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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.

Steans puts forth plan to shrink state’s bill backlog

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.

Steans proposal to overhaul Medicaid program becomes law

steans 031218CHICAGO – Hospitals that serve Medicaid patients are one step closer to benefiting from federal funding under a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) which was signed into law today.

“The new Medicaid Hospital Assessment Program will ensure that hospitals across the state can continue to receive federal funding to treat Medicaid patients,” Steans said. “Without this legislation, many hospitals would not be able to finance helping some of Illinois’ neediest residents. This new assessment program is fair to patients and hospitals.”

Special delivery: Steans, Cassidy turn in 5,000 petition signatures to governor on medical marijuana

steans 030118Demand grows for intractable pain to be on Illinois’ medical marijuana approved condition list

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 5,000 petition signatures asking that intractable pain be added to the list of approved conditions for Illinois’ medical marijuana program were delivered to the governor’s office today.

State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy, both Chicago Democrats, delivered the petitions, along with a strong message about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s preference to continue appealing a judge’s ruling on the matter.

Senator Heather Steans

steans-2014-150

7th District

Years served: 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions; Human Services; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec (Chairperson); Subcommittee on Special Issues (HS) (Sub-Chairperson).

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.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Cassidy
Gregory Harris