General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbors,

It’s been a glorious whirlwind of a few weeks. I am back in the district after the veto session, and continue to be out in the district meeting constituents where they’re at. Read on for a recap of the fall veto session and highlights from some noteworthy recent community meetings.

It continues to be a huge privilege and honor of a lifetime to serve our district as your state Senator, lifting up our people across the far north side and fighting for their rights and livelihoods. Thank you. Or as we say in Amharic, “Ameseh Ghenalou!”

Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

Legislative Updates

Important Updates from Veto Session

SimmonsLegislativeUpdatesCaption: Senator Mike Simmons addresses colleagues on the Senate floor in Springfield.

The General Assembly returned to Springfield this month to take up legislation vetoed by the governor. Below are a few key updates.

Nuclear energy moratorium ends

Currently, Illinois has 11 nuclear power reactors operating at six sites, which collectively produce about half of the state’s electricity. Out of a sense of concern, I voted against House Bill 2473, which was in response to the governor’s veto of legislation to lift the moratorium on nuclear energy in Illinois. We need to prioritize safety and environmental concerns and think more critically about long-term solutions, rather than quick fixes with long-term consequences. House Bill 2473 passed both houses and heads to the governor for further consideration.

Karina’s Bill

Thank you to the countless number of you who have written and called me urging support for Karina’s Bill, desperately needed legislation that is rooted in the safety of survivors and victims of domestic violence. Named after Karina Gonzalez, a survivor of domestic violence who was fatally shot by her husband along with her daughter this past summer in Chicago, “Karina’s Bill” would require judges to issue a seizure order along with orders of protection, while also mandating that law enforcement serve those orders and seize weapons from a domestic abuser within 48 hours. I am a strong supporter of Karina’s Bill, and released a statement urging support of Senate Bill 2633 to protect survivors of domestic violence from guns. I hope to see this survivor-first policy pushed through to the legislative finish line ASAP.

School Board Maps

The House and Senate also released a draft of new elected school board maps that received public hearings and passed last week– I was happy to support the most recent version of this bill sharing educational oversight with our community. Still at issue is whether the district will have a fully or partially elected slate of districts in 2024 before they become fully elected in 2026. When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, the differences should be reconciled. I will keep you updated as the final version is hammered out.


Simmons Speaks at Anti-Book Banning Event at Temple Sholom

Simmons bookban

Caption: Senator Simmons speaks about the importance of open access to books, and his anti-book banning bill, Senate Bill 689, which passed the Senate earlier this year.

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Caption: Senator Simmons speaks at anti-book banning event at Temple Sholom in Lakeview this week.


Caption: From left to right, Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Open Books, Temple Sholom staff, Rabbi Shoshanah Conover and Senator Mike Simmons at the “We Stand with the Banned” anti-book banning event earlier this week.

Earlier this week I was very proud to speak at “We Stand with the Banned,” an event in partnership with Temple Sholom and Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Open Books, City Lit Theatre, Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias and community members to amplify the message that book banning will not be tolerated in Illinois. I was chief-cosponsor of House Bill 2789, signed into law earlier this year, which requires libraries to adhere to the American Library Association Bill of Rights or issue a statement prohibiting the banning of books or risk losing state funds.

I am very proud to have passed my own legislation, Senate Bill 689 out of the Senate, which would prohibit library systems, school districts, school boards, and trustees of a library or village library from limiting access to or prohibiting the purchase of books or materials related to specific topics. Those topics include autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health, gender identity, religion, human rights activism, or any other subject. Given the urgency of the issue and the blatant human rights implications for so many in our communities, I am hopeful the Illinois House of Representatives will take up and pass this bill at the earliest opportunity. We will certainly continue to advocate and fight mightily for the bill. There is no way I will rest while people are running for school boards around Illinois right now on an explicit agenda to ban discussions about people like me, an intersectional LGBTQ leader, from discussion in school classrooms. No way. This fight is very personal.

Six states have already led efforts to ban books and in the 2021-2022 school year more than 2500 books were banned across the country. We are seeing whole communities being erased from school curricula, public libraries, and community centers. My goal is to ensure that every person in our state, especially young people, that the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth, that next generation of youth struggling to find their place in our society has the right to free and robust access to all books just as I did growing up. Thank you to Temple Sholom for putting on this important event.

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Category: Newsletters

Hello Neighbors!

We are in the midst of the fall veto legislative session. I am working to secure final passage of my Senate Bill 689 that prohibits schools from banning books in classrooms and school curricula. It also outlaws book banning in privately funded libraries or those not receiving state grants. As a recap, my bill cleared the Senate in the spring and awaits approval in the House. The Yorkville Board of Education banned “Just Mercy''' in August, and we are seeing more people running for school boards in the suburbs on an explicit agenda to ban books by and about LGBTQ+ and Black communities. My bill includes specific protections for these categories and other top targeted categories across states including race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion and faith background, reproductive health, sexual health, memoirs and autobiographies. This issue affects many people in our community, and these protections are central to our democracy.

102523CM1077Caption: Members of the Illinois Senate, including Senator Mike Simmons on the left, wear pink last Wednesday in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill that requires school districts and other state-run facilities to contract with vendors to provide kosher and halal food options. I strongly supported the original bill in the spring and am glad to see Senate Bill 457 move forward with the support of stakeholders and the governor.

Concerning energy policy, I voted “no” last spring on House Bill 3445, which passed the Senate and would grant downstate electric utilities – notably Ameren Illinois – the “right of first refusal” for transmission line construction, allowing them a near monopoly on projects. I was glad the governor vetoed it. It was confirmed last week that the House will not move to override the veto this fall session.

Read on for key updates, including an upcoming event for seniors this Friday, my recent visit to the National Public Housing Museum, two awards I was honored to receive for public service, and a recap of recent noteworthy events.

Senator Mike Simmons
7th Senate District

Upcoming District Event

Advocacy and Fraud Protection for Seniors Workshop

Simmons SeniorFraudProtection

CALLING ALL SENIORS! Join me and the Attorney General’s Office this Friday, Nov. 3 from 10 - 11 a.m. at the All Saints Episcopal Church located at 4550 N. Hermitage Ave. (near Wilson and Ashland) as we partner up to host an “Advocacy and Fraud Protection for Seniors Workshop.”

I care deeply about the safety and well-being of our seniors and want to make sure we are providing seniors in our community with the necessary tools and resources for fraud prevention and protection. If you have questions or need more information call our district office or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To read my full newsletter, click here.

Category: Newsletters

General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbor,

I wanted to fire off a special edition newsletter with some new and interesting content. First, I had the chance to do an in-depth interview about my 7th District youth-inspired legislation that will soon create the first statewide youth mental health policy council. See the link to the full interview below.

I also participated in a sprawling and in-depth Chicago Tribune series profiling Illinois’s prominent role in the Underground Railroad. I think it is compelling that so many brave and courageous souls fled slavery and found their way to freedom right through many of our rivers, forests, and backcountry roads throughout Illinois. A branch of my own family on my mom’s side was living in Michigan as early as 1846, and very likely participated in the Underground Railroad. See below for the link to the story.

Lastly, you’ll see a graphic below for our next traveling office hours event at Senn High School on Oct. 3rd. This time we will be curating the townhall for 7th District youth! Enjoy the newsletter and have a safe and fun weekend!


Mike Simmons

simmons sig




State Senator | 7th District


Senator Simmons Discusses Youth Mental Health in Illinois with Outside the Loop Radio

outsidetheloopCaption: Senator Simmons is interviewed by Outside the Loop Radio to discuss youth mental health.

I recently took an interview with Mike Stephen of Outside the Loop to discuss youth mental health in Illinois and my legislation, which requires schools to instruct on how and where youth can access mental health resources. The new law also establishes a soon to debut, first of its kind statewide Student Mental Health Council which will include 14-25 years olds who are queer, black and brown, and others who have been underrepresented in discussions at the State Capitol around how to improve access to mental health.

To listen to the full interview, click here (my segment begins at 16:05.)

Underground Railroad Task Force and Keeping the Legacy of Freedom Seekers Relevant and Present
by Darcel Rockett of the Chicago Tribune


Caption: Clockwise from top left: The Antioch Baptist Church in Venice, Chicago's Finest Marina in Chicago, the Second Reading Book Shop in Alton and The Gillett House in Jacksonville are all Underground Railroad sites in Illinois. Photographs were made using an iPhone tintype filter. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

‘State Sen. Mike Simmons, a North Side Democrat, said that having recognition of the Underground Railroad, specifically Illinois’ prominence in the Underground Railroad is long overdue. As someone who has branches of his family tree in Michigan as early as 1846, Simmons said his ancestors probably used the Underground Railroad network.

“It’s a fascinating point of reflection that Black Americans found a way out of slavery before emancipation through the backcountry and waterways and swamps and thick forests and hostile terrains of several American states largely of their own agency,” Simmons said.’


Recognition of the Underground Railroad and Illinois’ prominence in that history is long overdue. It was a deep and profound joy to personally contribute to Darcel Rockett’s incredible Chicago Tribune article which brings attention to the untold stories of Black communities and freedom seekers and allies in Illinois who shaped and established the local networks of the Underground Railroad in the 1800s.

On my maternal side, I personally can trace back my own family’s lineage to 1846 when a branch of my Black-American ancestors were already living in Michigan. They were undoubtedly a part of the Underground Railroad that ran through Illinois and Michigan and several surrounding states. It is incredible to fully honor and recognize this important history in Illinois. In a significant step in honoring our history, I am proud to have co-led passage of SB1623 into law, which will create a task force to develop a statewide plan to connect existing local projects and new projects to create a cohesive statewide history of the Underground Railroad in Illinois, and create new educational opportunities. We all must keep our collective history alive, especially in the current climate where a movement has grown to erase black history and other communities’ American stories.

7th District Ties to Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad in Illinois has direct ties to the 7th District, with Graceland Cemetery at 4001 N. Clark St. in Lakeview being the final resting place for at least 29 Underground Railroad activists. Accompanying her article on freedom seekers, Darcel Rockett compiled a list of Illinois Underground Railroad historic sites, specifically highlighting Graceland Cemetery, which you can read here.

In 2021, the National Parks Service added Graceland Cemetery to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. To read about their legacies, please visit

Calling All Youth:
Traveling Office Hours at Senn High School


Calling all youth! Join me and my office on Tuesday, October 3 from 4-5PM at Senn High School and make your voices heard at our Traveling Office Hours event. Whether you’re in elementary, junior high, or high school, we want to hear from you about your concerns, questions, and ideas. Your voice is so important and deserves to help shape the future of government in Illinois. See you there!

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter! If you ever want to reach out to our office, please call us at 773-769-1717 and we will respond promptly. We can also be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Category: Newsletters

General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbor,

I hope you enjoy these recent updates from me and our district team. August was a remarkable month where I joined Vice President Kamala Harris in Chicago with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Students Demand Action and hundreds of organizers from around the country who are fighting for sensible gun laws. This rally was held on the same day that the Illinois Supreme Court narrowly voted to uphold the assault weapons ban I strongly supported and helped to pass in January.

I also am proud that my team and I organized and held a Back to School Bash at Sullivan High School where hundreds of people from across our district showed up to get colorful backpacks, supplies, local food, and connected with me and other folks from the neighborhood. We also connected attendees with state services.

During last week’s heatwave, we visited senior buildings across the district to do wellness checks and make sure folks know we’re here for them. Remember, if you or your neighbor is experiencing difficulty during a weather event, feel free to call me and my staff at 773-769-1717 and we will try to connect you with the right assistance.

This weekend I’ll be hosting our second annual “Chalk It Up” event at Whyte Park on Howard Street in Rogers Park, where community members can come and enjoy food, music, and draw a flag (or flags) on the ground that represent who they are as we celebrate the multiculturalism and diversity of the far north side. This is a unique, feel good community-building event and I hope you will stop by and say hi.

Read on for legislative updates and more community updates. See you soon!



Mike Simmons

simmons sig

State Senator | 7th District

 Legislative Updates


GunViolencePrev002Caption: Senator Mike Simmons joins gun violence prevention advocates at a gun safety event with Vice President Kamala Harris in Chicago to promote safer communities and reduce gun violence.

GunViolencePrev001Caption: Senator Mike Simmons and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense join together for a day of advocacy for sensible gun legislation in Chicago with Vice President Harris.

To continue building safer communities and promoting gun-violence prevention, I attended a gun safety event with Vice President Kamala Harris in Chicago in tandem with the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Assault Weapon Ban. I joined Vice President Harris, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, and hundreds of passionate organizers for a day of advocacy for sensible gun legislation in Illinois and across the country.

Earlier this year, I co-sponsored and helped pass the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which outlaws assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Illinois. With the ruling in favor of upholding this ban, Illinois will continue to have one of the strongest assault weapon bans in the country, which will save lives and rebuild communities.

As Vice President Harris said during our afternoon of advocacy, “We don’t have another moment or life to spare.” I will continue to be aggressive in supporting stronger gun laws. I want children to be able to walk to school and feel safe, moms and dads to see their children grow up and become adults, and our schools, places of worship, public transit, and nightclubs to be places where we can live and gather in peace. The racially motivated shooting this weekend in Florida is a stinging reminder that complacency is not an option and we must agitate for much tighter gun laws at the state and national levels. We cannot let up.

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Category: Newsletters

Newsletter Archive

Office Info

District Office
1040 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 769-1717 (Phone)
(773) 945-9979 (Text)

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

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