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
February 27, 2017
Following the presidential election, I have heard from many of you that you’d like to get more involved in state government and the legislative process. I am excited that so many of you are interested in local government and have reached out to me for more information.
Based on these inquiries, I’ve decided to create an update that I will send out prior to most weeks that the Senate is in session. These updates will provide information on noteworthy legislation that will be heard in committee that week and let you know when and where the hearings will take place. If you are interested in receiving this kind of update, please sign up here.
I have also included information on how to fill out and submit a witness slip below. Witness slips are a way to voice your support or opposition for a particular piece of legislation. Before legislation is heard in committee, citizens can submit witness slips to register their opinions.
If you are interested in tracking legislation beyond its hearing in a committee, you can sign up for a free bill tracking tool on www.ilga.gov. You can build queries based on which committees the legislation moves through and follow it as it is debated, voted on and passed to the other chamber. To sign up, click the “My Legislation” tab on www.ilga.gov.
Again, click here to sign up to receive more frequent updates on important Senate legislation that will be heard in committee.
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
How to submit a witness slip
1. The first step is to identify which legislation you are interested in supporting or opposing, then finding out which committee will hear it. You can do that by going to www.ilga.gov and searching for the Senate or House bill.
2. Once you have determined which committee will consider the legislation, go back to the homepage of www.ilga.gov and click “GA Dashboard” under “Reports and Inquiry” in the middle column.
3. Click on House or Senate in the left-hand sidebar, depending on which type of legislation it is, and then click “Committee Hearings” in the dropdown menu.
4. If you wish to submit a witness slip for legislation that will be heard in committee that week, click the “Week” tab. If it will be heard later in the month, click the “Month” tab.
5. A list of all committees occurring that week or month will appear. Find the committee for the legislation that interests you. In the far right column, click the icon that looks like a piece of paper with the corner turned up.
6. You will be taken to a page that shows all legislation that will be heard in that committee. To submit your own witness slip, click “Create Witness Slip” in the right column of the legislation that interests you.
7. You will be asked to enter your information, the names of the groups or firms you represent and your position (support or oppose) on the legislation.
8. The last question asks what type of testimony you’d like to submit. The most common is “Record of Appearance Only,” which means you would like to register your support or opposition. During the hearing, the chairman or chairwoman will read how many people support and oppose a piece of legislation. If you are interested in presenting oral testimony in person at the committee hearing, click oral. If you are unable to attend the hearing but would like to submit a written statement, click “Written Statement Filed.” It is your responsibility to get a copy of your written statement to the chairman or chairwoman of that committee.
9. Once you have completed the required information, click “Create (Slip)” at the bottom of the page.
5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640
773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)
623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on the governor’s budget address:
We do not have time for the governor to put his legislative priorities before resolving the budget impasse. We have already gone 20 months without a state budget and Illinoisans across the state who are in no way to blame for the budget crisis are paying the price.
We must ensure that social service agencies remain open, domestic violence shelters receive the support they need, provide adequate higher education funding so that college students can confidently choose to stay in Illinois and continue to work to mend what has been broken by the impasse.
In order to restore economic stability so that businesses and individuals can thrive in Illinois, we must end this budget impasse and move forward with a balanced budget. It is the governor’s constitutional obligation to present the General Assembly with a balanced budget. If he is not willing to do so, then the Senate will forge ahead with our bipartisan budget negotiations.
Illinois has been without a budget for almost two years now. Social service agencies are closing their doors, students are looking outside of Illinois to pursue higher education, and our backlog of bills has reached over $11 billion.
Under the Illinois Constitution, the governor is required to submit a balanced budget to the General Assembly, something that he has failed to do two years in a row.
I hope that the governor will fulfill his constitutional obligation to present a balanced budget tomorrow in his budget address. The people of Illinois have waited long enough.
I have worked and will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a way to end this impasse and provide the state with financial stability.
February 3, 2017
Like many of you, I have been deeply disturbed by the president’s decision to halt refugees from entering our country and to ban immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Given the fluidity of the situation, I’ve included the latest update on the ban and information on organizations that are helping refugees and immigrants below.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Friday banning refugees from entering the United States for 120 days and barring Syrian refugees indefinitely. Immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries are barred from entering the United States for 90 days.
Although the White House has touted this executive order as a way to protect the nation from terrorists, experts have stated that this immigration ban is unlikely to reduce the threat of terrorism in the United States.
The president’s actions are being challenged in court. A federal judge blocked part of the executive order that would have allowed the government to deport refugees and immigrants who had arrived in the United States. Four states have filed lawsuits against the Trump administration to stop enforcement of the ban, and 16 attorneys general have issued a statement vowing to fight the president’s ban.
The White House has changed its stance on green card holders. Initially officials said that green card holders from the seven banned countries would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they could re-enter the country. The White House reversed that decision, stating that the travel ban does not affect green card holders but that border agents could detain and question travelers from certain countries.
I am committed to doing what I can to help the immigrants and refugees affected by the president’s ban. I will support our federal leaders and do what I can to ensure that Illinois remains an immigrant-friendly state. I encourage those of you who are able to lend a helping hand. Together, we can overcome this moral test.
Volunteer as a lawyer or translator at O’Hare
Lawyers and interpreters are needed at O’Hare International Airport to help those affected by the travel ban. Sign up for volunteer shifts at this link. The group is stationed in Terminal 5 across from a McDonald’s. This article contains more information on some of the lawyers and interpreters volunteering at O’Hare, including several from District 7.
Organizations assisting refugees and immigrants
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) ICIRR is “dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.” It partners with organizations to educate immigrant and refugee communities about their rights and to promote civic participation and citizenship.
World Relief World Relief partners “with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transforming lives and building sustainable communities.” Its initiatives range from refugee and immigration services to health and child development and disaster response.
National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) NIJC is “dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.” It provides pro bono legal services to more than 10,000 people each year and obtains asylum for 90 percent of their cases.
Refugee One Refugee One’s mission statement is: “We create opportunity for refugees fleeing war, terror, and persecution to build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.” It is a refugee resettlement agency that provides a variety of services in the Chicago area.
The Chicago Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)“CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.” It defends civil rights and promotes tolerance. It provides pro bono legal service to Muslims who have been discriminated against because of their religion, race or ethnicity.
Catholic Charities Catholic Charities assists refugees who have resettled in Chicago by offering a variety of services, including help securing housing, lessons on public transportation and enrollment in English classes.
Centro Romero A community-based organization that serves immigrants and refugees on the northeast side of Chicago. It offers youth programs, adult education, family services and legal services.
Ethiopian Community Association of ChicagoThe Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago is committed to serving the cultural, psychological and socio-economic needs of refugees and immigrants. It assists in the promotion of personal growth, financial stability, positive family and community relations and community empowerment.
Iraqi Mutual Aid SocietyThe Iraqi Mutual Aid Society fosters the well-being and self-sufficiency of Iraqi refugees and immigrants in the United States. It eases their transition to life in America, forges connections between Iraqi and American societ, and facilitates the preservation and exchange of Iraqi culture.
In addition, here is a link to the many social service organizations in our community that are dedicated to providing support and services to immigrants and refugees.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky5533 N. Broadway 773-506-7100
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley3223 N. Sheffield Ave.773-267-5926
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin230 S. Dearborn St., Suite 3892312-353-0150
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth230 S. Dearborn St., Suite 3900312-886-3506
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