SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is pleased to see a budget that will provide permanent tax relief to low-income households and increase mental health funding.

“A permanent expansion of the earned income tax credit is long overdue and will be felt by low-income households. I am proud to have cosponsored, rallied for and pushed for this policy change in the budget that has just passed. We did the right thing for households who have struggled since long before the pandemic with this expansion.”

“I am also pleased to see a cash infusion of $39.4 million for mental health. This will provide a necessary boost to support mental health professionals who have been overstretched by a pandemic that has revealed and deepened a mental health crisis in this state.”

“Overall, we should celebrate several components to this year’s budget that I am personally happy to see come to fruition. I look forward to working with my colleagues to quickly get these funds out the door to support the excellent and worthwhile components in the FY23 budget that touch on public safety and violence prevention, health and hospitals, relief for restaurants and small businesses, higher education, human services, and infrastructure.”

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Category: Press Releases

ASPRINGFIELD – As violence with untraceable guns is on the rise, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) was proud to strongly support a measure to ban the sale and distribution of ghost guns.

“Gun violence often involves firearms that are untraceable because they lack serial numbers. So-called “ghost guns” have fueled an epidemic of shootings, and we took an important step tonight in outlawing these types of guns.”

With the alarming rise of gun violence in a number of Illinois communities, untraceable firearms have become a pressing public safety concern. Ghost guns are firearms that lack serial identification, and they are growing in popularity because of their ease of accessibility. Not only can they be ordered online, but they can also be purchased absent a background check or a FOID card, which is required to carry either a firearm or ammunition in Illinois.

House Bill 4383, an initiative introduced by Senator Jacqueline Collins and chief-cosponsored by Senator Mike Simmons, would require all firearms – including 3D printed guns – to be serialized, effectively prohibiting the sale and distribution of these weapons. Unserialized guns prevent law enforcement from thoroughly conducting their criminal investigations, which hinders their efforts to address the gun violence in our state. Illinois law enforcement has seen a 400% increase in these types of weapons in just the last five years.

“With the popularization of 3D printing, we are taking a proactive step to get these weapons off the streets,” Simmons said. “I am pleased that we built a strong coalition of community activists and law enforcement to pass this common-sense gun safety measure.”

House Bill 4383 passed the Senate and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons Medicaid r

SPRINGFIELD – To ensure continuous access to healthcare for very low-income people and those who are housing insecure, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) was proud to introduce a measure to create an automatic renewal process and ensure 12 continuous months of coverage for Medicaid recipients.

“Adults whose monthly income fluctuates or who lack stable housing can lose Medicaid coverage and end up falling through the cracks if they need to see a doctor or access care,” Simmons said. “My legislation, SB3136, eliminates the interim income-change reporting requirement for adult Medicaid enrollees and guarantees at least a year of consistent coverage for Medicaid recipients.” Simmons' measure was included in the Medicaid omnibus, HB4343, which cleared the Senate today.

According to the Heartland Alliance, up to 30% of people eligible for Medicaid lose coverage at renewal with Black families being disproportionately affected. Simmons’ measure will remove unnecessary administrative hurdles Medicaid recipients face.

Under current law, individuals receiving Medicaid benefits must report changes in income during the 12 months following their approval or last redetermination. House Bill 4343 would remove this reporting requirement during that time, allowing for continuity of coverage for those who may be in between jobs, those who work several part-time jobs, or those whose work hours and income simply are not consistent each month. The legislation would also automatically re-enroll individuals with zero income.

The legislation also requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to provide information on how to request a hardship waiver in Spanish and a number of other languages.

“I have constituents who are houseless with no income at all, and I think it is especially important to re-enroll those with zero income automatically and annually so they are not turned away at a clinic. This ensures their care is not disrupted and they can maintain a consistent relationship with a primary care doctor who can help them meet their other healthcare needs. We are correcting a systemic gap in access to healthcare with this legislation today.”

House Bill 4343 passed the Senate. 

Category: Press Releases

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

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

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M115 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
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