Steans’ federal funding budget passes with bipartisan support in Senate, keeps vital services afloat

steans fed fundsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) presented a budget measure that won bipartisan support in the Senate today and, if it secures House approval and the governor’s signature, will allow federal dollars blocked by the state’s budget impasse to flow to programs that provide cancer screenings, energy bill assistance, infant nutrition and much more.

“Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, as well as the governor’s office, agree these funds need to be released for their intended purposes,” Steans said. “There is no reason to keep parents from accessing specialized formula for their medically fragile babies or to hold up federal disaster relief funds; we can continue negotiating the $7 billion portion of the state budget that is still contested while allowing the critical work funded by federal dollars to go on.”

Senate Bill 2042, which passed without opposition, would allow $4.8 billion in federal money to be spent on functions such as the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program (WIC), utility bill assistance known as LIHEAP, community mental health, AmeriCorps volunteers working in schools and communities statewide, care for those with developmental disabilities, breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women, a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and more. With some of the offices that provide nutritional counseling and benefits through WIC set to run out of money and close their doors as soon as the end of this week, releasing federal dollars is pivotal in relieving some of the direst effects of the budget impasse.

“I’m encouraged that we have reached agreement on another significant portion of the budget,” said Steans, who chairs the Senate Appropriations I Committee. “I’m confident we can overcome our remaining differences on budgetary matters without getting bogged down in non-budgetary issues.”

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.”

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