General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbors,

It’s been a glorious whirlwind of a few weeks. I am back in the district after the veto session, and continue to be out in the district meeting constituents where they’re at. Read on for a recap of the fall veto session and highlights from some noteworthy recent community meetings.

It continues to be a huge privilege and honor of a lifetime to serve our district as your state Senator, lifting up our people across the far north side and fighting for their rights and livelihoods. Thank you. Or as we say in Amharic, “Ameseh Ghenalou!”

simmons sig
Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Legislative Updates

Important Updates from Veto Session

Sen. Mike SimmonsCaption: Senator Mike Simmons addresses colleagues on the Senate floor in Springfield.

The General Assembly returned to Springfield this month to take up legislation vetoed by the governor. Below are a few key updates.

Nuclear energy moratorium ends

Currently, Illinois has 11 nuclear power reactors operating at six sites, which collectively produce about half of the state’s electricity. Out of a sense of concern, I voted against House Bill 2473, which was in response to the governor’s veto of legislation to lift the moratorium on nuclear energy in Illinois. We need to prioritize safety and environmental concerns and think more critically about long-term solutions, rather than quick fixes with long-term consequences. House Bill 2473 passed both houses and heads to the governor for further consideration.

Karina’s Bill

Thank you to the countless number of you who have written and called me urging support for Karina’s Bill, desperately needed legislation that is rooted in the safety of survivors and victims of domestic violence. Named after Karina Gonzalez, a survivor of domestic violence who was fatally shot by her husband along with her daughter this past summer in Chicago, “Karina’s Bill” would require judges to issue a seizure order along with orders of protection, while also mandating that law enforcement serve those orders and seize weapons from a domestic abuser within 48 hours. I am a strong supporter of Karina’s Bill, and released a statement urging support of Senate Bill 2633 to protect survivors of domestic violence from guns. I hope to see this survivor-first policy pushed through to the legislative finish line ASAP.

School Board Maps

The House and Senate also released a draft of new elected school board maps that received public hearings and passed last week– I was happy to support the most recent version of this bill sharing educational oversight with our community. Still at issue is whether the district will have a fully or partially elected slate of districts in 2024 before they become fully elected in 2026. When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, the differences should be reconciled. I will keep you updated as the final version is hammered out.


Simmons Speaks at Anti-Book Banning Event at Temple Sholom

Sen. Mike Simmons

Caption: Senator Simmons speaks about the importance of open access to books, and his anti-book banning bill, Senate Bill 689, which passed the Senate earlier this year.

Sen. Mike Simmons

Caption: Senator Simmons speaks at anti-book banning event at Temple Sholom in Lakeview this week.

Sen. Mike Simmons

Caption: From left to right, Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Open Books, Temple Sholom staff, Rabbi Shoshanah Conover and Senator Mike Simmons at the “We Stand with the Banned” anti-book banning event earlier this week.

Earlier this week I was very proud to speak at “We Stand with the Banned,” an event in partnership with Temple Sholom and Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Open Books, City Lit Theatre, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias and community members to amplify the message that book banning will not be tolerated in Illinois. I was chief-cosponsor of House Bill 2789, signed into law earlier this year, which requires libraries to adhere to the American Library Association Bill of Rights or issue a statement prohibiting the banning of books or risk losing state funds.

I am very proud to have passed my own legislation, Senate Bill 689 out of the Senate, which would prohibit library systems, school districts, school boards, and trustees of a library or village library from limiting access to or prohibiting the purchase of books or materials related to specific topics. Those topics include autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health, gender identity, religion, human rights activism, or any other subject. Given the urgency of the issue and the blatant human rights implications for so many in our communities, I am hopeful the Illinois House of Representatives will take up and pass this bill at the earliest opportunity. We will certainly continue to advocate and fight mightily for the bill. There is no way I will rest while people are running for school boards around Illinois right now on an explicit agenda to ban discussions about people like me, an intersectional LGBTQ leader, from discussion in school classrooms. No way. This fight is very personal.

Six states have already led efforts to ban books and in the 2021-2022 school year more than 2500 books were banned across the country. We are seeing whole communities being erased from school curricula, public libraries, and community centers. My goal is to ensure that every person in our state, especially young people, that the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth, that next generation of youth struggling to find their place in our society has the right to free and robust access to all books just as I did growing up. Thank you to Temple Sholom for putting on this important event.

Senator Simmons commemorates Transgender Awareness Week

Sen. Mike Simmons

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons celebrates Transgender Awareness Week.

As the first openly LGBTQ+ member of the Illinois Senate, it is important to raise awareness of the issues our transgender siblings face within the community and honor and celebrate their experiences during Transgender Awareness Week. I celebrated it by uplifting and honoring our trans community and encouraging us all to continue to reject hateful rhetoric and keep pushing forward with inclusivity in Illinois. You can view my full remarks in honor and recognition of Transgender Awareness Week here.

 To read on for more information and updates, click here.