Senator Steans

May 24, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Yesterday the Illinois Senate passed a budget plan that will provide the fiscal stability that our state so desperately needs. This plan balances Governor Rauner’s $37.3 billion budget, which was nearly $5 billion out of balance.

 

This budget plan includes appropriations for the rest of the current year as well as a complete budget for next year. It implements revenue reforms and spending reductions that result in more than $3 billion in savings without jeopardizing the future of our universities and schools nor the vital work that human services provide.

 

Senator Steans on the Senate floorBy passing this budget plan, we will end the practice of adding $11 million in unnecessary debt each day as has been the case during the impasse. Many elements of this budget are the result of ongoing negotiations with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. In addition to budgetary matters, Senate Democrats have agreed to a number of reforms that Republicans sought during negotiations, including pension reform, term limits on Senate leadership and procurement reform.

 

Unlike previous iterations of budget plans, this one does not include cuts to state health insurance funding for retired teachers and community college workers who pay premiums for their insurance, nor does it give the governor unfettered authority to cut Medicaid to save $405 million.

 

This budget plan includes the following:

  • Increased funding to pre-K-12 education of $330 million, including support for Early Childhood and after-school programs.

  • A full year of funding to universities and community colleges for the first time since 2015. MAP grants will also be funded.

  • A full year of funding for vital human service programs that assist poor and vulnerable Illinoisans. This includes the Community Care Program, breast and cervical cancer screenings, addiction treatment, early intervention, domestic violence shelters, mental health programs and child care services.

  • Reinstates grant programs for immigrant services, autism support and youth employment, among others that were eliminated in Rauner's plan.

 

The revenue bill of this budget package includes just over $3 billion in cuts. Nearly all state programs and agencies will see a 5 percent cut. Additionally, this legislation brings in new revenue to the state by closing corporate tax loopholes to the tune of $125 million each year and eliminating state income tax breaks for individuals that make more than $250,000 a year for a savings of $81 million.

 

The plan now moves to the House for further consideration. If the House makes changes to the bills, they will need to be approved by the Senate.

 

Though we are not out of the woods yet, we are significantly closer. I will continue to advocate for responsible budgeting in the legislature to provide fiscal stability to the state of Illinois. I continue to believe that the best way to grow our economy is for the state to provide fiscal certainty.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

 

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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Senator Steans

May 22, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

With just a week and a half left of the legislative session, many bills will be amended for a final time this week. Please find a list below of legislation that will be considered in committee this week.

 

All Senate bills will need to be considered and approved by the House to be sent to the governor’s desk. If a House bill is amended in the Senate, the House will have to approve those changes before the bill goes before the governor.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

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

 

 

Noteworthy legislation in committee this week

 

Criminal Law Issues

• Assault weapons - SB 556 increases the penalties for possession of an assault weapon and possession of a machine gun. (Munoz)

• Suppressors – SB 50 allows individuals to use suppressors while hunting. (Haine)

• Protecting children - HB 786 prevents a park district from knowingly using volunteers who are child sex offenders. Park districts will have to terminate volunteers who are child sex offenders. (Martinez)

• Name change – HB 2723 allows an individual charged with certain crimes to petition to change their name. (Hutchinson)

 

Consumer and Government Reform Issues

• Landlord transparency - HB 3001 puts regulations in place to promote transparency when landlords deduct fines and penalties from renters. (Hastings)

• State grants – HB 682 requires the state comptroller to publish a searchable online database detailing state grants appropriated to specific public entities, such as local governments and non-profits. (Manar)

 

Education Issues

• Criminal history – HB 3142 prohibits public colleges and universities from considering an applicant’s criminal history during the admission process except as required by federal law or state law regarding med school applicants. After admission, a college may make criminal history for purposes of offering counseling. (McGuire)

• Online student protection - SB 444 establishes the Student Online Personal Protection Act and implements restrictions on the operator of an Internet website or online service from engaging in practices such as using information about a student for something other than the furtherance of K-12 school purposes or selling student’s information. (Clayborne)

 

Environmental Issues

• Recycling – HB 3922 creates the Task Force on Recycling Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to review the status of municipal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Harmon)

 

Human Rights Issues

• Human rights consolidation - SR 523 disapproves of the governor’s executive order consolidating the Department of Human Rights with the Human Rights Commission. (Steans)

 

Human Services and Public Health Issues

• Community Care Program - SB 399 codifies current eligibility criteria for the Community Care Program and restricts the Department on Aging from creating the Community Reinvestment Program or requiring copays. (Biss)

• Long-term care agreements - HB 238 prohibits a long-term care facility from entering into pre-dispute agreements with residents and consumers. (Aquino)

• Medical cannabis – SB 1707 requires that anyone providing services to a medical cannabis cultivation center must be a Certified Medical Cannabis Cultivation Center Agent. (Raoul)

 

Committee Schedule for May 22

 

• Senate Executive Appointments Committee
2 p.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Executive Committee
2:30 p.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Judiciary Committee
4 p.m., Room 400
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Human Services Committee
4 p.m., Room 400
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Transportation Committee
5 p.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee Schedule for May 23

 

• Joint Senate Appropriations I and II Committee subject matter hearing on testimony on state leasing and procurement for the following agencies: CMS, IDOC, DHS, IDOT, IEPA
8:30 a.m., Room 212

• Senate Public Health Committee
10 a.m., Room 400
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Education Committee
10 a.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Revenue Committee
11 a.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Government Reform Committee
3 p.m., Room 400
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Environment and Conservation Committee
4 p.m., Room 409
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Criminal Law Committee
5 p.m., Room 400
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee Schedule for May 24

 

• Senate Agriculture Committee
9 a.m., Room 409
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Executive Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform
2:30 p.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate State Government Committee
2:30 p.m., Room 409
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

• Senate Executive Committee
3 p.m., Room 212
To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

 

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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Senator Steans

May 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

The General Assembly has just 16 days left until the constitutional deadline for action. That’s 16 more days for legislation and budget packages to pass both the House and the Senate. The deadline for legislation to pass during the regular session is May 31.

 

Senator Steans in a budget hearingI am diligently working with my colleagues on a solution to end the budget impasse. I am optimistic that we will reach a compromise that Republicans in the Senate can agree to. Ultimately the question, though, is if the governor can agree to it.

 

I will keep you updated as we continue to work through budget negotiations. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns. Lastly, if someone forwarded this message to you and you’d like to sign up for this list, click here.

 

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

 

Noteworthy legislation in committee this week

 

• Day laborers – HB 690 makes changes to the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, such as requiring temporary labor service agencies to provide a notice to workers of what type of equipment, protective clothing and training are required for a task, to prevent current abuses. (Martinez)

• Veteran-owned businesses – SB 1620 centralizes the classification of veterans owned small businesses. Currently, veteran business owners must go through a number of processes (sometimes at the state, county and municipal level) to be certified bid on small business contracts. (Hastings)

• Short-term rental properties – SB 1735 creates standards for short-term vacation and rental properties, such as HomeAway, and bars local governments from prohibiting or otherwise regulating short-term rental properties except in circumstances to safeguard public health and welfare. (Munoz)

• Paid sick leave – HB 2771 requires employers with more than one employee provide up to five paid sick time days per year. (Hutchinson)

• Performance evaluation – SB 449 requires the Illinois State Board of Education to convene a Performance Evaluation Advisory Council to advise on the ongoing implementation of teacher and principal evaluations. (Lightford)

• Homeless students – HB 261 Allows school districts to provide housing assistance to homeless students or students at risk of becoming homeless. (Bennett)

• Mental illness training – HB 2545 requires school personnel who work with pupils in K-12 be trained once every two years to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior in youth. (Weaver)

• College savings – HB 3691 creates the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program under the control of the State Treasurer. Starting in 2018, every child born in Illinois will have a 529 college savings account opened in their name and seeded with a $50 investment. The first $150 will be matched at a one-to-one ratio for families with low and moderate incomes. (Lightford)

• Arbitration for long-term care facilities – HB 238 prohibits a long-term care facility from entering into a pre-dispute agreement for binding arbitration with a resident, consumer or their representative. (Aquino)

• Animal rights – HB 2810 prevents returning animals used for fighting purposes to their initial owner. (Manar)

 

Committee schedule, Monday, May 15

 

All committees are in the Capitol unless otherwise stated

  • Senate Revenue Committee
    4:30 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Insurance Committee
    4:30 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee schedule, Tuesday, May 16

 

  • Senate Education Committee
    9 a.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
    9 a.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Public Health Committee
    9 a.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Higher Education Committee
    10:30 a.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Human Services Committee
    10:30 a.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Judiciary Committee
    10:30 a.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee schedule, Wednesday, May 17

 

  • Senate Appropriations I Committee
    8:30 a.m., Room 400

  • Senate Gaming Committee
    8:30 a.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Local Government Committee
    8:30 a.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Labor Committee
    10:45 a.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Transportation Committee
    4 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Criminal Law Subcommittee on CLEAR Compliance
    4 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

Committee schedule, Thursday, May 18

 

  • Senate Appropriations II Committee
    9 a.m., Room 212

  • Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee
    9 a.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee
    11 a.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Executive Committee
    2 p.m., Room 212
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate State Government Subcommittee on State Designations
    2 p.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Subcommittee on Special Issues
    2 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate State Government Committee
    2:30 p.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee
    2:30 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Criminal Law Committee
    4 p.m., Room 400
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

  • Senate Special Committee on Oversight of Medicaid Managed Care
    4:30 p.m., Room 409
    To see submitted witness slips for this committee and submit your own, click here.

 

 

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)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

 

Senator Steans fights for direct support personnel on the Senate floorStacey Fountain works 12-hour shifts caring for five to eight women with developmental disabilities in Chicago. She cooks and cleans for them, distributes their medication, and teaches them how to perform routine household tasks such as folding their clothes and sweeping the floor.

Fountain is their sole caregiver while on duty and earns $11.23 an hour – just $1 more than the $10.22 hourly wage she earned when she took the job four years ago. The job can be demanding, she said, but it’s also rewarding. Often when she arrives to begin her shift, the women clap because they are so excited to see her.

“It’s hard work, but it’s a blessing to have a job,” said Fountain, a 45-year-old mother who also cares for her own mother in their West Rodgers Park home and struggles to make ends meet each month. “It’s important to even be able to work these days.”

Legislation that advanced out of the Illinois Senate today could help Fountain and other direct support workers like her earn a better living for the work they do.

Senate Bill 955 would raise the wages for direct support personnel to $15-an-hour. The legislation passed 36 to 20. Currently, starting salaries for direct support personnel are $9.30 and staff vacancy rates have reached 25 percent.

“Gov. Rauner vetoed our last effort to raise wages for these workers saying the state can’t afford it, even though half of the cost to increase direct support personnel wages would come from federal reimbursement,” Steans said. “These are challenging jobs, and these frontline workers deserve a wage that is commensurate with the experience they have and the compassionate work they do.”

Fountain said a $15-per-hour wage would make an enormous difference in her life. Her current wage barely enables her to live paycheck to paycheck. She has struggled to pay her bills on time, and once she was unable to get to work because she did not have gas in her car or any money to fill up.

Illinois direct support personnel have not received a raise in nearly a decade and are paid among the lowest wages in the nation for comparable work. Low wages are among the reasons why Illinois facilities have had difficulty attracting and retaining qualified staff, leading to high staff turnover and vacancy rates. Fountain and other direct support personnel are often required to work overtime due to staff shortages.

As a result, many clients have had difficulty finding group homes in which to live because providers do not have enough staff to care for residents.

“This is an unacceptable cycle that deserves the governor’s attention,”  Steans said.

“Today the Senate sent the governor a strong message by passing this legislation with a veto-proof majority,” she said. “I will work with my colleagues in the House to ensure that the governor hears our message loud and clear. It’s time for direct support personnel to be paid a living wage.”

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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