Senator Steans

March 3, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

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,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th 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.

 

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Upcoming Events

 

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.

 

 

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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www.SenatorSteans.com

 

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Contact Us

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