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Steans champions law to support workers, businesses

steans 042518Plan works to reduce backlog of discrimination claims

CHICAGO – Workers and employers will soon see claims resolved by the Human Rights Commission more quickly under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“Due to the current structure of the Human Rights Commission, a detrimental backlog of discrimination and harassment complaints has developed over time,” Steans said. “This lengthy and cumbersome process hurts both businesses and workers. I led negotiations with the business community and organizations that protect workers’ rights to craft a plan that is fair to all to restructure the commission.”

Senate Bill 20 creates a temporary three-person panel to address the backlog of cases. It restructures the Human Rights Commission from 13 part-time commissioners to seven full-time, dedicated commissioners. To prevent a future accumulation of cases, it streamlines the administrative process and removes duplicative steps within the commission.

“This legislation aligns state law with federal law by extending the amount of time an individual can file a claim from 180 days to 300 days,” Steans said. “I look forward to seeing the commission resolve these cases in a timelier manner.”

This legislation, which was signed into law Friday, takes effect immediately.

Steans’ measure to allow Medicaid patients to keep their doctor becomes law

doctor patient 082118CHICAGO – Medicaid enrollees will no longer be forced to find a new doctor if their managed care organization cancels its contract with their primary care physician under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

“I am glad that Medicaid patients who are thriving with their doctor will now be able to continue to see that physician even if their health insurance plan cancels its contract,” Steans said. “I hope this new measure will lead to better health outcomes for Medicaid patients and greater continuity of care.”

Steans tackles statewide mental health professional shortage

steans 042518CHICAGO – Underserved communities across the state may soon see more mental health professionals thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans.

“Both rural and urban areas across the state are not adequately staffed with mental health professionals. This law will incentivize mental health professionals to work in those shortage areas,” Steans (D-Chicago) said. 

Steans law improves dental health for teens

dentist 081418CHICAGO – Children entering the ninth grade now will be required to receive a dental examination under legislation sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans that was signed into law yesterday.

“Dental exams are an important preventative health care tool,” Steans (D-Chicago) said. “Regular dental checkups can help children develop good habits while also addressing potential issues that can disrupt sleep, eating and speaking. I hope that adding an exam before high school will help ensure Illinoisans have good oral hygiene.”

Currently, children are required to undergo a dental examination before entering kindergarten, second grade and sixth grade regardless of whether they attend a public, private or parochial school.

House Bill 4908 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Senator Heather Steans

steans-2014-150

7th District

Years served: 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Environment and Conservation; Executive; Government Reform; Human Services.

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.