Senator Steans

May 31, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

ERA graphicAs I write this letter to you, I am still beaming from last night. After years of hard work, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

 

This legislation protects all women by declaring that equality of rights will not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. This strengthens legal protections for women and would prevent any future rollbacks to women’s rights policies from Congress or presidential administrations.

 

Those few words have stirred debate within our country for nearly 100 years. The ERA was first introduced in 1923 and was sent to states for ratification in 1972. In many ways, the ERA died in Illinois in the 1970s.

 

Despite false claims from opposition, such as the ERA would force women to be drafted or would harm women in divorce cases, Illinois overcame those arguments and righted the wrong. We are now just one state away from making the ERA the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

Senator Steans on the Senate floorOver in the Senate Wednesday night, lawmakers approved a balanced, bipartisan budget which the House supported today. This budget is the result of negotiations between all four caucuses and represents real compromise. It is truly balanced, spending within our means while implementing some cuts and pension reform to keep our state on a path toward fiscal stability.

 

Above all, the budget is an investment in our communities. From funding for cities and towns to social services to providing educational opportunities, I believe Illinoisans young and old will fare better under this budget than they have in years.

 

The budget provides additional funding for social service providers compared to what the governor proposed, including sexual assault services, community mental health and addiction services. It also raises wages for direct support personnel who care for developmentally disabled individuals and increases funding for Child Care Assistance Program providers.

 

It invests in public K-12 schools by increasing education funding under the evidence-based model. It also increases higher education funding and provides additional opportunities for students to go to college in Illinois through the Monetary Award Program and a new matching grant, AIM HIGH, for universities to award merit-based scholarships to Illinois students.

 

As for pension reform, the budget package lays out a voluntary cost-of-living adjustment buyout for inactive vested Tier 1 pensioners that would allow individuals to invest on their own while saving the state nearly $400 million. It also reduces salary spiking, whereby some school districts increase a teacher’s salary significantly in their last few years of teaching to garner them a greater pension, which the state funds. Currently, the state limits school districts to offering raises of no more than 6 percent. If they offer a higher raise, the district has to pick up the pension difference. Under the budget proposal, raises will be capped at 3 percent to alleviate the burden on state taxpayers.

 

This budget provides the foundation for us to move forward to address the backlog and our pension liability. We still have more work to do, but for a moment, let’s celebrate these victories.

 

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

 

Looking for more?

 

I will provide additional details breaking down the budget on my website in the coming days. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on my legislation and what’s happening in the district.

 

 

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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05252018CM0160 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Heather Steans issued the following statement on the passage of a bipartisan, balanced budget:

“This budget is the result of negotiations between all four caucuses and represents real compromise. It is truly balanced, spending within our means while implementing some cuts and pension reform to keep our state on a path toward fiscal stability.

“It does all of this while still prioritizing the wellbeing of Illinois’ neediest residents.  It provides additional funding for child care assistance and sexual assault services, while rejecting the governor’s proposed cuts to community mental health and addiction services. It also increases education funding for school districts, colleges and universities to continue to grow and strengthen our work force.

“Above all, the budget is an investment in our communities. From funding for cities and towns to social services to providing educational opportunities, I believe that Illinoisans young and old will fare better under this budget than they have in years.”

###

05252018CM0160 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Heather Steans issued the following statement on the passage of a bipartisan, balanced budget:

“This budget is the result of negotiations between all four caucuses and represents real compromise. It is truly balanced, spending within our means while implementing some cuts and pension reform to keep our state on a path toward fiscal stability.

“It does all of this while still prioritizing the wellbeing of Illinois’ neediest residents.  It provides additional funding for child care assistance and sexual assault services, while rejecting the governor’s proposed cuts to community mental health and addiction services. It also increases education funding for school districts, colleges and universities to continue to grow and strengthen our work force.

“Above all, the budget is an investment in our communities. From funding for cities and towns to social services to providing educational opportunities, I believe that Illinoisans young and old will fare better under this budget than they have in years.”

###

05022018KS3698 c

Following a 72-45 vote in the House, Illinois approved a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“This is a historic day for women across the country,” Steans said. “I am thrilled that members of the House joined the Senate in standing up for women’s rights.”

The Equal Rights Amendment declares that equality of rights will not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. Currently, women are not guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Several advancements for women’s rights, such as the Equal Pay Act and Title IX, could be repealed by a majority vote in Congress. The Executive Branch also could reduce enforcement of these acts.

“By ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment we can provide a strong legal protection for women’s rights and prevent rollbacks from Congress or presidential administrations,” Steans said. “This amendment is still relevant and necessary.”

Though the deadline to ratify the ERA was initially set as 1982, Congress has the ability to extend that deadline.

“After nearly 50 years of opposition, we are just one state away from ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution,” Steans said. “I encourage my colleagues in Virginia to continue the charge and become the final state to ratify the ERA.”

Legislation to ratify the ERA was introduced in both the Virginia Senate and House this year, but those measures failed to gain the necessary support to advance.

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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