Simmons Assyrian Press conferenceSPRINGFIELD - To protect the community from the often deadly impact of lead, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to strengthen lead mitigation procedures.

“Virtually every community across the state is affected by lead in our water supply,” said Simmons. “This bill provides a systemic response to a problem that is systemic in nature, is decades in the making, and often does the most injury to Black and Brown communities.”

House Bill 4369 would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to follow up on lead mitigation notices by carrying out inspections to ensure the work has been completed. The current law merely permits an inspection, while this legislation will require and enforce lead mitigation efforts.

Lead is a heavy metal and suspected carcinogen that was frequently used in paint, plumbing materials, and many other items before the 1980s. Today, it is mostly found in aging water pipes, contaminated soil, and peeling paint found on windows, baseboards, trim, and doors. No amount of lead exposure is considered safe for children or adults.

“Removing lead from all housing and facilities where people, including children, are present is pressing work that is urgently overdue,” Simmons said. “This bill will give the law teeth so mitigation efforts are seen to completion.”

House Bill 4369 passed the Senate Health Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons Youth CommitteeSPRINGFIELD - In an effort to empower students and provide them with greater access to the resources they need, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) initiated and passed a measure, Senate Bill 4028, that will require Illinois elementary and high schools discuss how and where to find access to mental health treatment.

“Our children have been through constant stress the last two years,” said Simmons. “Their sacrifices from the pandemic have exacerbated the growing mental health crisis among our state’s youth.”

The measure also will create a Student Mental Health Council that will include 6 youth from across Illinois, and 3 community-based mental health providers, including one that will be LGBTQ-led, one led by a person of color, and one woman-led, bringing underrepresented communities to the table to evaluate gaps in existing mental health services and to recommend systemic improvements so our youth feel empowered and supported by mental health providers.

The Student Mental Health Council will also identify gaps in mental health services and treatment for youth and identify ways to destigmatize getting help when needed. The council would meet quarterly and be comprised of community-based organizations that are doing mental health focused work for youth.

The measure originated from a people’s legislative council that Simmons held with a group of community members in 2021.

“This bill will send a message to our youth that they are loved and their mental and emotional health matters,” said Simmons.

Senate Bill4028 passed the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons In CommitteeSPRINGFIELD - In an effort to remove a barrier to full inclusion for immigrant communities in Illinois, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure that removes the use of “alien” in any Illinois statute when referring to people who have mixed statuses and referring to commerce outside of Illinois and the country.

“As the son of an Ethiopian immigrant and asylum seeker, I am beyond proud to support this measure by assisting in removing barriers for communities to access much needed resources,” Simmons said. “I want Illinois to send a clear message that we welcome immigrants and that we are working to eliminate the historic barriers that many of these communities have endured.”

Senate Bill 3865 would remove the use of "alien" in any Illinois statute when referring to people who have mixed statuses and referring to commerce outside of Illinois and the country.  Eliminating references to “alien” in Illinois law would remove a regressive and outdated legal term and symbolize the full inclusion of immigrant communities in Illinois. Similar legislation has recently passed in California and Colorado.

Continued use of the term “alien” as a legal term sends a negative message that recent immigrants, including many who have begun the naturalization process, are not welcome and not valued as full members of their communities.

“I believe that these efforts will facilitate a pathway to build trust and understanding between the government and immigrant communities,” Simmons said. “We all succeed when we welcome our new neighbors and make them feel a part of the family.”

Senate Bill 3865 passed the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.

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Category: Press Releases

simmons hb3262gSpringfield- Youth in Illinois are one step closer to receiving specialized education on mental health resources  after a measure championed by State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) passes a key hurdle.

“This measure addresses a critical gap in the support systems that we need to offer our youth to be able to remain emotionally well,” Simmons said. “Our youth have been so resilient during these past few years, but many of the broader issues amplified by the COVID-19  pandemic have put a severe strain on the mental health of our young people. It’s imperative that we prioritize the mental health and well-being of our young people and center the experiences they are voicing and actually living through.” 

Senate Bill 4028 would ensure that the curricula for elementary and secondary schools would be required to include how and where to find mental health resources in the state. The measure helps make students aware of mental health services that are available to them and helps erase the broader stigma behind mental health.

The measure was in part inspired by two of Simmons’ Youth People’s Legislative Councils, where Simmons discussed with young people themselves the issues that are salient to them such as violence and access to mental health as part of his mission to empower young people to become more involved in policy making.

“The struggle to fund adequate resources for mental health is an issue that I hear time and time again when I meet with young people in the district I represent,” Simmons said. “I am pleased that we are one step closer to delivering practical resources to support our youth directly in our schools.”

The measure passed the Senate Education committee.

Category: Press Releases

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