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Steans and Cassidy: It would be a mistake to ignore the facts on legalizing marijuana

map cannabis legalCHICAGO – The sponsors of legislation to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Illinois pushed back against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s opposition based on a supposed lack of data to support legalization.

“The governor’s statement against legalizing recreational adult-use marijuana is shortsighted and uninformed,” Steans said. “States began legalizing recreational marijuana five years ago. That’s five years of data that show that teen use does not increase when it’s legalized.”

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.

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