General Updates from Senator Mike Simmons

Dear Neighbor,

I hope this newsletter finds you well! I am proud to share that I have passed 9 bills out of the State Senate - bills that came directly from the advocacy and lived experiences of constituents like you. The bills cover a broad scope of issue areas including providing new protections for residents of affordable housing, new insurance benefits for preventative health screening for liver disease, new requirements for bike and pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements on state routes, and a one year pause on court-assessed fees, fines, and taxes for returning citizens. For full details on each of my 9 bills, please see Legislative Updates below. 

In addition to moving these bills, I toured a CTA bus garage on Chicago’s west side to see for myself the current storage and electric charging facilities used for buses. I have brought forth legislation, SB1864, that would accelerate the timeline for CTA and other Illinois transit agencies to bring online a fully electric bus fleet so we reduce harmful emissions and make our transit systems more sustainable. 

I also witnessed the signing of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act into law, joined a virtual White House Convening on Child Care Access and Affordability, actively participated in several legislative committee meetings, hosted refugee youth in the REACH program at our district office, honored International Trans Day of Visibility, and held a monthly virtual townhall this week. 

I also want to take a moment to lift up a key resource for our district. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is now accepting applications for the Back to Business Grant. If you own a small business and have not received any pandemic-related funding previously, be sure to see if your small business is eligible and apply!

Stay tuned for more updates, and you can always follow along and track my bills (and other bills I’ve co-sponsored), at ILGA.gov.

Sincerely,

Mike Simmons

State Senator | 7th District

Legislative Updates

Senator Mike Simmons Passes 9 Bills Out of the Senate

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons presenting one of his Senate bills for
final action on the Senate floor last week. 

 

Last week I hit a personal legislative record in passing 9 bills out of the Senate by the March 31 deadline for Senate bills. It was a mammoth effort made possible by several of our constituents who have been actively engaged with the 7th District office, advocacy groups, and my colleagues in negotiating and steering each bill through committees and on to floor passage. I also want to thank our Chicago and Springfield staff for their hard work on these bills. Each bill will now move through the House of Representatives. 

 

Here is a rundown of all 9 bills I am proud to have championed and passed out of the Senate:

 

  • SB2013 requires air-conditioning in all newly constructed state-funded affordable housing buildings and units; requirement also applies in state-refinanced affordable housing. 
  • SB2014 requires the Illinois Department of Transportation to make bike and pedestrian safety improvements to non-highway roadways under its jurisdiction whenever routine maintenance is being done on those roads. 
  • SB1282 eliminates co-pays and patient cost-sharing for preventative screenings for liver disease for those between 35-65 years of age regardless of insurer status. 
  • SB1892 will require public transit agencies including RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace to automatically renew Ride Free and Discounted cards for riders living with disabilities and seniors. 
  • SB2175 prohibits courts from ordering the payment of outstanding fees, fines, taxes or any costs arising from criminal proceedings for the first year after a person returns from incarceration. 
  • SB1710 expands the responsibility of any entity that owns a bike trail, requiring them to erect warning signs along the path warning pedestrians and cyclists of a vehicle crossing at least 150 feet before the crossing. The same requirement applies to roadways in advance of a bike trail crossing within 150 feet. 
  • SB2278 helps us plan for complete streets for bikes and pedestrians and public transit riders by providing that local governments will not be required to design, construct, or widen a non-highway state road to accommodate large trucks between 55 and 65 feet in length. This reverses a 2017 law that imposed uniform design standards on roads to allow for large trucks which poses safety issues for cyclists and pedestrians on those routes.
  • SB1709 would require the Illinois Department of Human Services and the State Board of Education to provide technical assistance for mental health care during school days to help increase the access students have to mental health services. 
  • SB1484 creates the Cooperative Housing Fund, which would be used by the Illinois Housing Development Authority to award up to $5 million in grants to organizations developing cooperative housing for residents with an income less than or equal to the median income within the municipality. 

 

Senator Mike Simmons Visits CTA Bus Garage to Advocate for Full Bus Electrification 

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons on his visit to a CTA bus garage
on Chicago’s West Side on Friday, March 17. 

 

In support of legislation I’ve introduced, SB 1864, that accelerates the timeline for CTA and other Illinois transit agencies to bring online a fully electric bus fleet, I visited a CTA bus garage on Chicago’s west side. I saw for myself how each garage is laid out, how the small number of electric buses already online are stored and charged, and got a sense for how bus electrification can be quickly scaled up across Chicago and surrounding regions. It is imperative that we speed up full bus electrification so that we reduce harmful emissions and make our transit systems more sustainable. 

Senator Mike Simmons Meets with Dr. Dinee Simpson, Founding Director of the Northwestern Medicine African-American Transplant Access Program

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons meeting with Dr. Dinee Simpson over Zoom on March 24.

 

I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Dinee Simpson, an organ transplant surgeon and Founding Director of the Northwestern Medicine African-American Transplant Access Program. She is one of only nine black female transplant surgeons in the country. We discussed my legislation, SB 1282, which will remove cost-sharing for preventative, early detection screening for liver disease in high risk populations over 35 years of age. 

 

We also talked about the importance of early detection of liver disease and ways to remove barriers to care for those suffering from liver disease in both the early stages and late stages. Underserved populations – Black Americans, Latinx communities, the underinsured, those struggling with addiction, and many other communities are too often less likely to receive referrals for follow up care for liver disease, are less likely to be listed for organ transplants, and are more likely to die. Liver disease often presents no symptoms until it's too late, and according to the Centers for Disease Control is the 9th leading cause of death. My bill will ensure cost and insurance status is never a barrier to care for those who are suffering from liver disease. 

 

I always value input from subject matter experts when drafting my legislation, and truly value the insight and expertise Dr. Simpson was able to share, which helped to support the passage of SB 1282.

 

Simmons-supported Paid Leave for Workers Act Signed into Law

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons with Governor Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Stratton, Senate Majority Leader Lightford, Senator Gillespie, Senator Pacione-Zayas, Rep. Gordon-Booth, and Rep. Collins at the Bill Signing of the Paid Leave for Workers Act into law on March 13. 

 

I joined Governor Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Stratton and my colleagues to witness the Paid Leave for Workers Act become law. This law, which I Chief-Cosponsored, provides all Illinois employees with a minimum of 5 days of paid time off, which can be used for any reason within a 12-month period. 

 

In my People’s Legislative Council initiative, single moms from our district told me that they often struggle to get time away from work to attend their kid’s parent teacher conferences, attend sporting events, or take a child to the doctor. It is important that all employees in Illinois, especially working single-parents and those with families, have the time they need to handle personal emergencies and obligations without worrying about missing a paycheck or losing their job. This bill provides some much needed peace of mind for when work gets in the way of life!

White House Legislative Convening on Child Care Access and Affordability


Caption: Senator Mike Simmons on a zoom meeting with White House officials Morgan Mohr, Associate Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Jennifer Klein, assistant to the president and director of the Gender Policy Council; as well as state legislators from Indiana, Maryland, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Washington and Virginia. 

 

It was an honor to represent the 7th District and the State of Illinois at the White House’s Convening on Child Care Access and Affordability. Families across the country face high child care costs, making it harder to join the workforce and make ends meet. I am proud that Illinois leads the way by providing paid leave to all workers which was the result of years of hard work led by several of my colleagues, labor and business leaders, and which single moms from our 7th District People’s Legislative Council had advocated for and which I also championed and worked on in the Senate. 

 

I also shared updates about fighting for a permanent child tax credit with a broad coalition of advocacy organizations that are dedicated to the economic well-being of children and families. Sharing these updates made me extremely proud to represent our state. My hope is that our achievements on child care and family inspire action in other states, and I look forward to staying connected with colleagues throughout the country.

Convening legislators from across the country allowed us to listen and learn from our successes and challenges, and to unify ourselves in bringing national structural relief for families, working parents, and children.

 

Senator Mike Simmons In the News

 

  • “New Illinois bill would require AC in all state-funded affordable housing” by Fox 32 Chicago 
  • “Spurred by heat deaths of seniors in Rogers Park, Illinois Senate passes measure requiring AC at state-funded affordable housing” by the Chicago Tribune 
  • “At state hearing, transit advocates call for addressing fiscal cliff, Carter is a no-show” by Chicago StreetsBlog 
  • “Gov. Pritzker signs bill mandating paid leave for Illinois workers,” Paid Leave Act coverage by WGN-TV, watch here
  • “Simmons pushes for legislation to support returning citizens” by IL Sen Dems
  • “Gov. Pritzker Announces New Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center” by Effingham Radio 
  • “Simmons joins White House conversation on childcare access and affordability” by IL Sen Dem 
  • “Sen. Simmons calls for additional funding in Fiscal Year 2024 budget to address HIV epidemic” by WAND 

Small Business Support

Back to Business Grant - Applications Open! 

 

Community Updates

Refugee Education and Adventure Challenge (REACH) Visit


Caption: Senator Mike Simmons meets with three refugee youth and their mentors from the REACH program, which provides experiential learning support through outdoor adventure, leadership, and support services.

Earlier this week I had an amazing opportunity to connect with refugee youth from the 7th District. They are participants of the REACH program through their schools, which stands for Refugee Education and Adventure Challenge. This program was borne of the realization that experiential learning opportunities like outdoor adventure education, youth leadership and peer mentoring, as well as family support services are greatly needed and beneficial to young people who have recently arrived in the U.S., many times fleeing unstable situations in their homeland.

The three young people I met are from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan and our time together was incredibly moving. They have endured unbelievable challenges, and as the son of an Ethiopian refugee myself, it was powerful to connect with these youth through our collective migrant stories. Their tenacity, enthusiasm, and positivity was a call to action and I look forward to supporting their journeys and encouraging them to be co-governing partners in our communities!

Filmmaker Press Event


Caption: Senator Mike Simmons with Governor Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Stratton, Alderman Osterman and members of the film industry announced a record breaking number in film production expenditures on Friday, March 17. 

Our district and city have a long history of film production, and I was proud to celebrate and announce with Governor Pritzker, Lt. Governor Stratton, and Alderman Osterman a record-breaking $691 million in film production expenditures in 2022; a $131 million increase from the pre-pandemic record in 2019. 

We announced this accomplishment at Chicago Filmmakers, located in a refurbished firehouse in Edgewater. This record-breaking achievement comes on the heels of the expansion of the Film Production Tax Credit in 2022, which I supported and which extends the credit through 2033, and launches the Film & TV Workforce Training Program. 

Illinois’ film business creates jobs and supports diverse communities. Our film and TV industry not only creates jobs, but also creates representation on screen as well. For example, the Chicago Film Office's innovative "Chicago Made'' workforce development program aims to transform the region's TV and film workforce by offering job training and placement to Chicago residents ages 24 to 50, primarily from underserved areas of our city. I was proud to stand with the governor and celebrate this historic achievement!




Uprising Bakery and Cafe


Caption: Senator Mike Simmons and staff with Corinna Sac, owner of UpRising Bakery and Cafe, to discuss recent attacks on the Cafe due to a family-friendly drag show on Monday, March 20.

You may have seen Corinna Sac and her business, UpRising Bakery and Cafe of Lake in the Hills, in the news lately. While her business is not within the 7th District, we met via Zoom to discuss how hateful people have profiled, vandalized and targeted her storefront for months - harassing her, her employees and customers because of a family-friendly drag show. 

 

Her situation and ongoing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are appalling. I am taking steps to help her and her employees, and will always fight for anyone who simply wants to live their lives while including and celebrating everyone.

 

I encourage you to visit UpRising Bakery and Cafe. I encourage all my constituents to stand up against hate and lend a friendly and helping hand to Corinna and her cafe. 



Community Events




Chicago Elected Representative School Board Hearings

The Illinois State Senate has launched an online map making portal to encourage public participation in the creation of the new Chicago elected school board districts. This is the start of a new and exciting era in community-led education to empower parents and loved ones to decide what is best for their children and loved ones.

 

Our caucus has convened a Special Committee on the Chicago Elected Representative School Board to conduct citywide hearings throughout April.

 

To stay up to date on upcoming hearings, public submissions and proposals please visit www.ilsenateredistricting.com.

 

 

IDES and State Agency Job Fair



Medicaid Update - English 

Medicaid members! Don't risk losing your health insurance. Please update your address with Illinois Medicaid. It's easy, fast, and free: Call 877-805-5312 from 7:45am–4:30pm or visit medicaid.illinois.gov. If you use a TTY, call 1-877-204-1012.

Medicaid Update - Spanish 

¡Miembros de Medicaid! No se arriesguen a perder su seguro médico. Actualicen su dirección en Medicaid de Illinois. Es fácil, rápido y gratuito: llame al 877-805-5312 de 7:45 a. m. a 4:30 p. m. o visite medicaid.illinois.gov. Si usa TTY, llame al 1-877-204-1012.

Essay Competition for All Illinois High School Students

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship 

 

Immediate Bed Openings: Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital 

 

Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital has immediate openings for children and teens, ages 5-17 who are in need of psychiatric stabilization in an inpatient setting. Their children's unit serves ages 5-11, the other two units serve adolescents ages 12-17. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns or need to make a referral, please do not hesitate to contact admissions directly at 773-878-9700 or for any other needs please reach out to Kaylaa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Skills2Care Free Educational Seminar April 17 

 

Truman College Career Fair April 20th

 

Harry S Truman college is hosting a Spring career fair on Thursday, April 20 from 11 a.m - 2 p.m. located at 1145 W. Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL 60640. Don’t miss your chance to discover your new workforce in their students! 

Adult Protective Services Webinar Series 



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

Request a Meeting or Event

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

facebook logo 64pxtwitter logo 64pxinstagram logo 64px

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.
  4. Cell Phone(*)
    Please let us know your contact phone number.
  5. Invalid Input
  6. Please enter these characters:(*)
    Please enter these characters: RefreshInvalid Input
  7. By selecting the “Opt-in Checkbox” and then clicking "Submit" you agree to (Terms Of Use) | (Privacy Policy) and to receive texts from Senator Simmons at your mobile number. Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies.

Newsletter Archive