Dear Friend,

The legislative session is well underway, and last week I secured passage of three equity-focused bills out of the Senate! All three came directly from our People’s Legislative Councils, or from constituent phone calls and meetings. I am so proud that we consistently lift up the voices of residents of the 7th District, and we will continue to take a participatory approach to introducing and passing legislation. Your eagerness to participate and communicate with our district office has made it clear that residents' voices matter.

I would like to reiterate that our office is here to help. We are a non-judgment, welcoming place where 7th District residents are encouraged to contact us to request constituent services or to voice their opinions about legislative issues.

The Senate will reconvene next week. I will continue asking thoughtful questions in legislative committees, researching each bill under review, and working to ensure we produce quality and equitable legislation.
 
Continue reading for information on COVID-19 resources, my upcoming community town hall, and other community resources you or those you love may need.

Legislative Updates
Bill to remove the word alien in reference to immigrants

The first bill I passed this session was Senate Bill 3865. This bill removes the use of the word "alien" in any Illinois statute in reference to people who have mixed statuses as well as removes the word when referring to commerce outside of Illinois and the country. The bill idea came directly from a member of our staff and district residents who feel it is a degrading experience to see such language used, which creates a barrier between state programs and residents who need them. This step forward takes us one step closer to fostering trust and equity in our immigrant communities. As the son of an Ethiopian refugee who was granted asylum and welcomed into our community decades ago, I am especially proud to remove this systemic barrier for our diverse immigrant communities.

Bill to increase access to mental health support for youth

I’m personally proud my bill SB 4028 passed the Senate last Friday! First, it requires that the curricula for elementary and secondary schools be required to include how and where to find mental health resources. The measure helps make students aware of mental health services that are available to them and helps erase the broader stigma behind mental health. Second, the bill also will set up a Student Mental Health Council, which will comprise of 6 young people from across Illinois between the ages of 14 and 25, as well as the leaders of 3 community-based organizations providing mental health services to youth. The organizations included will intentionally be LGBTQ+ led, person of color led, and woman led to get a mix of voices to inform recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly over the next two years as we look to fill in the gaps that currently exist in services for youth who need access to mental health. The measure was inspired by our Youth People’s Legislative Councils, where we have met with students from 7th Dstrict high schools and they have talked about how youth are struggling with mental health. Our youth councils are intended to empower youth and to get them more involved in shaping policy, and I am happy to see this measure, inspired by youth, advancing out of the Senate!

Bill to improves quality of life for seniors

My third bill that passed is Senate Bill 702,which is an effort to support seniors. Last summer and fall as I met with seniors in Ravenswood, Rogers Park, Edgewater, and other parts of our district, they consistently spoke of feeling isolated during the pandemic and needing to have a stronger voice in how services are delivered to them. They also spoke about wanting to be connected with seniors in other communities dealing with issues such as food insecurity and inadequate housing. In response, I initiated a measure that will create the Senior Housing Residents' Advisory Council. The council will meet quarterly to evaluate available resources, services, and state outreach for seniors and review the impact of COVID-19 on senior living arrangements.

The measure will create a space and opportunity for Illinois seniors to connect with each other and meet with representatives from the Department on Aging and the Department of Public Health in order to share their ideas on how the State can improve the quality of life for its senior residents. This space will also give seniors the opportunity to share their experiences and make recommendations on targeted services and supports for seniors with the governor and the General Assembly.
 
I am proud that nearly every single bill idea came directly from one of our people’s legislative councils or directly from constituents — real people — who live in the 7th district and whose lived experiences shape my work. Thank you to all the 7th district youth, moms, dads, immigrants, long-term residents, seniors, and many more who have worked with my office to create a people-centered policy.

Sen. Simmons in the news:

Sen. Simmons’ COVID-19 Updates & Resources

On Monday, Feb. 28 the state, alongside the City of Chicago, lifted their indoor mask and vaccine mandates. If you or your neighbor prefer to wear a mask, that’s ok! There are a number of considerations that can impact this decision. I encourage you all to stay safe during this transition. For the safety of my district office staff, we will continue to ask constituents to wear a mask when coming into the office or having in-person meetings. Thank you for your help in keeping us all safe and healthy.

Covid vaccinations and testing are still currently underway across the city, please see the resources below:

COVID-19 Testing Locations here.

Get Free COVID-19 tests at-home:

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four at-home COVID-?19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. You can order your tests here.

CPS Covid-19 Vaccination Sites:

If you are looking to get your CPS student vaccinated, you can find a vaccination site here.

Vaccine sites in the 7th District:

Please visit the website linked to each location for more information and call ahead to check vaccine availability and to set up appointment times for any vaccines here.

Sen. Simmons’ Community Event

Single Parents Town Hall is March 15th

You still have time to register to attend my Single Parents Town Hall, which will take place Tuesday, March 15 at 6 p.m.
 
I will speak about my bills, Senate Bill 4040, which encompasses the “Single Parents Bill of Rights,” which would create five days of unpaid leave for single parents to tend to their children’s needs, and Senate Bill 2132, which would establish a $600 child tax credit for working parents. Both ideas came directly from 7th District residents who participated in our people’s legislative councils where district residents shape and drive policy by speaking to their lived experiences.

Register to attend this town hall to hear more about the work we’re doing to support single parents! Register here!

7th District Candid Photo!

This beautiful Rogers Park mural recites the names of Black Lives that have been stolen from us by deadly encounters with law enforcement. It’s important to #SayTheirNames as we continue to push for police accountability.

Thank you to the artists who erected this colorful mural right off Rogers Avenue and Paulina St. #BlackLivesMatter.

What is a 7th District Candid Photo?

I often find interesting sightings or moments within our district and would like to share neighborhood sightings with you as they are spotted! You can also find these on our social media handles.

Sen. Simmons’ Resources for Constituents:

ROGERS PARK Township Is Now Open For Tax Appeals

Official filing dates for property tax appeals in Rogers Park township are from Feb. 14 to March 15. A copy of a complaint form for the Cook County Board of Review is here. If you want to know about the process for filing an online appeal visit here. Online appeals can be found here.

 

BIG NEWS for Chicago Arts Organizations!

You can now apply to the 2022 CityArts Applications! The application deadline is Tuesday, March 22 at 5:00 pm CST. This is a city-wide priority with opportunities to apply for general operating grants across all artistic disciplines, as well as special project grants to support Chicago’s dance community.
 
The DCASE Cultural Grants team is excited to offer a series of virtual webinars for all 2022 CityArts applicants.  The webinars will cover updates to CityArts grant program guidelines and application review criteria plus provide tips and guidance to help applicants prepare the strongest application possible. Applicants are not required to attend a workshop to apply, however, all applicants, regardless of having previously applied for or received a DCASE CityArts Grant, are encouraged to attend. Click here to view the recorded webinar.

If you need assistance in another language and/or if you are an individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation to apply, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance.

Resources for Mortgage and Property Tax Relief

In April the state will begin accepting applications from homeowners for grants of up to $30,000 to eliminate or reduce past-due mortgage & property tax payments. Homeowners should attend an ILHAF webinar in advance of the application portal opening here. Feel free to contact me or my staff any time at 773-769-1717 if you’d like help applying for this assistance. We are here for you.

Local School Councils

The Local School Council is composed of parents, community, educational, and student members, LSCs serve as an important vehicle for participatory democracy, providing a wide variety of stakeholders an opportunity to make important decisions about how students in their communities will be educated. Visit their website here to learn more about this opportunity.

On Feb. 8 the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing presented a webinar on the topic of Housing, Know Your Rights. If you or your neighbor are curious about how to erase evictions or need housing support, visit their website here.

Looking for employment?

Illinois Job Link allows you to search more than 100,000 job postings, connect with employers, and find your next job here. Please contact us at 773-769-1717 if you need help navigating this resource. We want everyone who wants to work to be able to secure work.

Resources on Racial Equity

There is no room for discrimination in my district or across the state of Illinois. We must advance our learning to advance our journey of being better neighbors. I know the pursuit of racial healing and racial equity calls for more than one conversation. I would like to connect you to a resource to help you plan your first, second, or even your 10th conversation. The Illinois Department of Human Services has curated this list of resources to help shape healthy dialogue across Illinois. Visit these resources in any particular order here. Explore community resources from the City of Chicago for racial equity advancement here.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with daily updates, Follow Senator Simmons!

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 73-769-1717 if we can help you with anything.

Sincerely,
Sen. Mike Simmons

Senator Mike Simmons
7th Senate District

 

 

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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

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