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Illinois becomes the 37th state to ratify the ERA

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 seeks to protect consumers and insurance exchange

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.

Steans champions measure to allow patients to keep their doctors

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.

Steans seeks to remedy shortage of direct support workers

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.

Senator Heather Steans

steans-2014-150

7th District

Years served: 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Environment and Conservation; Executive; Government Reform; Human Services.

Biography: Born May 8, 1963, in Lake Forest, IL; B.A. in Urban Studies from Princeton; M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; former budget director, WI Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and former strategic planner, Chicago Public Schools; married (husband, Leo Smith) with three children.