SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Senate today approved the Reproductive Health Act, which establishes the fundamental right for individuals in Illinois to make their own decisions regarding reproductive health care.

Following the historic vote, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) issued the following statement:

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen unprecedented attacks on reproductive health rights from several states across the country. These attacks are targeted and regressive, meant to secure patriarchal power against women, queer folks, and people of color.

“These states are sending a clear message that the health of women, trans men, non-binary people, or anyone whose health relies on the safeguarding of reproductive rights, does not matter to them. I’m proud to have stood with my colleagues in the Senate today to declare that Illinois does not share that belief.

“Reproductive rights are human rights, and so long as I have the power to do so, I will defend reproductive health rights, so that people in this state aren’t forced to return to the days of coat hangers in a dark alley. Safe, legal abortions are a fundamental right and I will always protect a person’s ability to make that decision themselves.

“Anti-women, anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-choice rhetoric is becoming alarmingly more and more mainstream over recent months. We need to stand up and reject that rhetoric. I did so in the past by signing on as a cosponsor to the Reproductive Health Act and advocating for its passage, I did so today by voting for bill, and I will continue to do so going forward by defending reproductive rights whenever they come under attack for as long as I am able.”

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Adults 21 years of age or older will be able to possess and consume recreational cannabis under a bill passed by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who voted in support of the bill, issued the following statement:

“This bill is long overdue. It is a historic vote that addresses many of the policy failures of the past, and I’m happy to have helped pass it through the Senate. I’m also glad the bill includes provisions to ensure equal opportunities for people of color in terms of licensing within the cannabis market.

“I want to commend the sponsors, Senator Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for the years of hard work finally resulting in the passage of this legislation. I want to thank Senator Toi Hutchinson, Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, Dep. Gov. Christian Mitchell, and the many organizers who have spent years if not decades fighting to bring about this change.

“Communities of color have always been disproportionately affected by the so called ‘war on drugs’. I’m glad this bill included the means to expunge records, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. This is a good victory in a much larger battle to reduce the population of incarcerated black and brown folks in this state. We will continue to organize in the future around this and other equitable fights.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Formerly incarcerated people will no longer be liable to reimburse the Department of Corrections for the cost of their incarceration under a new bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“‘Pay to stay’ is morally wrong,” Peters said. “These folks are already being punished for their crimes by being locked up. It’s unconscionable that we would place them into indentured servitude upon their release.”

House Bill 900 restricts the Department of Corrections from suing formerly incarcerated people for costs associated with their incarceration. This restriction already exists in certain jurisdictions in the state; the bill extends the restriction statewide.

Peters also noted the structural disadvantages that the “pay to stay” system reinforces.

“‘Pay to stay’ disproportionately affects people of color, who are already at a disadvantage from the moment of their birth because of the systemic biases that exist in our society,” Peters said. “‘Pay to stay’ is regressive and harmful and it has no place in our modern world.”

The bill passed the Senate and the House of Representatives, and will be sent to the governor’s desk for approval.

Category: Press Releases

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

“Civics education is important in general, but especially for incarcerated folks who may have been locked up for a while and don’t remember the civic rights they’re afforded,” Peters said. “By providing this education, we can help returning citizens learn how to exercise their rights once they return to society.”

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

The bill passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support, and will be sent to the governor for approval.

Category: Press Releases

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