SB 2175SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons championed a new law to expand support for returning citizens to help them reintegrate successfully into their communities and reduce recidivism.

“Returning residents deserve the opportunity to stabilize their lives upon returning to their communities,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Hitting them with outstanding fees and dues immediately following their return is not feasible and often leads to increased recidivism.”

Senate Bill 2175 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. Currently, Illinois does not have a law striking fees for a certain amount of days post-confinement. However, under the Unified Code of Corrections, the court may revoke a fine if good cause is shown.

“Recidivism reduction is doable, we just need to reform our laws to support the rehabilitation of our formerly incarcerated citizens,” Simmons said. “This law will serve as an intervention to reduce recidivism by offering reasonable payment requirements for formerly incarcerated individuals.”

Senate Bill 2175 was signed into law on Friday.

Category: Press Releases

SB 1709SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons assures an increase in the availability and accessibility of mental health resources for students following the signing of Senate Bill 1709.

“Unfortunately, we have seen in increase in young people struggling with their mental health, and they do not have access to the supportive resources they need,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “Especially in our minority and marginalized communities, young people are at higher risk for mental health difficulties due to factors beyond their control.”

Under this new law, the Illinois Department of Human Services and the State Board of Education will provide technical assistance for mental health care during school days to help increase the access students have to mental health services.

This initiative complements the recently launched Illinois Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, specifically recommendation five in the report, by identifying and filling in gaps that exist in school-based mental health care. 

“We have a responsibility to our youth to create an environment where young people can thrive, and that includes addressing their unmet mental health needs,” Simmons said. “By strengthening school-based mental health programs, we are able to fill in those gaps.”

Senate Bill 1709 was signed into law on Friday.

Category: Press Releases

030923KP0520rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Mike Simmons to protect youth survivors from being tried as adults in a number of criminal court cases was signed into law.

“We need to meet youth survivors of human trafficking and other trauma-related cases with support,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “The court system failed to do that for Sara Kruzan, a survivor of child trafficking and the inspiration for this bill. Youth survivors have experienced enough abuse and trauma. This legislation advocates for future survivors by ensuring that court systems consider how the trauma and abuse they experience play a role in their cases.”

Survivor Sara Kruzan was released and pardoned after being sentenced to life at 17 years for acts committed against her abuser, a convicted felon of human trafficking. House Bill 3414 reforms the justice system clarifying whether a minor should be tried as an adult if the crime the minor commits is against someone who was convicted of human trafficking or of a sex crime targeting the minor within the last three years. If that is the case, the court will be able to transfer them to juvenile court.

This law expands the number of factors judges can consider in deciding whether or not to issue an order to prosecute a minor as an adult for a felony offense. These factors include child welfare involvement, mental health issues, having been subject to sexual violence and other trauma, or outside pressure from a minor’s peers, family or community.

“As legislators we have a responsibility to our constituents,” Simmons said. “Advocating for change in the criminal justice system’s treatment of kids, and reforming sentencing practices that ignore the abuse and trauma of trafficking, is part of that.”

House Bill 3414 was signed into law on Friday, June 30. 

Category: Press Releases

030723CM0712SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Simmons championed a new law to make it easier for people with disabilities and senior citizens to keep their free and reduced fare public transportation benefits.

“This law will help those living with disabilities and seniors in the 7th District maintain their access to CTA, Metra and Pace services without worrying about navigating confusing agency renewal policies,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “I want to thank my constituents and the RTA for their hard work in negotiating this legislation so we could remove unnecessary extra steps for seniors and people with disabilities who rely on public transit.”

Senate Bill 1892 provides that Regional Transportation Authority benefits for people with disabilities and senior citizens will, after an initial eligibility determination is made for a Ride Free card, automatically renew every five years after receiving a copy of the individual's government ID to verify their Illinois residency. The law eliminates the need for a customer to recertify their income or disability status.  

Currently RTA’s Ride Free and Reduced Fare cards for CTA, Metra and Pace buses and trains are valid for up to two years. However, this law will automatically renew cards for those who may not be able to travel to a physical location to renew or who do not have the means or access to the internet to renew online.

“Many people in the 7th District rely on our public transportation,” Simmons said. “I am proud this law will ensure public transit services are more accessible and humane for folks who really need it.”

Senate Bill 1892 was signed on Friday, June 30 and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.  

Category: Press Releases

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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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