Mike Simmons HeadshotSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) issued the following statement today on the passage of a balanced state budget:

“It’s good that the General Assembly came together to pass a budget that meets the immediate needs of the communities across the state in areas of violence reduction, affordable housing, education and health, and ensures we strengthen child care.

“Besides increased funding for our K-12 schools and more money for need-based grants for our college students, it includes funding for violence reduction programs and youth summer employment. Medicaid coverage and funding is expanded, and we’ve made investments in the child care that parents need right now.

“Most importantly, this budget was achieved without increasing the burden on the working people of Illinois, in part by closing four corporate loopholes worth $655 million to the state and $42 million to local governments. That is a true reflection of how we should approach state finances as we look forward to Fiscal Year 2023 and beyond.”

Category: Press Releases

Mike Simmons HeadshotSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons’ (D-Chicago) plan to prohibit schools from issuing rules that discriminate against hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity or hair texture cleared the Illinois House today.

Simmons sponsored Senate Bill 817, now known as the Jett Hawkins Act, after hearing 4-year-old Jett Hawkins was sent home from school in March for having braids that violated the dress code of his school, Providence-St. Mel School. 

“I know all too well the feeling that comes with being singled out by one’s school for proudly wearing hair that’s true to myself and my culture,” Simmons said Thursday after the legislation passed the House. “This came about because Jett and his mother stood up and spoke out about the harm these policies do. I thank them for their resolve.”

The Jett Hawkins Act passed the House 89-22 Thursday. It awaits a final confirmation vote in the Senate to pass the General Assembly.

Category: Press Releases

Mike Simmons HeadshotSPRINGFIELD – An antiquated part of the criminal code that penalizes Illinoisans living with human immunodeficiency virus would be repealed under a measure co-sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago), which cleared its final vote in the General Assembly Tuesday.

“The law this measure repeals is a relic of homophobia,” Simmons said. “HIV is an illness that must be treated, not stigmatized. The Senate did the right thing today by passing this measure, and I urge Gov. Pritzker to act quickly to sign it.”

House Bill 1063 repeals the portion of the criminal code that gives prosecutors the ability to charge people living with HIV with a Class 2 Felony for having consensual sex, sharing needles, or donating organs or bodily tissues and fluids. HIV is currently the only communicable disease subject to such criminalization.

“The fact that no other condition is treated this way under the law should tell everyone all they need to know about the motivations behind criminalizing HIV positivity,” Simmons said. 

The Senate passed House Bill 1063 on Tuesday. It awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: Press Releases

052120210142SPRINGFIELD – The House Education Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on School Curriculum and Policies amended and passed Senate Bill 817, now known as the Jett Hawkins Act. This bill, sponsored by Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) and carried in the House by Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago), ensures public, private, and charter schools cannot prohibit hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture.

This bill was inspired by the events of March 3, when 4-year-old Jett Hawkins was sent home from school for having braids that violated Providence-St. Mel School’s dress code. 

“This bill is about really putting into practice the things we say we believe and the values we espouse,” said Majority Leader Greg Harris. “If you wish to receive benefits from the state, you should agree not to discriminate unfairly against African-American youth because of their hairstyle.” 

Jett’s mother, Ida Nelson, testified before the committee.

“These policies skew their perceptions of self and create a feeling that something about them needs to be fixed,” Nelson said. “It is up to all of us adults to protect children, regardless of their phenotype, from any threat to their mental or emotional wellbeing.”

Lauren Leggett, a student at Providence St. Mel, also testified before the committee to share her experience and the dress code policy’s impact on students’ mental health. She said discriminatory policies like these make students feel like a detriment to society.

“That is the biggest distraction to our education,” Lauren said. “By supporting this bill, you are eliminating a lot of barriers Black children have to face before they even enter into the workforce and supporting them on that journey.”

The Jett Hawkins Act passed the committee with a 15-3 vote and will be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives. Senator Mike Simmons sponsored SB 817 in the Senate, where it passed 40-13.

Category: Press Releases

IL Rental Payment Program Webinar

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

eNewsletter Signup

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