Steans

  • Sen. Heather A. Steans“We should not have needed a court order to tell us to do this.”

    SPRINGFIELD — Responding to a 2017 court order that ruled Illinois has not fulfilled its end of an agreement to better care for the developmentally disabled, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Illinois Senate today to give the people who take care of their day-to-day needs a raise.

    “Direct care workers in these facilities are feeding, clothing, bathing, monitoring, diagnosing and treating people with developmental disabilities and complicated medical conditions, and they’re currently doing that for less pay than the average receptionist,” Steans said. “They make less than Chicago’s minimum wage. It is a source of burnout, of turnover, of resentment. The situation has to change – both for the workers and the people they care for.”

  • morrison 020420State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) led a conversation Tuesday about the oversight of Medicaid managed care and the transition of DCFS children into the program.

    “The state is responsible for these children and must make sure they have access to health care,” Morrison said. “I wouldn’t want my own child to be enrolled in this poorly managed program.”

    The hearing comes just days after nearly 19,000 adopted children and former foster children transitioned to Medicaid managed care. Of those 19,000 people, at least 2,500 were affected by a glitch that has left them without insurance since Saturday.

    A representative from the Cook County Public Guardian’s office said during the committee hearing that the office was flooded with calls about the broken system over the weekend. Complaints ranged from a 14-year old girl who needed seizure medication and the pharmacy would not supply it, to children who were sick and couldn’t find a doctor who would take their insurance card.

    More than 17,000 current foster children are set to transition to the same program April 1, and advocates are worried it still won’t be running smoothly by then.

    “Why would anyone think this program was adequate for kids formerly in care but not kids currently in the system?” Morrison asked. “It’s a double standard, and we shouldn’t force this vulnerable population to enter this dysfunctional program.”

    Members of the Senate called on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to focus on fixing the program before the second round of roll outs. 

  • steans 041119CHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans issued the following statement on news that Virginia today became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment:

    “Virginia’s historic action today, a century after the ERA was introduced and women gained the vote, should tell us that the time is long overdue for this to become the law,” Steans said. “The idea that our government should not have the power to discriminate against on the basis of sex should not be controversial. Because of the time that has passed, there remains work to be done, but the American people have spoken loud and clear: It’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment.”

  • Cannabis Dispensary

    Thousands of people started lining up outside Illinois’ 37 dispensaries in the early hours of Jan. 1 to take advantage of the state’s newly legal recreational cannabis market. By the end of the day, those businesses had sold more than $3 million in cannabis and cannabis products to more than 70,000 customers, according to estimates from the governor’s office.

    Last year, Illinois become the first state in the nation to legalize adult-use cannabis via a state law, joining the 10 other states that have legalized recreational sales. It also is the second state in the Midwest and the only among its immediate neighbors that allows sales, which could help draw in tourists.

    State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), the Senate sponsor of the measure, reflected that legalizing adult use via law rather than referendum has allowed Illinois to craft the fairest recreational cannabis rules in the country.

    “We’re the first state to do so legislatively, which I think has allowed us to be more thoughtful about the way we approach it,” Steans said. “For folks that don’t use [cannabis], there’s probably some trepidation… I think they’ll see the sky doesn’t fall down, by and large.”

  • In this edition of the "Senate Showcase" podcast, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) discusses her legislation aimed at tackling sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

  • This edition of the Senate Showcase features State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and a conversation about legislation recently filed that would legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois.

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  • Senator SteansSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of the Senate yesterday that would update Illinois’ suicide prevention strategy.

    Steans’ measure requires the Department of Public Health to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide in Illinois. In 2016, suicide caused more deaths than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

  • steans 030619SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke at a press conference today with leaders from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about her legislation that would develop a new state suicide prevention strategy.

    Steans’ measure creates the Office of Suicide Prevention within the Department of Public Health in order to address suicide in Illinois, which caused more deaths in 2016 than homicide, motor vehicle accidents and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension and HIV.

    “Each suicide death caused loved ones left behind to wonder if they could have done anything differently,” Steans said. “The state has lagged behind in this area.”

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  • Sen. Heather A. SteansSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) introduced legislation yesterday that will crack down on corporations shifting their profits to offshore tax havens.

    Her measure would convert Illinois’ corporate tax system from mandatory “water’s edge” combined reporting that includes only companies with more than 20 percent of their business activity in the United States to a default worldwide combined reporting requirement.

    Steans said at a press conference today that her legislation will provide much-needed revenue for Illinois.

    “We want a fair income tax. That’s going to take time, but we need revenue for our state now,” Steans said. “This is one part of a solution, but it’s a critical one.”

  • steans 042518CHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx came out in support of Steans’ proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois:

    “One of our primary goals with this legislation is to begin to repair the decades of damage from the War on Drugs, particularly within minority communities.

    “We know we cannot undo the disproportionate harm prohibition caused among minorities, but we can keep a firm eye on social justice as we move forward with legalization.

    “State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx has a stellar record of fighting for criminal justice reform in Cook County. Expunging records of people convicted of non-violent, cannabis-related misdemeanors is an excellent first step and will aid in removing obstacles to employment and housing. Her support is a vote of confidence, and I look forward to working with her as we craft the best piece of legislation possible.”

  • steans 022818CHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today after Gov. JB Pritzker issued an executive order enforcing House Bill 40, which protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois.

    “Every woman should be able to make her own reproductive health decisions, regardless of her employment or income level,” Steans said. “We fought hard to pass legislation protecting this right, and I am glad we have a governor ready to enforce it.”

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  • womens caucus 061318SPRINGFIELD – Following last week’s signing of House Bill 138, the women of the senate are calling on the four caucus leaders to fully support and commit to seeking additional ethics reforms. They sent a letter to the legislative leaders underscoring that HB 138 was only the beginning of what needs to be done to ensure there is a truly independent, transparent process for individuals to come forward with complaints of inappropriate behavior.

    “The passing of House Bill 138 represents another vital step in ensuring we have a process that is effective and free from partisan influence to investigate the serious nature of sexual harassment in the Capitol,” said Sen. Bush (D-Grayslake), sponsor of House Bill 138.

  • ERA1 GraphicSPRINGFIELD – Following a 72-45 vote in the House, Illinois approved a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “This is a historic day for women across the country,” Steans said. “I am thrilled that members of the House joined the Senate in standing up for women’s rights.”

    The Equal Rights Amendment declares that equality of rights will not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. Currently, women are not guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution.

  • steans 042618SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) advanced a measure through the Senate to protect consumers from a pending rollback to the Affordable Care Act.

    House Bill 2624 would encourage individuals to enroll in comprehensive health insurance rather than remaining on a short-term plan. The measure would limit short-term coverage to 180 days within a year. The Obama Administration limited the time an individual could stay on a short-term plan in 2016. President Trump has proposed reversing this ruling and allowing individuals to stay on short-term, limited duration insurance plans for a year.

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  • steans 052318SPRINGFIELD – Recognizing the important relationship between patients and their doctors, Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) sponsored a measure to allow Medicaid patients to switch managed care organizations if the contract with their primary care provider is cancelled.

    “A good relationship between a patient and their doctor can lead to better medical outcomes and patient compliance,” Steans said. “Medicaid patients who are happy with their primary care provider should be able to change health insurance plans to stay with their doctor rather than being uprooted and forced to find a new physician.”

    Currently, if a contract between a doctor and a managed care organization is terminated, the Medicaid patient’s care remains with the managed care organization. This forces patients to find new doctors. House Bill 4383 would allow patients in this situation to re-enroll in a new managed care organization in order to stay with their primary care doctor.

    House Bill 4383 passed the Senate today with a vote of 58-0.