Advocates testify on potential economic impact of legalizing marijuana  

Senator Steans and Rep. Cassidy at a press conference with Rick StevesIllinois could see up to $699 million in new revenue by legalizing cannabis use among adults through a measure that would spur economic development while protecting public safety. Lawmakers heard from advocates today during a combined Senate and House hearing.

Among those testifying was nationally-known travel writer and television host Rick Steves, an active proponent for ending America’s prohibition of marijuana.

“I’m not pro-drugs – I’m pro-civil liberties and anti-prohibition,” Steves said. “Marijuana is here to stay. We can either keep building more prisons or figure out a better solution. I think it’s obvious what the solution is, and it’s happening around the country as it did in my home state of Washington. We need to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.”

“It is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that by lifting cannabis restrictions we can encourage economic development in Illinois,” State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “We are carefully considering all aspects and potential impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis, including job growth.”

In addition to increased tax revenue, legalized cannabis could provide a boost for job growth in Illinois. According to a report from New Frontier Data earlier this year, the legal marijuana market could create more than 250,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2020. Legalizing adult-use marijuana creates a variety of jobs including scientists, dispensary employees, growers, among others.

“Legalizing cannabis will spur the creation of new small businesses and much-needed jobs,” State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said. “We are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity on the table by continuing the outdated status quo of prohibition.”
Tax revenue from the proposed legislation would support the State Board of Education; treatment and education programs for responsible marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use; and the state’s General Revenue Fund.

“In Washington, we have a track record and we know it works,” Steves said. “States like mine that have legalized marijuana have learned that use doesn't go up, crime doesn't go up, DUIs do not go up. The only thing that goes up is tax revenue, as we take the thriving illicit market and transform it into a highly regulated and highly taxed system.”

Today’s hearing was part of a series of hearings on the various aspects of legalizing cannabis use among adults. Changes to the legislation may be proposed in the new year based on these findings.

Advocates testify on potential economic impact of legalizing marijuana  

Senator Steans and Rep. Cassidy at a press conference with Rick StevesIllinois could see up to $699 million in new revenue by legalizing cannabis use among adults through a measure that would spur economic development while protecting public safety. Lawmakers heard from advocates today during a combined Senate and House hearing.

Among those testifying was nationally-known travel writer and television host Rick Steves, an active proponent for ending America’s prohibition of marijuana.

“I’m not pro-drugs – I’m pro-civil liberties and anti-prohibition,” Steves said. “Marijuana is here to stay. We can either keep building more prisons or figure out a better solution. I think it’s obvious what the solution is, and it’s happening around the country as it did in my home state of Washington. We need to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.”

“It is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that by lifting cannabis restrictions we can encourage economic development in Illinois,” State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “We are carefully considering all aspects and potential impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis, including job growth.”

In addition to increased tax revenue, legalized cannabis could provide a boost for job growth in Illinois. According to a report from New Frontier Data earlier this year, the legal marijuana market could create more than 250,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2020. Legalizing adult-use marijuana creates a variety of jobs including scientists, dispensary employees, growers, among others.

“Legalizing cannabis will spur the creation of new small businesses and much-needed jobs,” State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said. “We are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity on the table by continuing the outdated status quo of prohibition.”
Tax revenue from the proposed legislation would support the State Board of Education; treatment and education programs for responsible marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use; and the state’s General Revenue Fund.

“In Washington, we have a track record and we know it works,” Steves said. “States like mine that have legalized marijuana have learned that use doesn't go up, crime doesn't go up, DUIs do not go up. The only thing that goes up is tax revenue, as we take the thriving illicit market and transform it into a highly regulated and highly taxed system.”

Today’s hearing was part of a series of hearings on the various aspects of legalizing cannabis use among adults. Changes to the legislation may be proposed in the new year based on these findings.

Senator Steans

November 28, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Giving TuesdayI hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. As we now turn to Giving Tuesday, I’d like to remind you of the robust network of organizations that serve our community. Many are looking for donations to help our neighbors put food on the table, settle into new homes and stay warm during the winter. If you can lend a helping hand, please review the list of donation opportunities for non-profit and social service organizations in District 7 here. If there is a local organization that you feel should be added to this list, please reply to this email or call my office at 773-769-1717 with their information.

I invite you to join me from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6 for a Women’s Fair at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, located at 5649 N. Sheridan Road. This free cross-generational event will include a wide range of exhibitors such as Sarah’s Circle, Planned Parenthood, Edgewater Village, and other organizations that assist women, as well as two panel discussions. Click here to reserve your seat.

The first panel will feature female entrepreneurs who will talk about their experience starting their own business and offer advice to attendees. Confirmed panelists include Mary Morten, who is the president of Morten Group; Sonat Hart, founder of Koval Distillery; Karen Rose, who owns City Olive; and Alex White, founder of the band White Mystery.

The second panel will include women who have been successful in their careers – whether that’s a career in healthcare, the corporate world or the public sector. Confirmed panelists include Cara Smith from the Cook County Sheriff's Office; Jean Franczyk, who is the CEO and president of the Chicago Botanic Garden; Gwenn Rausch, who is the CEO of Heartland Health Centers; and Eva Peroulas, who is the Clinical Nurse Manager of the Family Birthing and Women's Health Center at the Swedish Covenant Hospital. The panelists will discuss topics such as how to get your foot in the door, mentorship programs and choosing a career, among others. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions during both panels.

I hope to see you next Wednesday. Again, please click here to reserve your seat.

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

Women's Fair flyer

 

Annual holiday coat drive

Representative Cassidy, Alderman Osterman and I are collecting new and gently used hats, coats and gloves for local children in need from now until Dec. 21. Please bring donations to my office located at 5533 N. Broadway between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have any questions, please call 773-784-2002 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Holiday coat drive flyer

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)

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Senator Steans

November 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Last week during veto session the Senate took steps to begin to address the issue of sexual harassment in the statehouse. Both the Senate and House approved a measure to require state elected officials, employees and lobbyists to receive sexual harassment awareness training. Though the legislature passed Senate Bill 402 and sent it to the governor a week ago, he has yet to take action on this legislation.

 

The Senate also adopted a resolution to create the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, to which I have just been named. Additionally, we passed a measure to provide the newly appointed inspector general with additional time to investigate pending ethics complaints. The governor has not taken action on that legislation either.

 

Senator Steans announces the formation of the bipartisan Women's CaucusRecognizing the need for a formalized platform on which female Senators can make their voices heard, I formed a bipartisan Women’s Caucus. The purpose of this caucus is to promote and advance women’s issues within the legislature and to support female senators.

 

We’ve seen throughout history that when women mobilize and claim their seat at the table, they break barriers and find solutions to the most stubborn of problems. I expect this caucus will do the same for the women of Illinois.

 

I have included updates on other pieces of legislation that the Senate acted on last week below as well as some upcoming events in the district.

 

The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until after the New Year. If you are interested in receiving more frequent updates on what bills will be heard in committee each week that the Senate is in session, click here to sign up.

 

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

 

 

Legislative action

 

Debt Transparency Act
The Debt Transparency Act requires state agencies to submit a monthly report to the comptroller that details invoices waiting to be paid and the interest penalties those that may accrue on those bills. Before the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of House Bill 3649, agencies were only required to submit a report once a year with the aggregate amount of bills that it held at the end of the fiscal year. By the time the comptroller’s office received this report, it was outdated. Coming out of the budget impasse, I co-sponsored this legislation because I felt it was important to equip the comptroller with the most accurate information possible.

 

Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act
The Senate overrode the governor’s veto of a measure that will help ensure that beneficiaries receive life insurance payments. House Bill 302 requires insurance companies to search electronic records back to 2000 to determine if policyholders have died. Insurance companies will be required to take steps to find and pay beneficiaries.

 

Salary history ban
The Senate failed to override the governor’s veto of legislation that would have prevented employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. I co-sponsored this legislation in hopes that it would decrease the gender wage gap. Some senators were concerned that the fines this legislation would impose would hurt small business owners. I am disappointed that the Senate was unable to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 2462, but I will continue to work with my colleagues to address this issue and advance legislation that addresses the gender wage gap.

 

 

Upcoming events in the district

 

International Day of Unity
Join us this Saturday for the International Day of Unity from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway. This event will feature food, music, art, dance and stories that celebrate the diversity of our neighborhoods. If you are interested in volunteering, please click here to sign up.

International Day of Unity flyer

Women’s Fair
I invite you to join me for a cross-generational women’s fair from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6. The event will take place at St. Andrew’s Greek Church, 5649 N. Sheridan Road, and will feature exhibitors and panel discussions. Click here to reserve your seat.

Women's Fair flyer

 

 

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)

 

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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