics education in its 6th, 7th or 8th grade curriculum. (Cullerton, J)

  • Common application - SB 2234 establishes a uniform admission process for public colleges and universities in Illinois. (Rose)

  • Tax credit for in-state tuition - SB 2259 allows qualified Illinois parents or students to claim a tax credit based on the family's income needs for higher education expenses at any qualified public or private university, community college, vocational school, or other post-secondary educational institution in Illinois. (Murphy)

Pensions and state contracts

  • Pensions for legislators - SB 2292 makes General Assembly members who retire after 2019 responsible for 50 percent of their General Assembly Retirement System cost. (Bivins)

  • State contracts - SB 2279 prohibits the State of Illinois from entering into or awarding any contract if there is not funding in place for the contract. (Murphy)

Public Health

  • Alternatives to opioids - SB 336 would allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to apply for a temporary medical marijuana card instead through an expedited process. (Harmon)

Taxes

  • Retail store valuations - SB 1793 seeks to end the practice of large retail stores seeking lower assessed valuation and shifting the property tax burden to taxpayers. (Stadelman)

  • Senior property tax exemption - SB 2305 raises the income limit to $75,000 for senior citizens to claim the assessment freeze homestead exemption on their property taxes. The cap currently is $65,000. (Murphy)

Veterans

  • Legionnaires' outbreak - SR 1186 requires the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs' management of the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in veteran homes. (Cullerton, T)

Committee Schedule for Jan. 30

All committee hearings are held in the Capitol building unless otherwise noted.

  • Senate Executive Committee Hearing
    1:30 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee
    1:30 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate State Government Committee
    1:30 p.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Education Committee
    2:45 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  •  Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
    2:45 p.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Higher Education Committee
    4 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Revenue Committee
    5:15 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee Schedule for Jan. 31

 

  • Senate Local Government Committee
    9 a.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Criminal Law Committee
    2:30 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee Schedule for Feb. 1

 

  • Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee
    10 a.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

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

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

 

Senator Steans

January 23, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

Click here to sign the petitionRight now, numerous Illinoisans are suffering from intractable pain, a severe form of chronic pain that is constant and incurable. The only thing standing in their way is the Rauner administration and its refusal to allow these patients access to medical cannabis.

 

Illinois has a fairly strict medical marijuana program, with only about 40 approved conditions. Ann Mednick is a north suburban woman who suffers from a form of intractable pain. She takes opioids to cope but sought a treatment plan with fewer side effects. She sued the Illinois Department of Public Health after it rejected her petition to add intractable pain to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.

 

Last week, a Cook County judge sided with Mednick and ordered IDPH to add the condition to the list.

 

However, given a choice between showing compassion for those suffering from chronic pain or pursuing a costly legal battle, the Rauner administration chose the latter. The administration has said it will appeal the judge’s ruling.

 

Do you think a court appeal is a good use of taxpayer resources? I don’t. That’s why I started a petition to call on Gov. Rauner to drop his fight and add intractable pain to the qualifying condition list for medical cannabis. If you agree, click here to sign the petition.

 

Together, we can work to expand access to medical cannabis and help those who are seeking relief from severe, life-altering pain. Click here to sign the petition telling the governor to drop the lawsuit.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any 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

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

 

Governor should add intractable pain to condition list, not fight it

02072017CM0236 mCHICAGO – Given a choice between showing compassion for those suffering from chronic pain or pursuing a costly legal battle, the Rauner administration should choose compassion, Senator Heather Steans said today.

Steans (D-Chicago) called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to expand access to Illinois’ medical marijuana program by adding intractable pain to the qualifying condition list rather than appeal a judge’s order that the condition be added.

Intractable pain is a severe form of chronic pain that is constant and incurable. It can be resistant to treatment, but some patients can benefit from using medical cannabis.

“Gov. Rauner needs to drop the appeal and allow patients with intractable pain to have access to medical cannabis,” Steans said. “Patients should have an alternative to opioids that doesn’t force them to turn to the black market for medicine.”

A patient with intractable pain recently sued the Illinois Department of Public Health over rejecting her petition to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. A Cook County judge ordered the IDPH director to add it to the list last week.

“It’s time for the governor to show some compassion for Illinoisans who are suffering from severe, life-altering pain and allow them to access medical cannabis for relief,” Steans said.

Senator Steans at a public health hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabisCHICAGO – Issues of teen use and cannabis public education programs were discussed today at the Senate and House committee hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabis.

The committee also heard testimony on issues with the current medical marijuana program from patients and doctors and discussed the opioid epidemic in Illinois.

State Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead Senate sponsor of a measure to tax and regulate cannabis in Illinois. She chaired today’s hearing.

“I hope that by passing this legislation we will make it more difficult for teens to access marijuana,” Steans said.

“As a mother of young adults, I have studied the effect marijuana can have on developing brains and think we need to do everything in our power to keep it out of their hands. However many teenagers have relatively easy access to marijuana within our current system, proving once again that prohibition doesn’t work. By implementing a tax-and-regulate system, they would need to show an ID to enter the dispensary.”

According to a report published last year from Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment, past-month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average and has remained unchanged. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report in 2016 which found that teen use had not significantly changed nationally since legalization.

Legalizing adult-use cannabis not only touches on public health issues, but also affects the criminal justice system and revenue.

“It no longer makes sense to promote antiquated drug policies that disproportionally impact communities of color and at a high cost to taxpayers,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“Legalizing marijuana is an important step in right-sizing our criminal justice system, reducing racial disparities in drug prosecution and generating much-needed revenue. We cannot afford to let long-standing stereotypes and misinformation prevent us from finding common-sense solutions on behalf of our residents.”

An executive from Chicago-based Aclara Research testified at today’s hearing about the role legalized cannabis could play in battling the opioid addiction epidemic in Illinois. A recent independently financed study by Aclara showed that a significant number of patients stopped using opioids once they tried medical cannabis.

“Because of the limitations of the medical marijuana program, patients are forced into the black market to purchase medicine,” Steans said. “By passing this legislation, we would open the market to patients who are currently not covered under the medical marijuana program that may be turning to opioids.”

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