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 SteansState Senator, 7th District
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).
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
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2015
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) secured Senate passage today of legislation that eliminates the $1.6 billion shortfall in the state's budget for the current fiscal year and ends a child care funding emergency that has left tens of thousands of working parents short on options.
"Without taking on additional debt, this bipartisan solution patches the holes in this year's budget and relieves a significant source of stress on low-income working families," Steans said. "Now we can move forward into a productive conversation about the feasibility and human impact of the cuts the governor has requested in next year's budget."
House Bills 317 and 318 move $1.3 billion in surplus money from dozens of special-purpose state funds to fill critical shortfalls in funding for the Child Care Assistance Program, mental health care, developmental disabilities services, courts and prison guards. The $266 million influx will cover all anticipated costs of the child care subsidy program, which helps parents who are working or attending school, and prevent further closures of child care centers due to delays in state payments. The legislation also includes a 2.25 percent cut to most areas of spending, although nearly $100 million will be set aside to cushion the impact of the reductions on the neediest school districts.
"We knew this year's budget wasn't complete, because we didn't have the votes to put in place the policies necessary to address the state's chronic structural deficit," Steans said. "Today's solution isn't ideal, but it staves off crisis and allows us to focus on next year's budget and what we need to do to meet needs in a fiscally sustainable way."
The House approved the two measures on Tuesday; they will now go to the governor's desk.
District Office 5533 N. Broadway Chicago, IL 60640 Office: 773-769-1717 Fax: 773-769-6901
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