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  • 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.

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  • steans 042618Low pay, burnout, turnover problematic for profession

    SPRINGFIELD – Long-underpaid workers who assist developmentally disabled Illinoisans at rates set by the state would earn a livable wage under a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans.

    Senate Bill 3508 would require the Illinois Department of Human Services to increase rates so that direct support and frontline workers earn a base hourly wage of $13.50 by July 1, 2018, and $15 by July 1, 2020.

  • steans 042518SPRINGFIELD – An innovative proposal from State Senator Heather Steans could help businesses and state government at the same time by paying down Illinois’ backlog of bills more quickly.

    Steans’ measure would allow the state treasurer to take over debts more than 90 days old, pay the vendors and clear the bills from the state’s ledgers. The approach would enable Illinois to pay off old debts more quickly, slow the accrual of interest penalties and inject money into local economies where businesses have been harmed by the state’s ongoing budget difficulties.

    “This is a winning strategy to make more headway on the bill backlog. Every taxpayer benefits,” said Steans, a Chicago Democrat and a Senate point person on budget matters.

    “If the treasurer has funds sitting there unused, why shouldn’t that money logically be available for this need? It won’t solve the entire bill backlog problem, but it will get us to a resolution more quickly.”

    The proposal, Senate Bill 2858, would allow the state treasurer to pay bills more than 90 days old if the vouchers in the comptroller’s office exceed funds available by $1 billion. It would save the state additional money by implementing a 0.3 percent monthly late payment interest penalty – rather than the 1 percent under current law – on balances paid off by the treasurer’s office through the Vendor Payment Program.

    Last year, Illinois paid more than $1 billion in late interest penalties – an outrageous and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars that could have been directed to other needs, Steans said.

    “This legislation will help stop the accrual of interest on late payments and enable us to turn around payments to companies that do business with the state in a more reasonable amount of time,” Steans said.

    Senate Bill 2858 passed the Senate today and now advances to the House for further consideration.

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