Dear neighbor,

Recently, we wrapped up one of the most productive veto sessions in recent history. I wanted to write to you with an update of a few key bills that passed or made significant progress.

Veto Session
Veto session is an opportunity for the legislature to reconsider measures that the governor declined to sign and to continue to push legislation that wasn’t called during the spring session. There were no vetoed bills this year. I took this opportunity to fight for issues that matter in the 7th District such as making Illinois a 100% pro-choice state, declaring gun violence a public health crisis and supporting $250 million for violence prevention, re-enfranchising voting rights for people in prisons, supporting the manufacturing of electric vehicles in Illinois, legalizing midwifery, holding student debt service providers accountable, improving the Chicago elected school board and getting our hardworking teachers and education employees paid Covid-19 leave.
 
Repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act (PNA):
I am proud that both chambers of the Illinois legislature have voted to repeal the PNA, which requires women under 18 to notify a parent when seeking abortion care. The PNA is an outdated law that disproportionately impacts those who are survivors of sexual assault and women of color. The act was blocked by the Illinois Supreme Court until 2013 due to concerns about the constitutionality of the provision. Under the act, minors who are unable to notify their parents or guardians must go through a difficult legal process to request a waiver from a court. The repeal legislation also creates the Youth Health and Safety Advisory Working Group for the purpose of identifying and reviewing laws and regulations that impact pregnant and parenting youth. This will help provide young people with education and resources up front so that we are setting them – and their future families – up for success. I am proud to have been a chief-cosponsor of the legislation to repeal the PNA and to have stood alongside the sponsor, Sen. Elgie Sims, and dedicated advocates and organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to push this measure over the finish line. Reproductive health is a fundamental human right that we must fight for at a systemic level, particularly with what we are seeing in Texas and other states. Governor Pritzker has vowed to sign the legislation.

Re-enfranchising People in Prisons:
I am the Senate sponsor of Senate Bill 828, which would allow incarcerated people in prisons to retain their right to vote. The right to vote is fundamental and vital to our democracy. This legislation has the support of many advocacy organizations, including the League of Women Voters, Equality Illinois, The Marshall Project, and Chicago Votes. It will take broad based advocacy and a persistent focus on undoing historical injustices to reverse the devastating effects of mass incarceration. This legislation is one component of the necessary systemic change that can restore and redeem those who are serving time and prepare them to eventually reintegrate into their communities as productive citizens.

The measure advanced out of the House Rules Committee and to the House floor for debate during the veto session-an important procedural step. The measure came within 4 votes of passage on Oct. 27th, and the House sponsor intends to move it again in the spring legislative session. I will work closely with House sponsor Rep. LaShawn Ford and advocacy groups to see it through the General Assembly. I invite you to learn more about the issue by visiting the Chicago Votes’s “unlocking civics” page.

Investing in the electric vehicle industry:
We have set our state on the path toward a cleaner, greener future – and that continues with the passage of the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act. I voted in favor of House Bill 1769, which would preserve and create jobs by providing incentives to electric vehicle and electric bike manufacturers. The measure provides a tax credit for manufacturers of electric vehicles, parts and power supplies – and businesses in underserved areas would be eligible for an even larger benefit.

Public Safety and Violence Prevention:
I am pleased that both chambers have passed the expansion of the Reimagine Public Safety Act. I stood with Gov. JB Pritzker and several elected officials and community leaders earlier this week as the Governor declared gun violence a public health crisis and signed an Executive Order that creates the Reimagine Public Safety initiative, a data-driven, community-based approach to preventing and interrupting gun violence. This plan provides an unprecedented $250 million state investment over the next three years to implement a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. The overall approach includes four key elements: trauma recovery services for young people, youth development programs, street-based violence interruption work, and high-risk youth intervention. The order also establishes the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, which will focus on reducing firearm deaths and injuries in communities that have been hard hit. This expansion supports communities that have been affected by gun violence by empowering at-risk youth, supporting survivors and working with grassroots organizations to interrupt violence and create systems that rebuild individuals.

Getting Guns Off Our Streets:
I want to also say that another key part of reducing gun violence in Chicago is getting guns off our streets. I am working with Sen. Jackie Collins from Chicago to draft ghost gun legislation that can be moved for consideration when we reconvene in January. Ghost guns are home-assembled firearms without serial numbers that are untraceable by law enforcement. These often are available online and can be purchased without a background check. We are drafting legislation that would ban the sale or possession of ghost gun kits or parts or assembled ghost guns. We are working with advocacy groups like Gun Violence Prevention PAC, Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and others to draft the bill and build support for it in the General Assembly.

Teachers Paid Sick Days:
I am proud to have supported House Bill 2778, which gives teachers, public university and community college employees access to paid sick days if their illness is due to COVID-19. In addition, public school teachers who have taken time off because of COVID-19 will have those same paid sick days returned to them. None of our essential workers should be penalized for keeping themselves and our children safe.

Illinois Rental Assistance:
I am pleased to report that the Governor announced last week that applications for a new round of rental assistance will reopen on December 6. The next round of rental payment assistance will include some improvements. The assistance will cover up to 18 months of rental payments, and priority will be given to low-income households and those who have been unemployed for more than 3 months. Housing choice voucher holders are also now eligible. This round of assistance will help those who are experiencing pandemic-related hardship, and I encourage you to reach out to my office for help if you need assistance or have any questions navigating the application process.

If you are behind on rent or know people or have neighbors who need rental help, I encourage you to visit here. If you have already applied please check out this same link to check on the status of your application. While the date for the program reopening is delayed, money from this round will still be distributed to approved Illinoisans before the end of the year as originally scheduled.

We will keep you informed of rental assistance programs once the portal is up and applications are reviewed. I will also continue to communicate with the agencies administering these programs to ensure oversight and prompt review of applications from our District.

Community Updates:

Hindu Heritage Month and Diwali:
I am proud to have supported a measure in the Senate to establish October as Hindu Heritage Month in Illinois. Illinois has one of the largest populations of practicing Hindus in the United States, and they deserve to have their culture publicly honored. I also am pleased to have helped pass Senate Resolution 593, which established Hindu Heritage month and Diwali Day in Illinois. Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs worldwide. Illinois should be a state that is proud to recognize the religious and cultural diversity of its residents.

November is Native American Heritage Month!
November is #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth where we honor the contributions, stolen land, & resilience of our indigenous neighbors. I wanted to share events from the Indigenous Peoples Day IL coalition to commemorate & celebrate this month while continuing the fight for Indigenous Peoples Day to be an official government holiday. http://bit.ly/NAHMNov2021IPD


 
Open Enrollment for the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace starts this month! Don’t forget to review and compare your health plan options before you choose or renew for 2022. Free assistance is available to help you enroll, and you may qualify for financial help. Visit:https://GetCoveredIllinois.gov
 
Chest & Breast Health Resources Trick-or-Treat
Two weeks ago, our office hosted a health resource fair, along with Rep. Greg Harris, Heartland Health Centers, Howard Brown Health, Sarah’s Circle, and Advocate Illinois Masonic.  This event was a key initiative that helps remove systemic barriers to access to preventative health care, which is a top priority for me. I was honored to have hosted and organized this event! We will definitely be doing this again next year!

Sen. Simmons in the news


Out in the Community
 

(Senator Simmons at the Amelia Rucker Thompson art exhibit at the Center on Halsted)


I was invited to the unveiling of Amelia Rucker Thompson’s (A.R.T.) latest creations at the Center on Halsted. I was honored to support these beautiful works and supporters of the arts. Amelia’s art conveys so many emotions and experiences, from profound joy to heartfelt sorrow, from victimization and trauma to victory. Her works are progressive and restorative for her and communities across our district.

Indigenous People’s Day Rally at Pottawattomie Park in Rogers Park

It’s time for the first Monday in October to be officially celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day in the state of Illinois. On Monday, Oct. 11, I attended a rally in Rogers Park with other elected officials including State Representative Kelly Cassidy and Alderwoman Maria Hadden and spoke publicly in support of doing just that.

Clark Street Block Party



It was great to meet with service providers for young people, immigrants, and refugee women at the Clark Street Block Party! I really enjoyed getting to know the team from Circles and Ciphers, a restorative justice organization based in Rogers Park and led by and for young people impacted by violence. I also toured the space and got to know the staff with Edgewater based Girl Forward, a safe space serving girls ages 14-21 in grades 9-12 who identify as refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers. We are fortunate to have programs like these in the district that meet important needs.

Arcadia Terrace Block Party



Our 7th District office met with neighbors and friends at the Arcadia Terrace Block Party recently! We chatted with residents and took questions about legislation, state programs, and requests for resident services. It was a joy to visit here, as I grew up just a few blocks south of Arcadia Terrace.

Visit Local Farmer’s Markets!

Be sure to visit your local farmer’s markets while they’re still in season!



Sen. Simmons chats with a Rogers Park based dessert entrepreneur and vendor Mickii at the Glenwood Sunday Market!



Sen. Simmons chats with market manager Elsa and chats with vendors and customers at the Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market before buying a pineapple hot sauce and challah!

Local 7th District Farmer’s Market Schedule

The Uptown Farmers Market and Lincoln Square Farmers Market both are still going in November! Check them out before the season ends.

Here are their schedules:

Lincoln Square: http://www.lincolnsquare.org/farmers-market/
Uptown: https://www.chicagomarket.coop/uptownfarmersmarket

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

Sincerely,



Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Category: Newsletters

Covid-19 Resources

Office Info

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-1717

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

facebook logo 64pxtwitter logo 64pxinstagram logo 64px

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Phone
    Please let us know your contact phone number.
  4. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.