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  • Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) discusses the concept for Student Access at a recent press conference in the Capitol.

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  • Sen. Heather Steans

    Feedback from community groups, advocacy organizations, public safety officers, medical professionals and the public will be pivotal in shaping efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois. At a press conference today, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) announced plans to hold the first subject matter hearing on the topic at 12 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, in the Bilandic building.

    “Rep. Cassidy and I are committed to gathering feedback about how legalizing recreational marijuana would affect the state from a large variety of interest groups,” Steans said. “We have received overwhelming support for this legislation but do not plan to move forward hastily. We want to ensure that there is ample time for organizations and individuals to present testimony and for us to adjust the legislation based on information presented in hearings.”

    Barbara Brohl, the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Revenue will testify on how legalizing recreational marijuana has affected Colorado during the first hearing on this subject. Karmen Hanson, the program director of the Health Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures, will also testify on what other states have done around legalizing marijuana.

    “Senator Steans and I strongly believe that it’s time that Illinois had a new drug policy,” Cassidy said. “Legalizing recreational marijuana will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. We’re discussing all sorts of proposals to end the budget impasse, and we thought this should be part of the conversation as well.”

    The Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy organization devoted to ending marijuana prohibition, has estimated that legalizing recreational marijuana would generate between $350 million and $700 million in new revenue for the state of Illinois. Under the Steans-Cassidy proposals, the revenue would go to support the State Board of Education; treatment and education programs about marijuana, alcohol and tobacco; and the state’s General Revenue Fund.

    Currently, six groups and organizations have come out in support of the legislation due to the fiscal impact it would have on the state and their belief that Illinois needs a new drug policy.

    “It is time for Illinois to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol,” said Chris Lindsey, a spokesperson for the Coalition for a Safer Illinois, a newly formed alliance of doctors, law enforcement, clergy and other organizations committed to updating marijuana legislation in Illinois. “Our current policy causes more harm to the individual and society than cannabis consumption, and a majority of Illinois voters are ready for a better approach. We believe these bills are exactly what Illinois needs.”

    The two legislators will also seek feedback from residents at a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, in their district.

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  • ERA1 GraphicSPRINGFIELD – Following a 72-45 vote in the House, Illinois approved a measure sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “This is a historic day for women across the country,” Steans said. “I am thrilled that members of the House joined the Senate in standing up for women’s rights.”

    The Equal Rights Amendment declares that equality of rights will not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex. Currently, women are not guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution.

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  • steans presser 040516State Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) and State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) spoke out in support of legislation that will ensure all students have a chance to compete for aid to pay for college at a press conference today that was organized by the Latino Policy Forum.

    Undocumented students are currently ineligible to receive state-based financial aid, but that would change under the proposal McGuire and Steans are backing.

    “Our state’s future prosperity depends on keeping our brightest minds in state,” Steans said. “Currently, these 1,500 students cannot even compete for the scholarships that would allow them to pursue higher education here in Illinois; this legislation, which our state universities support, will provide the access they now lack.”

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    Recreational use in other states has increased revenues, created jobs

    CHICAGO –As the movement to legalize recreational marijuana gains popularity in Illinois, State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) heard testimony addressing best practices for regulation and taxation on Wednesday, April 19 from experts around the country. This hearing was the first in a series that will address the wide variety of concerns regarding their legislation that would allow Illinois residents to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and purchase marijuana products at licensed and regulated facilities.

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  • Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) shares her thoughts immediately following the governor's budget address on February 17, 2016.

  • steans 053116SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago 7th) sponsored legislation that earned the Senate’s approval today and will require increased testing for lead in drinking water, especially in schools, and stepped-up efforts to identify and replace lead service lines in water systems. Informed by the tragedy in Flint, Michigan, the measure also brings Illinois law into line with federal lead limits and includes new rules to keep the public informed about potential risks in their drinking water.

    “We know that exposure to lead can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities and many other significant health problems, and young children in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods are most at risk,” Steans said.

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