Welcome to my website. I hope to make this site a very interactive tool that allows you, as a constituent, to communicate with me, stay updated on legislation and happenings in Springfield and find resources in our district. Using this site, you can join my email list, read my e-mail updates online, see the latest legislative news, view upcoming neighborhood events and contact me.
I welcome any questions, concerns or suggestions you may have. Please feel free to call my district office at (773) 769-1717 or email your question here. My district office is located at 5533 N. Broadway near Broadway and Bryn Mawr. We are typically open from 9am to 5pm, but please call to make an appointment.
Heather Steans - State Senator, 7th District
January 8, 2016
This Sunday, January 10th at 2 p.m., along with Congresswoman Schakowsky, Alderman Joe Moore, and Representative Kelly Cassidy, I'll be hosting an informational event on the rights of individuals when confronted by immigration authorities. The presentation will be conducted by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Centro Romero.
The event will be held at St. Jerome's Church (1709 W Lunt Ave.)
Please see below for a Spanish-language flyer, and share this information with your friends and neighbors.
I'd also appreciate it if you'd join with me in helping our fellow Illinoisans who have lost homes and belongings in the devastating flooding of the past few weeks. My colleague Rep. Brandon Phelps has organized a statewide supply drive to assist the victims, and I'm collecting donations to take with me when I go to Springfield next week for the start of a new legislative session.
Items needed include mops, buckets, bleach, rubber gloves, face masks, bottled water and non-perishable food. We are not accepting monetary donations at this time. Please bring your donations to my office (5533 N. Broadway) by Tuesday, Jan. 12. Call (773) 769-1717 with any questions.
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
August 4, 2015
Today, I presented a budget measure that won bipartisan support in the Senate and, if it secures House approval and the governor's signature, will allow federal dollars blocked by the state's budget impasse to flow to programs that provide cancer screenings, energy bill assistance, infant nutrition and much more.
Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, as well as the governor's office, agree these funds need to be released for their intended purposes. There is no reason to keep parents from accessing specialized formula for their medically fragile babies or to hold up federal disaster relief funds; we can continue negotiating the $7 billion portion of the state budget that is still contested while allowing the critical work funded by federal dollars to go on.
Senate Bill 2042, which passed without opposition, would allow $4.8 billion in federal money to be spent on functions such as the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program (WIC), utility bill assistance known as LIHEAP, community mental health, AmeriCorps volunteers working in schools and communities statewide, care for those with developmental disabilities, breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women, a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and more. With some of the offices that provide nutritional counseling and benefits through WIC set to run out of money and close their doors as soon as the end of this week, releasing federal dollars is pivotal in relieving some of the direst effects of the budget impasse.
I'm encouraged that we have reached agreement on another significant portion of the budget. I'm confident we can overcome our remaining differences on budgetary matters without getting bogged down in non-budgetary issues.
Please keep in touch with me as this process continues. You may contact me through my website or by calling my office at (773) 769-1717 with your questions, ideas and concerns. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter (@HeatherSteans).
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a decision that represents a historic leap forward, based on values written into our Constitution almost 150 years ago. Relying on the Fourteenth Amendment’s declaration that all are entitled to the equal protection of the law, a majority of justices agreed that all states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who apply for them.
I remain proud that Illinois has been a leader in the quest for justice for LGBTQ people. Our state was among the first to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, give same-sex couples the option of a civil union and finally, in 2013, call these committed, state-sanctioned relationships between loving same-sex couples what they are: marriages.
Now, couples who wish to marry, regardless of gender, can enjoy in any state in America the rights we’ve affirmed here in Illinois. This victory will be long remembered in the history of America’s uneven but unstoppable progress toward living up to its foundational principles and, as Justice Kennedy put it, allowing all “persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”
My task as a legislator and our task as concerned citizens is now to make the Court’s decision and our existing laws reality on the ground, resisting the discrimination that still faces LGBTQ people, regardless of marital status. Our task is to continue working to make our schools, streets and homes safe for young people seeking to discover who they are. And our task is to keep taking up the cause of justice for all who don’t experience the equal protection of our laws in their daily lives.
I’m profoundly grateful to all of the advocates who brought us to this moment, and it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to work among the many people who tirelessly bend the arc of the universe toward justice.
This was the scene on the Senate floor when we first voted for marriage equality in Illinois on Valentine's Day 2013.
June 2, 2015
I'm sure you are disappointed, as I am, that Governor Rauner and the General Assembly were unable to come to agreement on a new state budget by the target date of May 31. Governor Rauner has promised a "long, hot summer," which many believe will be stoked by a TV and mail advertising campaign bankrolled by the Governor's $34 million in campaign funds.
I don't believe this is what the people of Illinois want or deserve from their elected leaders. And I believe there's a better path.
First, let me quickly review how we arrived at this point:
Democrats in the General Assembly passed a budget for next year that included moderate cuts in spending on top of the many cuts we have already made. We rejected the draconian cuts that Governor Rauner proposed, which would have cut the heart out of many programs geared to help the most vulnerable Illinoisans - from the physically and mentally challenged to seniors trying to live independently to single parents working to support their children through pre-school and childcare. You can click here to compare the Governor's proposed FY16 budget to the General Assembly's budget.
I believe that a fair and workable solution to the state's budget problems should involve a mix of moderate cuts in spending and a moderate increase in revenues - something that Governor Rauner himself has acknowledged. That revenue gap could be filled through a combination of steps that might include closing existing tax loopholes for corporations, adjusting the sales tax to better reflect our service-based economy, restoring some portion of the income tax increase that expired last year and taxing the retirement income of the state's wealthier residents.
Unfortunately, Governor Rauner has refused to consider these or other measures to resolve the budget crisis unless the General Assembly passes his so-called Turnaround Agenda. As a result, budget negotiations have broken down - although both the House and Senate will remain in session in hopes that an agreement can be reached.
I believe Governor Rauner's proposals deserve consideration. In fact, I have supported some of them in the past, such as redistricting reform. But his proposals to further restrict workers' compensation, put limits on damage awards in legal cases and freeze property taxes for municipalities and school districts across our state are complicated issues that would affect millions of working families. By insisting that the General Assembly accept this agenda as a precondition for negotiating a budget, Governor Rauner is demonstrating a "my way or the highway" approach to government that makes compromise difficult. And launching a summer ad campaign, funded by a handful of billionaires, to vilify his opponents will only make the situation worse.
I am eager to work with Governor Rauner and my Republican colleagues in Springfield to address our fiscal problems and put our budget in balance. That's been my record in office on things like Medicaid reform, and it's the only way to get things done.
I cannot, however, accept cuts to our budget that threaten basic healthcare and human services for the neediest among us or that severely underfund the public education our children need and deserve.
I hope that Governor Rauner will reconsider his approach to the budget and re-engage in negotiations to find a reasonable compromise that protects our most vulnerable residents. And I hope that he won't continue to hold those negotiations hostage to his insistence that we fully embrace his so-called turnaround agenda, which could have very serious consequences for millions of middle-class families across Illinois.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. I will keep you updated on developments in this important debate. I will convene a town hall shortly to provide an opportunity to discuss the budget and the current impasse as well.