Simmons AG Floor rSPRINGFIELD – To better recognize the historic injustices that Black farmers face in the agriculture industry, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Agriculture Equity Commission.

“For far too long, our Black famers have been systemically pushed out of the agriculture sector of Illinois,” Simmons said. “My goal is to see this commission address the root issues and find actionable solutions to give Black farmers justice in the largest job producing sector in Illinois.”

The commission would reflect representation of socially disadvantaged communities, businesses, and farmers, and include academics, policy experts, and legislators who are experienced in agriculture and related matters.

In 1920, Illinois had 892 Black farmers, and Black Americans owned 14% of the nation's farmland.  As of the 2017 Agricultural Census, there are 188 individually Black-owned farms which make up a combined 40,412 acres. Out of the 116,417 agricultural producers in Illinois, 267 are Black and 115,896 are Caucasian. Farming is Illinois’ top job producing industry.

“I want to thank the stakeholders who worked with Rep. Sonja Harper and me on this timely legislation,” Simmons said. “I appreciate the bipartisan nature of the passage and look forward to righting the wrongs of previous generations.”

House Bill 5201 passed the Senate and awaits further consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

Simmons Agriculture committee rSPRINGFIELD – To better recognize the historic injustices that Black farmers face in the agriculture industry, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Agriculture Equity Commission.

“We are taking the right steps to correct the intergenerational and well-documented discrimination experienced by Black farmers,” Simmons said. “My goal is to see this commission address the root issues and find actionable solutions to give Black farmers justice.”

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Category: Press Releases

Simmons HIV Floor rSPRINGFIELD – To allow more people to access HIV preventative care easier, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow pharmacists to provide HIV tests and preventative medications to help reduce new HIV infections.

Simmons’ measure would allow pharmacists to dispense and administer drugs, order laboratory tests, and consult individuals related to HIV pre-exposure drugs (PrEP) and post-exposure drugs (PEP). Pharmacists would first have to complete an educational training course on the administration of tests and medications prior to being permitted to assist patients. 

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Category: Press Releases

Simmons Children of Incarcerated Parents Floor r

SPRINGFIELD – To better advocate for the interests of children with incarcerated parents in Illinois, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“Today in Illinois, nearly 200,000 children – or one in every 20 – have had a parent in jail or prison. We need to improve the system so that the bond between a parent and their child is honored and strengthened despite the incarceration.”

The Commission, housed within the Department of Human Services, will be tasked with implementing and coordinating the recommendations of the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents within state agencies. The task force, created in 2020 will propose the changes, and the Commission will work with agencies on how to properly implement the changes.

Children whose parents are incarcerated can experience multiple negative effects such as greater mental health symptoms, difficulty with school, housing instability, and overall trauma.

“I am so glad we passed this legislation and look forward to working with House sponsor Rep. Delia Ramirez, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, and the other advocates and stakeholders who worked hard on this effort to implement the commission, said Simmons.  We will see this work through so children of incarcerated parents can maintain the most important relationship they have and have their overall needs met across the entire system.”

House Bill 5525 passed the Senate and awaits further consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

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