SPRINGFIELD – Minors in Illinois would have access to a drug effective at preventing HIV under a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“The medical community has made great strides in developing drugs that treat and prevent HIV,” Peters said. “If we can increase the number of kids who have the means to help prevent the disease, we can take a huge step toward eliminating it.”

House Bill 2665 would allow minors 12 years and older to receive health care services related to prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, rather than just treatment, without parental consent. This includes receiving a prescription for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug that, when used correctly, is over 90 percent effective at preventing transmission of HIV.

“There are a lot of young people who don’t feel safe going to their parents with issues like these, which puts them at risk of becoming HIV positive,” Peters said. “They should have the right to protect themselves by asking for a PrEP prescription without needing their parents to say it’s okay.”

According to the Department of Public Health, gay youth account for 85 percent of new diagnoses of HIV among youth aged 13 to 24.

“It’s time to face the reality: teenagers have sex,” Peters said. “We need to stop ignoring reality and start addressing an issue that is becoming an epidemic among gay youth in our state.”

The bill is an initiative of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and will align Illinois with federal guidelines regarding preventative health care.

“There are a lot of providers who are scared to even discuss these options with minors because of the backlash they may get from parents,” Peters said. “This bill removes that fear from providers, and I’m glad that my Senate colleagues were not afraid to support this bill that could save lives.”

The bill was approved by both chambers of the General Assembly, and will be sent to the governor for approval.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) banning privately owned detention centers was approved by the Senate.

“I’m glad that my Senate colleagues were able to recognize the serious problems caused when detention centers are run for profit and gave this bill enough support to pass,” Peters said. “I look forward to Gov. Pritzker signing this into law and putting an end to this inhumane practice once and for all.”

House Bill 2040 closes a loophole in the already existing ban on private prisons to extend the ban to civil detention centers as well. The bill was filed as a response to a vote the Board of Trustees in Dwight took in March which approved plans to build a 1,200-bed detention facility.

The bill passed through both chambers of the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – A new bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) would require the Department of Corrections to provide civics education to incarcerated people who will soon be released.

“Jails and prisons are meant to provide rehabilitation, and that means helping re-entry into society,” Peters said. “These folks have already lost their rights while locked up, and so they need to understand these rights so that they can resume being free citizens upon their release.”

House Bill 2541 creates the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act and requires the Departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice to provide non-partisan, peer-led civics programs throughout Illinois correctional facilities to incarcerated people who will be released within 12 months. The curriculum of the program will consist of voting rights, governmental institutions, current affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election, and democratic processes, and are purely educational.

Having passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee, the legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Further showing his commitment to youth in care, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation expanding access to services available to post-placement and post-adoption children.

“I’m a child of adoption, so I have first-hand experience of how important these services are to youth in care,” Peters said. “I want kids who are adopted or placed in foster care to have greater access than I did to the helpful services they require.”

The legislation, House Bill 3587:

  • adds mental health treatment, counseling and support services for emotional, behavioral, or developmental needs, and treatment for substance abuse to the definition of “post-placement and post-adoption services.”
  • expands the requirements of the Department of Children and Family Services to establish and maintain accessible services.
  • requires DCFS to establish and maintain a toll-free number to respond to public requests about the service.
  • requires DCFS to properly publicize the new services and the toll-free number.

The bill is an initiative of the Adoption Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. The organization has argued the legislation will better ensure successful adoptions and lower the rate of children being returned to state care.

Having passed the Senate Human Services Committee, the bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

 

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