General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings 7th District residents! I wanted to provide you with a recap of key updates from the last couple weeks.

Last week I had the incredible opportunity to sit on a panel with our nation’s top doctor, US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthy to discuss efforts to protect youth mental health. Also participating were Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, and Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Murthy and I discussed my efforts to elevate youth voices in policy discussions about mental health. Specifically, he asked about my People’s Legislative Council initiative that has given youth from our district a space to shape legislation I’ve authored and passed. The legislation ensures all Illinois schools provide instruction on how and where to access mental health resources and creates a Student Mental Health Council which includes queer youth voices, voices of youth of color, and diverse mental health professionals. It was truly a joy to welcome Dr. Murthy to Chicago, and I am happy we had a chance to talk about a top legislative and personal priority of mine which is protecting and dramatically increasing access to mental health and health care more broadly for our communities. The two are inextricably bound and I will continue to fight for more access for our neighbors.

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Image: Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Senator Mike Simmons, Dr. Allison Arwady and Dr. Colleen Cicchetti gathered before presenting their panel on Youth Mental Health at the City Club of Chicago.

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Image: Senator Mike Simmons discusses his People’s Legislative Council initiative focused on youth mental health with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Allison Arwady and Dr. Colleen Cicchetti.

On the subject of access to health care, I am proud to have recently introduced SB4245 to make Illinois a sanctuary state by protecting transgender youth and their families that have had their rights violated by states such as Texas and Florida. My bill protects these youth and their families from criminal and civil prosecution for seeking out gender-affirming health care. It’s been devastating to watch state legislatures around the country roll back LGBTQ+ rights and cruelly target trans youth, and it’s time to push back and introduce sweeping protections for LGBTQ+ communities, and especially trans youth who have been subject to mean-spirited and relentless attacks on their rights. Access to health care is a basic human right, and access to gender-affirming care ought to be a protected right for communities that need it.

I also held a press conference last week to announce I’ve secured $1 million in state capital funds for lead pipe replacements in South Evanston. Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and it requires both the commitment and funding to truly begin to grapple with a public health crisis borne by lead that we know affects so many communities – and disproportionately communities of color – here in Illinois and across the country. I was joined at the press conference by US Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Evanston 8th Ward Ald. Devon Reid. In addition to infrastructure funding championed by Rep. Schakowsky, and the ongoing partnership of Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss and Ald. Reid, we are making progress in bringing safe and clean water to South Evanston residents.

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Image: At the Ridgeville Park District Community House in Evanston, Senator Mike Simmons announces that he has secured $1 million to replace lead pipes in South Evanston. He is joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Evanston’s 8th Ward Alderman Devon Reid.

This announcement follows up from HB 4369, a bill I spearheaded in the Senate that’s been signed into law that requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to follow up on lead mitigation notices by carrying out inspections to ensure the work has been completed. Past law merely permitted an inspection, while this new measure will require and enforce lead mitigation efforts. The new law takes effect January 1st, and 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, brown, and working class communities.

Last week my staff and I connected with a group of Evanston and Rogers Park residents at the Howard Area Community Center. We discussed issues that affect them daily – safety on the CTA, struggling small business corridors, houselessness in the community, rights and resources for formerly incarcerated individuals, and overall quality of life. Conversations like these lay the foundation for my work as a legislator. Community conversations like these are intended to demystify government for everyday people, encourage them to seek constituent services, and center their voices in policy and budget discussions. In the new year, I look forward to more initiatives like these. You will see me knocking on doors, hosting outreach events, and participating in community activities. In addition, you can always reach my office at 773-769-1717 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I look forward to meeting you!

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Image: Community members from Evanston and Rogers Park met with Senator Mike Simmons to discuss issues most important to them such as CTA safety, homelessness, and overall quality of life. These conversations lay the foundation for his work as a legislator.

On a personal note, I wanted to say how proud I am that Congress passed and the President of the United States signed the Respect for Marriage Act this week. As the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Illinois Senate, and also being in a loving interracial relationship, this was monumental and deeply validating for me to see so many from the community go to the White House to stand with the President to be on the right side of history. I remember as a youth watching the debates around the Defense of Marriage Act and feeling absolutely marginalized, alone and isolated. What a redemptive day to see relationships like mine and so many across our district affirmed in the law and celebrated across the country!

I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday season! Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ganaa, New Year’s, another holiday, or not observing any of these days, I hope you are able to rest, reflect, and recenter in the days ahead. Please be kind to yourself and your neighbors, and try to check on those who you love or are connected to as this can be a difficult time of the year for those who’ve recently lost loved ones, those who are sick, and those who are living alone like so many are in our communities. I and my team look forward to serving you and being in community together with you in the new year ahead!

As always, my office is available at 773-769-1717 if we can be of assistance. Read on for legislative updates, community recaps, and for a list of helpful resources.

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Image: Happy Holidays from the 7th District team, seen here enjoying holiday lunch at a local restaurant, Immm Rice and Beyond!


Legislative Updates

Expanding Access to Women’s Hygiene Products6

To uphold the health and dignity of all people, I supported legislation to offer menstrual hygiene products at all Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. The bill, HB4218, calls for undergarments and menstrual hygiene products to be available, free of charge, to all people in our prison system and addresses the gender disparities in IDOC facilities. Advocating for the human rights of those who are incarcerated is a priority, and I was proud to cosponsor and vote for this bill which passed the Senate and House during the veto session.

Clarifying the Pretrial Fairness Act

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Image: Senator Mike Simmons speaks in support of the Pretrial Fairness Act in Springfield.

I am happy to share that during my most recent time in Springfield, I supported a clarifying measure to the Pretrial Fairness Act and portions of the SAFE-T Act to ensure smooth implementation of the law.

The plan we passed clarifies the law and combats false narratives spread by opponents while also preserving the protections for crime survivors, and ensures we eliminate the use of cash bail and cease criminalizing poverty.

The measure specifies that judges can issue warrants and summons, provides a reminder that any person who poses a threat to the community or someone else – including trespassers – can be arrested, and clarifies court authority when it comes to electronic monitoring, among other items. For more information on the bill, click here.

Thank you again to the many activists, community members, and agencies from all across Illinois who worked to protect the Pretrial Fairness Act. No one should be kept locked up because they are poor or allowed to walk free because they are rich.

Restoring Fiscal Stability

In the last legislative session, the Senate continued our mission of making sound fiscal decisions through the passage of a bipartisan plan to eliminate pandemic-related unemployment debt and protect benefits for workers.

The historic agreement will pay off the remaining unemployment insurance loan balance and replenish the fund following distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was proud to support a measure that improves the financial status of our state, saves taxpayers millions in interest costs, and alleviates burdens looming over businesses.

Divesting from Russia

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In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I was proud to Chief-Cosponsor and vote for legislation that would require the divestment of public funds in Russian and Belarusian banks and companies. The bill will also allow the Department of Human Services to address Ukrainian refugee resettlement, so that those fleeing violence may continue to find a safe haven in the United States. House Bill 1293 passed both chambers of the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature.

Commemorating President Obama’s Historic Campaign

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Image: Senator Mike Simmons stands with colleagues in Springfield to commemorate President Barack Obama’s 2007 and 2008 presidential campaign announcements.

I was proud to join my colleagues to unveil a new historical marker at the Old State Capitol building commemorating the launch of Barack Obama’s historic campaign for president. On the same steps where President Abraham Lincoln announced his candidacy in 1832, then-Senator Obama began his historic race for president in 2007. I am thrilled to see this historical marker placed at the Old State Capitol, forever enshrining Illinois as a home of change-making leaders.


Community Updates

Virtual Town Hall

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Image: Senator Mike Simmons and the District Office Team present a Virtual Town Hall on December 6.

On Tuesday, December 6 my office held a virtual Town Hall meeting. We introduced ourselves and the services we provide, and I shared accomplishments and legislative updates from the past year, ending with planned initiatives for the coming year. If you missed it, please click here to watch the recording or click here to access the PowerPoint.

St. Benedict’s Senior Luncheon

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Image: Almost 300 seniors from within our district attended St. Benedict’s Senior Luncheon, where I was able to share how my office can provide services and support, and highlight my past work of including seniors in our People’s Legislative Council initiative.

The St. Benedict Senior Luncheon returned this year for an in-person gathering, bringing almost 300 seniors together to enjoy a meal and holiday music provided by St. Benedict School. I had an opportunity to share that my office is committed to supporting our seniors, connecting them with services like Medicaid/Medicare, housing needs, and community services.

My staff was busy serving food, handing out collateral, and presenting raffle prizes. Thank you to Alderman Matt Martin’s office for coordinating, along with staff and students of St. Benedict Preparatory School!

Congratulating White Crane Wellness Center

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Image: White Crane Wellness Center staff and residents receive the 2022 Governor’s Engaging Aging Award.

On Dec. 6th I had the pleasure of joining White Crane Wellness Center in Andersonville as they celebrated receiving a 2022 Governor’s Engaging Aging Award. This incredible non-profit organization serves our seniors on a local level and serves as a national model for achieving healthy aging.

Through their daily efforts and programs, older adults are able to improve and sustain their health. The work that they do is invaluable for an often overlooked part of the community. Thousands of lives of older adults have been improved by the efforts of the dedicated staff. I am proud to have White Crane Wellness Center as part of the 7th District.

Holiday Office Hours

This time of year is a time of celebration for so many. As we, the 7th District, embrace our diverse cultures, traditions, and holidays, I wish you health and peace.

Please know that our physical office location at 5533 N Broadway will be closed on the following days for the holidays: December 23, 2022- January 2, 2023. However, if you have an urgent need please do not hesitate to 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..

Wishing all of you a safe, joyous and Happy Holidays!!!

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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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