Senate passes one-month emergency services budget, votes to pay state workers

steans-tempbudgetSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) issued the following statement on the temporary budget the Senate passed today to fund essential health and safety functions and pay state workers:

This one-month budget ensures that the health and safety of Illinois residents are not put at risk while the governor and the General Assembly continue their negotiations. It also authorizes paying state workers at current levels. They are still on the job, providing vital services, and they deserve full compensation.

Today’s action does not set us on a path to unsustainable spending. With the exception of salaries, it would fund only 13 of the nearly 100 state agencies. I urge the governor to sign the emergency measure we’ve sent to his desk, because it will give us space to work together to develop a complete budget that responsibly balances spending cuts and new revenue to keep Illinois moving forward.

Steans applauds crime victims' rights amendment approval

Steans-MarsysThis week 77 percent of Illinois voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to increase the rights of crime victims. Senator Heather Steans (Chicago) sponsored the measure known as Marsy’s Law to provide more information and a greater voice in court actions for victims of crime.

Sen. Steans released the following statement today:

“The people of Illinois understand that crime victims deserve greater rights, privacy and more information during the difficult process of hearings, sentencing, penalties and release of the perpetrators. Victims and their families have worked tirelessly to provide better resolution and justice, and I am grateful to Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her support in getting this measure to the ballot. Illinoisans’ overwhelming support for this amendment will benefit victims and improve our constitution for our state’s future.”

Stronger measures curbing school bullying, empowering victims become law


052314CM0795RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7) hailed today’s signing of legislation she sponsored requiring school districts to adopt robust anti-bullying policies that protect and empower victims and address bullying behavior. Since 2007, public school districts and non-sectarian private schools have been required to prohibit bullying. Steans and House sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago 14) introduced their plan in order to nudge schools with boilerplate or poorly enforced policies to have community-wide conversations resulting in effective procedures for combating bullying.

“Every child deserves to be safe at school,” Steans said. “Bullying behavior harms both the victim and the bully, and every school should be taking steps to stop the cycle and promote the wellbeing of its students. Most schools already do this every day; this legislation makes sure we’re all moving in the same direction.”

Illinois becomes first in the nation to ban microbeads

Natural alternatives exist to tiny plastic spheres that exfoliate but could harm aquatic ecosystems

041614 br 0162FSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) thanked her allies in the environmental movement for their persistence and the personal care industry for its cooperation as Illinois became the first state in the nation to ban non-biodegradable “microbeads” that threaten Great Lakes ecosystems. Governor Quinn signed legislation Steans sponsored to phase out the manufacture of microbeads in Illinois by 2017 and their sale by 2018.

“Lake Michigan is a critically important natural resource for our state, and its health affects recreation, tourism and the flourishing of aquatic plant and animal species,” Steans said. “I’m proud that Illinois is an environmental leader, taking the first step away from plastic microbeads toward natural exfoliants, and I’m optimistic that we’ve started a nationwide movement to protect not just the Great Lakes, but other bodies of water with high concentrations of microbeads.”

Microbeads, which measure less than five millimeters across, are so tiny they often slip through water treatment systems and end up in lakes and rivers, where aquatic animals ingest them. Ongoing research suggests the non-biodegradable spheres may also absorb toxins along the way, adding to the threat to fish and possibly to the humans who catch and eat them. Often labeled as polyethylene or polypropylene, they are common ingredients in facial cleansers and scrubs, soaps and even toothpastes.

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