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Simmons2SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons sponsored legislation that will allow individuals in certain groups to file for a name change for the reasons of marriage, transgender status, religious beliefs or status as a victim of trafficking.

“The rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ communities have been under attack by other state legislatures and right-wing media, especially the rights of trans-youth,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “I want all those in Illinois who identify as transgender or non-binary to have the ability and access to have their government names reflect who they are.”

House Bill 2542 allows those on certain criminal registries to change their name due to marriage, religious beliefs, status as a victim of trafficking or gender-related identity as defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act. Those granted a legal name change must report the change to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction of their current registration. Both former and current names will continue to be available to law enforcement in the registries.

“A name is an important thing,” Simmons said. “It is how others identify you, so it is important that identity reflects the one you want the world to recognize you as.”

Senator Simmons has always been an advocate for transgender and non-binary people’s rights. He also championed House Bill 9, which makes it easier for an individual to change the gender on their birth certificate by no longer requiring a declaration by a medical provider.

House Bill 9 passed the Senate Friday and heads to the governor for final consideration.

House Bill 2542 passed the Senate on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

SimmonsSPRINGFIELD – On Monday evening, Senator Simmons voted in favor of legislation which passed in the Senate that bans the sale and manufacturing of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Senator Simmons is a tireless advocate against gun violence and has fought for years against the deadly shootings that have plagued Illinois communities.

“We have taken a monumental step forward in passing HB 5471, the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which will save lives and rebuild communities,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). The gun safety legislation also places a ban on rapid-fire devices and increases the duration of a Firearm Restraining Order from six months to up to one year. “Gun violence has rocked our society - from neighborhoods in Chicago, to suburbs and towns all across Illinois. Today, we have made historic progress by passing one of the strongest assault weapon bans in the country in partnership with community advocates including Moms Demand Action - Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady United Against Gun Violence, Giffords PAC, as well as constituents from my district who are survivors of gun violence who we convened to help shape my advocacy on this gun legislation. Collectively we have worked together to advocate for and pass strong policy to get weapons of war off our streets and impose enforcement mechanisms that will help us make our communities safer.”

Studies show that approximately one-third of public mass shooting events include the use of an assault weapon, and nearly 40% involve a high-capacity magazine. The Highland Park shooting, which occurred only six months ago, was part of a six-week period in which mass shooters using semi-automatic weapons killed more than 40 people in Buffalo, New York, Uvalde, Texas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Highland Park, Illinois combined. House Bill 5471 bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines from being manufactured or sold in Illinois.

“I want children in our community to walk to school and feel safe, moms and dads to see their children grow up and become adults, and for our schools, places of worship, public transit, and nightclubs, to be places where we can live and gather in peace. Thank you to so many of my constituents whose lives have been directly impacted by gun violence who have partnered with my office to make our advocacy efforts on gun control more robust and directly responsive to the lived experiences of 7th district residents.”

Senator Simmons has and will continue to be aggressive in supporting strong gun control legislation. He was also chief cosponsor of HB 4383, a bill signed into law in April that requires all guns to be serialized. He also sponsored HB 4729 which developed a statewide safe gun storage public awareness campaign. 

House Bill 5471 passed the Illinois Senate on January 9, 2023 and now goes to the House for further consideration. 

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – State Senator Mike Simmons joined U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Allison Arwady, Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, Chicago youth, and local leaders Thursday to speak on the mental health crisis faced by children in Illinois and what can be done to provide support and eliminate stigma.

“The mental health of our young people is paramount to our society. It is my goal to elevate their voices and center their experiences in my legislative work,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “To establish this goal, I launched the People’s Legislative Council Initiative to give our youth the opportunity to speak and help shape policy, while also passing key legislation to remove barriers preventing our youth from accessing mental health care.”

The event consisted of two panels, one where Dr. Murthy was interviewed by local youth leaders, and one where Dr. Murthy interviewed Simmons, Dr. Arwady and Dr. Cicchetti. During this second panel, the leaders were asked about their contributions to support efforts to improve mental health.

Simmons passed a law this year that requires all Illinois K-12 schools to instruct how and where to access mental health resources. Additionally, it creates a Student Mental Health Council comprised of young people who will directly advise policymakers on mental health. The council will include a diverse array of youth as part of these councils, including different racial backgrounds, and sexual orientations and gender identities.

According to Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, in 2019 just over 3,600 people were being seen in Chicago clinics to address their health, of those none were children. In 2022, the city is on track to care for 60,000 people, with an estimated 15,000 being children. Efforts are being put forward to establish clinics in every community regardless of insurance or of a patient’s ability to pay.

Asked by the Surgeon General what gives him hope, Senator Simmons replied, “Mothers still have the nerve to fight for their Black children. Immigrants and refugees still get out of bed every morning and go to jobs that under pay them and won’t give health insurance. It’s these constituents of mine that continue to valiantly struggle to survive that give me hope.”

Simmons will continue to dedicate himself to bettering mental health resources for Illinoisans in all corners of the state.

Category: Press Releases

EVANSTON – To address ongoing issues concerning public health inequities in disenfranchised communities, State Senator Mike Simmons announced that he has secured $1 million in state funding for the replacement of lead pipes in South Evanston.

“For too long, lead in our drinking water has exposed our neighbors to adverse health effects, further building on the inequities our communities face. We have to get focused on this, we can’t make any excuses when it comes to lead pipes,” said Simmons (D-Chicago).  “This funding provides long overdue resources to address a problem that is systemic in nature, is decades in the making, and often does the most damage to Black and Brown communities like those who call South Evanston home.”

Simmons was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Evanston’s 8th Ward Alderman Devon Reid for the announcement. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health there were almost 680,000 reported community lead service lines in the Illinois water systems in 2019. In Evanston there are almost 11,500 which need to be addressed.

The City of Evanston Lead Service Line Replacement program was created to remove lead contaminated water service lines with prioritization in low-to-moderate income areas. Beginning in 2022, the pilot project replaced the private side of the contaminated service line that already had the public side of the contaminated service line replaced. Currently, priority is focused on the completion of the partial lead service line replacements due to the increased likelihood of lead exposure.

“Public health issues are among my highest priorities -- both in terms of access to health care, but also that the environments that surround our households and communities are safe,” said Simmons. “I am happy we are able to take this step forward with a significant amount of resources, and multiple elected officials prioritizing this for south Evanston.”

Category: Press Releases

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

Springfield Office:
Senator 7th District
Stratton Building
Section F, Office G
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8492

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