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
March 3, 2017
Gov. Bruce Rauner sank to a new low this week, and he took the state’s latest hope for a budget deal with him.
For unclear reasons, the governor chose to interfere in Senate negotiations on the much-anticipated grand bargain, a package of bipartisan measures designed to cut costs, reform state government and generate revenue. Some of the proposals reflected Democratic priorities, others reflected Republican priorities. And some contained proposals that directly reflected priorities set forth in the governor’s agenda, such as workers compensation reform, pension reform and a property tax freeze.
Even the governor’s own budget proposal – unbalanced by at least $4.6 billion – was counting on the all-or-nothing comprehensive Senate deal. For weeks, the governor publicly encouraged the Senate to continue negotiating the grand bargain and vowed he would not interfere with our efforts.
But on Wednesday, as senators prepared to take votes on some of the more difficult issues in the package, the governor apparently no longer could sit idly by, choosing instead to intimidate Republicans into withdrawing their support for the deal.
His interference effectively killed a bipartisan compromise that had been in the works for months and could have helped resolve the state’s crippling two-year budget stalemate.
In my work as a state lawmaker, I rarely have felt as frustrated as I felt Wednesday when the rug was pulled out from under me and everyone else who had worked so hard on this deal and had negotiated in good faith.
Gov. Rauner refuses to present a balanced budget – even though the Illinois Constitution requires him to do so – and he killed the Senate’s effort to achieve one. That doesn’t sound like a governor whose number one priority is to end the budget stalemate.
In spite of those challenges, my colleagues and I in the Senate are committed to ending the budget stalemate. Expect to see this issue receive even more attention in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you posted.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or online with any questions or concerns.
Sincerely,Senator Heather Steans7th District – Illinois
Fighting for direct support personnel
My legislation to increase wages for direct support personnel made it out of committee this week.
Senate Bill 955 would raise hourly starting wages to $15 from $9.30 for front-line workers paid by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Direct support professionals have mentally, physically and emotionally taxing jobs and provide a great service to our communities. Many of them have struggled financially because they have not been paid a living wage for far too long. The starting wage has not been raised in nearly a decade.
Illinois direct support personnel receive some of the lowest wages in the nation for this type of work. Low starting wages has made attracting and retaining qualified staff challenging, leading to high vacancy rates and challenges providing quality care.
Get more involved in state government
Keeping track of what’s happening in Springfield can be difficult. Let me help make it easier to follow by sending you a list of noteworthy legislation that will be heard in committees that week.
If you are interested in receiving this kind of update, please sign up here.
Indivisible Elected Official Panel and Workshop
Indivisible Illinois will meet Monday, March 6 at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5:45 p.m.) at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster Street, Evanston, IL 60201, for an update on federal and state issues and an activist workshop.
I will speak alongside Congresswoman Jan Schakowksy, Congressman Mike Quigley, State Senator Daniel Biss and State Representative Kelly Cassidy.
Indivisible Illinois empowers local progressive groups by uniting and amplifying voices through networks, resources, and public platforms in pursuit of liberty and justice for all. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here by Saturday, March 4.
Know Your Rights
Please join me Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. for an information session about the rights of individuals when confronted by immigration authorities. I will be joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Alderman Joe Moore, State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin.
The presentation will be conducted by the National Immigrant Justice Center, the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Centro Romero, the Syrian Community Network and Northside Community Resources.
The event will be in the Gale School Auditorium, 1631 W. Jonquil. It is free and open to the public. Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish and Arabic will be provided.
5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640
773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)
623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
About 15,000 immigrant and refugee children, families and adults in Chicago went without education and citizenship support services from Centro Romero the past two years – yet another example of the long-term economic consequences of Illinois’ two-year state budget stalemate.
Centro Romero, which offers GED and other adult education classes, family services, youth programs and legal services in Edgewater, was forced to scale back programs and outreach efforts in the wake of Illinois’ ongoing budget crisis.
Before the budget impasse began, Centro Romero served nearly 15,000 immigrants and refugees yearly in the Edgewater, Rogers Park and Uptown neighborhoods of Chicago. In 2016, the center only was able to serve 6,000 people, and in 2015 it served about 9,000 people.
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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on today’s voting on the Senate grand bargain:
Today the Illinois Senate began voting on the bipartisan grand bargain, moving one step closer to providing Illinoisans fiscal stability.The appropriations bill we passed today ensures social service providers can keep their doors open, funds public universities and community colleges to the level they saw in 2015 when we last had a complete budget, and provides MAP grant funding for Illinois residents pursuing a degree within the state.As a legislative body, we worked together on the grand bargain and compromised on many of the big issues facing our state. I am glad that we were able to push past differing political ideology and come together for real solutions to help struggling businesses, residents and families.
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