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Steans increases mental health training for law enforcement

steans 013117SPRINGFIELD – Police officers in Illinois would be better prepared to respond to and de-escalate mental health crises under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“With recent funding cuts and gaps in the mental health system, officers increasingly are responding to situations that involve people with mental illness,” Steans said. “They need to be trained to recognize signs of mental illness and know how to de-escalate these interactions for the safety of those they encounter, as well as for their own protection.”

Steans creates new protection for social service providers

Sen. Heather SteansSPRINGFIELD – Under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), social service providers will have at least 30 days’ notice of a change in contracts with the state.

House Bill 3110 allows authorized social service providers and the state to terminate, suspend or reduce a contract for any reason as long as the other party is provided with 30 days’ notice.

“Immediate contract changes can create an immense financial hardship for social service providers and those they serve,” Steans said. “In the aftermath of the budget impasse, I felt it was important to increase protections for social service contracts and afford providers with more notice so that they can better prepare for financial changes in the future.”

Steans: It’s time for direct support personnel to be paid a living wage

Sen. Heather SteansSPRINGFIELD – Stacey Fountain works 12-hour shifts caring for five to eight women with developmental disabilities in Chicago. She cooks and cleans for them, distributes their medication, and teaches them how to perform routine household tasks such as folding their clothes and sweeping the floor.

Fountain is their sole caregiver while on duty and earns $11.23 an hour – just $1 more than the $10.22 hourly wage she earned when she took the job four years ago. The job can be demanding, she said, but it’s also rewarding. Often when she arrives to begin her shift, the women clap because they are so excited to see her.

Steans: Call Trump’s action what it is – an affront to women

steans ppSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on President Trump signing legislation to allow states to withhold federal funds from organizations that offer abortion services:

Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting abortion services. By allowing states to withhold federal funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood that offer abortion services, President Trump will allow states to defund preventative care for women. It’s time to call this action what it is: an affront to women.

Preventative women’s health services benefit everyone, not just women. Without the services offered by organizations like Planned Parenthood, many low-income and working class women may no longer receive cancer screenings, pregnancy care and testing for sexually transmitted infections. This would have a ripple effect through our communities.

This action reinforces the need to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and ensure that women can no longer be discriminated on the basis of their sex. I will not be complicit to the Executive branch’s agenda. It’s time for Illinois to formally recognize that women have equal rights to men and bring our nation one step closer to ratifying the 28th Amendment.

Senator Heather Steans

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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.