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.

Steans: Still determined to find compromise

steans 030917SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in light of the inability of Rauner administration agency heads to identify possible spending cuts during committee hearings:

The governor presented a budget that is now $5 billion out of balance. When members of the Senate asked his agency directors how they could contribute to filling this gap, none of them were able to identify a single dollar to help balance the budget.

The fact that the governor stifled the Senate’s grand bargain negotiations when his budget relied on the grand bargain to help balance his budget tells me that the governor is more interested in creating chaos than fiscal stability. By continuing to push his partisan priorities, the governor is hurting taxpayers, businesses and families. Every day that we don’t resolve this budget crisis, $11 million is added to the state’s debt and our backlog of bills grows.

Though the governor’s budget proposal is now $5 billion out of balance, I remain determined to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find compromise and fill the budget gap the governor created.

Steans: One step closer to fiscal stability

steans 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) issued the following statement on today’s voting on the Senate grand bargain:

Today the Illinois Senate began voting on the bipartisan grand bargain, moving one step closer to providing Illinoisans fiscal stability.

The appropriations bill we passed today ensures social service providers can keep their doors open, funds public universities and community colleges to the level they saw in 2015 when we last had a complete budget, and provides MAP grant funding for Illinois residents pursuing a degree within the state.

As a legislative body, we worked together on the grand bargain and compromised on many of the big issues facing our state. I am glad that we were able to push past differing political ideology and come together for real solutions to help struggling businesses, residents and families.

Steans: CPS state takeover plan irresponsible, ignores the real issues

steans cps 012016CHICAGO – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) issued the following statement today on the announcement by Republican legislative leaders that they plan to file legislation allowing for a state takeover of the Chicago Public Schools:

The Chicago Public Schools educate nearly 400,000 students, almost 90 percent of them from low-income households. Five percent are homeless. Almost one-fifth are learning English as a second language. Yet against the odds and starved of resources, the state’s largest school district is achieving higher test scores and graduation rates for its students.

But the irresponsible agenda Gov. Rauner’s legislative allies rolled out today isn’t a reflection of those realities; it’s another politically motivated distraction from what the state and its public schools really need.

They portray their plan as merely a matter of fairness – adding CPS to an existing law allowing for state intervention in certain districts. But this could not be farther from the truth.

Illinois’ current intervention law does not require or even allow bankruptcy; in fact, Illinois does not permit any unit of government to declare bankruptcy, and the current situation in Michigan demonstrates the serious pitfalls of rushing to release governments from their financial obligations. In addition, CPS educates more than 14 times the number of students in the largest district currently eligible for state intervention. The State Board of Education is simply not equipped to manage such a large, complex and diverse system of schools.

The bottom line isn’t changing: Illinois needs a balanced budget, and Illinois’ public schools desperately need adequate and fairly distributed resources. Today’s announcement distracted from these difficult but essential objectives. If the governor and his allies in the General Assembly want to treat Chicago students fairly, they should start by supporting parity for CPS in state education funding and contributions toward teacher pensions.

Senator Heather Steans


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