04262018KS2985SPRINGFIELD—Businesses along Illinois’ borders will be able to better take advantage of state resources thanks to legislation that passed the Senate today.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) is the sponsor of Senate Bill 3285, which aims to help businesses located in Illinois identify existing and often underused state resources.

“Running a business is hard work, and it’s important that we make it easier for business owners to figure out what state resources are available to help them and their businesses be successful,” said Sims. “It is necessary for our state to have an economic development plan to attract new businesses, but it is equally important that we have a plan to help Illinois’ current businesses grow and be successful. This legislation will help ensure Illinois businesses are able to compete with businesses in neighboring states.”

SB 3285 directs the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create a strategy to assist cities, towns and villages located along the borders of Illinois. The information would be made available to Illinois businesses and the general public on the Department’s website.

“This legislation will not only help border communities, but the measure could help and potentially prevent businesses throughout the state from leaving,” said Sims. “As I talk to entrepreneurs in my district, it is clear they want a plan to help them compete with their out-of-state neighbors and this legislation will help businesses throughout our state.”

The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 54-0 and moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Sims Presser

SPRINGFIELD—Many mothers across the state struggle to use the court system in Illinois because they lack a place to breastfeed and pump.

State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed Senate Bill 3503 out of the Senate today. The legislation requires circuit courts to have a lactation room.

“Mothers should not have to worry about where they’ll be able to pump and breastfeed while they’re working or visiting our courthouses. A simple solution is to provide them with space to pump and feed their children so they can return to court,” said Sen. Sims.

The legislation stipulates that the rooms be located outside of restrooms, and they must include a chair, table, electrical outlet and a sink with running water.

One mother from Wilmette has faced obstacles working as a lawyer and not having a lactation room.

“After maternity leave in 2016, I was excited to argue a dispositive motion alone. I asked personnel where I could pump and was told the restroom. Assuming perhaps there was a lounge in the ladies’ room, I checked it out. Not only was it merely a restroom, but there were no plugs for me to use,” said Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg.

This is a problem many mothers who are nursing face. Oftentimes, not having a lactation room forces them into uncomfortable or inconvenient circumstances.

“I asked for an alternative accommodation and was told I could use the cafeteria and just face the wall. After an uncomfortable but successful morning, I ended up driving to my grandmother’s home in Lincolnshire to pump,” said Schnitzer Eisenberg.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the chief House sponsor.

“My hope is that we move this bill as soon as possible. No one – especially a nursing parent – should be forced to choose between doing their civic responsibility as a juror and being able to pump breast milk for an infant.  We need to get this proposal enacted into law to protect parents throughout Illinois,” said Rep. Cassidy.

Senate Bill 3503 passed the Senate 54-0 and moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Sims Image

SPRINGFIELD—Illinois colleges and universities, particularly institutions like Chicago State University (CSU) would be further devastated by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget, which aims to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in pension and health care costs to state universities.

CSU enrolls approximately 7,000 students on the South Side of Chicago, including the 17th District represented by State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago). As a result of the governor’s budget crisis, CSU experienced enrollment declines, increased maintenance costs and other challenges. 

“We will not stand by as this governor tries to shift $101 million in pension costs onto our state universities,” Sims said. “This will only lead to higher tuition costs and add a burden that students and families who seek a better education through Chicago State can’t bear right now.”

CSU’s enrollment dropped by 33 percent from 2015 to 2017. Only 118 students started as new full-time freshmen at the school last fall.

The governor’s plan would saddle universities with $105 million in new health care costs.

“Enough is enough. We have to make Chicago State University, Olive-Harvey College and all state universities and colleges a priority to prevent the further out-migration of students and to restore financial stability to these great institutions,” Sims said. “I will fight along with my colleagues to save our schools and help provide the crucial resources needed to revive them from the budget mess the governor created.”

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) released the following statement after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address:

“In his budget address for the upcoming fiscal year, the governor has once again failed to present the General Assembly with a reasonable plan to address the fiscal challenges facing our state.

The governor fails to outline a plan to address the state’s backlog of old bills, invest in struggling communities, and he undermines the gains we made to increase funding for our schools. The reality is that under his administration Illinois accumulated $17 billion in old bills and it is essential that we lay out a realistic budget framework that restores stability in our great state.

I’m disappointed the governor attempted to fix the budget mess he created by attacking the hard-earned retirement of teachers and state and community college professors. These hard working professionals help shape the minds of our future leaders and the promises made to them should be kept.

It’s also unfortunate that this governor is making cuts to services crucial to our communities. He’s decided to cut funding from programming vital to providing opportunities to at-risk populations, including Teen Reach and the Youth Employment Program, which help keep our kids off the street and teaches them the importance of hard work.

Governor Rauner has mentioned many times throughout his term that he wants our state to be compassionate. I think it’s well past time that he finally show some of that compassion to working families.”

Category: Press Releases

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