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Stadelman advances measures to fight urban blight

Senator StadelmanSPRINGFIELD – Cities and counties would have a streamlined process to address vacant homes under two new measures sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford).

Senate bills 2052 and 2097 implement recommendations made by the Illinois Community Revitalization Task Force, a panel created to help reduce blighted properties and revitalize communities throughout Illinois.

“Blighted properties don’t just affect one or two neighbors, they can have a ripple effect on an entire block,” Stadelman said. “Getting our cities and counties the tools they need to fight this problem is the first step to rehabilitating our neighborhoods.

Stadelman partnered with Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara and the Illinois Housing Development Authority to work on a legislative fix that helps communities.

“Sen. Stadelman recognizes the impact that foreclosures have had in Rockford, and I appreciate all of his work in Springfield to help mitigate this issue, which has made it difficult for many of our homeowners to recover from the economic downtown,” McNamara said.

“My administration has taken aggressive action to strengthen our neighborhoods, including working with the city council to develop a vacant property registry and a land bank. Both these will reduce the impact of blighted and abandoned homes. And we will continue advocating for state-wide legislative tools that can help us in this work.”

Audra Hamernik, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, said local governments need more tools for dealing with vacant properties.

“When confronted with abandoned and deteriorating homes, it is often local governments that bear the cost of maintaining, administering and demolishing these properties,” Hamernik said. “This urban blight is siphoning off critical resources from other programs vital to these communities. I applaud Senator Stadelman’s leadership in identifying real solutions as to how the state can better advocate for neighborhood revitalization, ensuring Illinois’ cities and towns become safer and more stable.”

Senate Bill 2052 allows municipalities to transfer government-owned properties to a county or intergovernmental agency without triggering the formal statutory process that is imposed on non-home rule municipalities.

Senate Bill 2097 gives counties authority to purchase blighted properties to renovate them for resale to revitalize neighborhoods. The legislation also allows counties to keep the profits of the sale in order to renovate more homes.

Both measures passed out of committee this week and now head the Senate floor for a vote.

Stadelman measure will help Rockford balance budget, hold line on property taxes

stadelman 030719SPRINGFIELD – A legislative measure sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman that allows Rockford to raise license fees on video gaming machines passed a key hurdle yesterday.

“These video gaming machines rake in thousands of dollars a month,” Stadelman (D-Rockford) said. “I think it is only right that Rockford be allowed to raise the license fees in order to balance their budget without raising property taxes.”

Senate Bill 1558 was brought to Stadelman by Rockford Mayor Thomas McNamara due to Rockford’s status as a non-home rule municipality, meaning the city needs state approval to raise the fees unlike other downstate cities like Peoria or Springfield.

“I am incredibly thankful to our local ILBA Rockford Chapter for working with the City to institute what is a higher fee per machine, that without home rule we are unable to institute ourselves,” McNamara said. “This development would not be where it is today without the leadership of Senator Stadelman in Springfield.”

Currently, non-home rule cities cannot charge more than $25 annually for a video gaming machine license. SB 1558 would raise that limit to $250 for Rockford. In Peoria and Springfield, the license fee is $500 per year.

Having passed the Senate Executive Committee, the bill now goes before the whole Senate for a vote.

Stadelman renews push for Rockford casino

casinoROCKFORD – Following outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for a Chicago-based casino, State Senator and Illinois Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), announced his commitment to ensuring a state gaming expansion includes a facility in Rockford.

“Additional gaming is an opportunity to create jobs and fund improvements to schools and our crumbling infrastructure,” Stadelman said. “The General Assembly needs to consider what’s best for the whole state, not just Chicago.”

In a recent speech to the Chicago City Council, Mayor Emanuel revealed he has been negotiating a plan to include a casino in Chicago with legislative leaders. Under Emanuel’s proposal, the revenue generated from the facility would be used to pay off the city’s pension debt.

Stadelman also encouraged lawmakers to act quickly due to a casino potentially being built in nearby Beloit, Wisconsin.

“For years the Rockford community has lost out on the jobs and revenue created by a casino,” Stadelman said. “It’s time to build a diverse coalition of interests to ensure these resources benefit our community – not Wisconsin.”

New law by Stadelman protects students from lunch shaming

school lunchSPRINGFIELD – In many school districts, students who are unable to pay for lunch can be stigmatized with a special wristband or handstamp, and in some cases even denied lunch.

To stop this practice known as “lunch shaming” in Illinois, State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) sponsored and passed Senate Bill 2428 through the Illinois General Assembly. Yesterday, the governor signed the proposal into law.  

“This is a cruel practice that blames kids for mistakes made by their parents,” Stadelman said. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that all students, no matter their background or parents’ income level, have an opportunity to eat.”

Sen. Steve Stadelman

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34th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions; Higher Education; Public Health; Revenue; Telecommunications & InfoTechnology (Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Worked as a news anchor/reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, In 2003, his coverage of the state's death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary.

Associated Representatives:
John M. Cabello
Maurice A. West II