SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect the rights of working class people across the state of Illinois, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) voted favorably on a bill that would ban right-to-work zones throughout Illinois.

“Unions are crucial to safeguarding the well-being of workers and working class people,” Peters said. “Any attempt to deny workers the right to unionize or collectively bargain should be prevented.”

Senate Bill 1474 creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which permits employers and labor organizations to negotiate agreements that require union membership as a condition of employment. The legislation would also prohibit local laws or regulations that create “right-to-work zones” or disallow union requirements.

“The term ‘right to work’ is misleading,” Peters said. “The name implies that it is beneficial to workers, but it is actually harmful since it allows employers to prevent the formation of unions that protect the rights and interests of the workers who are a part of them.”

Peters was also a chief-co sponsor of the bill, which passed the Senate and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – After viewing Gov. JB Pritzker’s 2019 Budget Address, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) released the following statement:

“The previous four years have conditioned me to automatically dislike the annual Budget Address, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that Gov. Pritzker’s vision for the future of the state is one that is beneficial to all of the people who live here.

“I’d like to congratulate the governor for what I believe to be some very important and advantageous promises that he made in his speech. I’m glad he vows to increase investment in early childhood and K-12 education, because delivering folks a good, fulfilling life has to start young.

“I’m glad he vows to invest in social services like the CCAP program and disability services, because supporting those who need it throughout their entire lives is one of the most crucial functions of government.

“I’m glad he vows to invest in criminal justice efforts and violence prevention programs, as well as move to legalize recreational marijuana. However, I do caution that any attempt to legalize marijuana must be paired with expungement legislation so that folks who are currently in prison for marijuana offenses have a path toward release once it becomes legalized.

“This is a very good foundation upon which we can build a brighter future for everyone in Illinois that will help bridge the income inequality gap that plagues our state.

“I recently read an article about the income inequality in Chicago, which is growing at an alarming and potentially unsustainable rate. This hit home for me, because that’s where I live. It’s where I grew up, it’s where the people I represent live.

“We can use this budget as a springboard to leap toward more progressive forms of revenue, particularly a fair, progressive income tax that shifts the burden off of the black and brown working class families and onto the wealthy people who can afford to pay their fair share.

“This is a very promising budget. It’s not fully where it needs to be just yet, but I’m confident that with enough hard work, the General Assembly can use this budget as a starting point towards a functional, stable government that works for everyone and leaves no one behind.”

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – Recently released inmates people would no longer need to reimburse the Illinois Department of Corrections for the cost of their incarceration under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) which passed out of a Senate committee today.

“It’s ridiculous that a provision like this even exists in the first place,” Peters said. “These people already have a major burden placed on them by the criminal justice system. It’s unconscionable that there’s an additional financial burden placed on them once they’re finally released, and only makes a return to a life of crime more likely.”

Under current law, recently released persons are required to reimburse the DOC for any expenses incurred as a result of their incarceration. The measure, Senate Bill 1158, strikes this requirement from the statute.

The bill passed through the Senate Committee on Criminal law and will now proceed to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – People charged with misdemeanors who are deemed unfit to stand trial would be allowed to be transferred into special programs under a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters.

“There is an alarming number of mentally unwell people who have been convicted of misdemeanors despite being unfit to stand trial for these crimes, and as a result, a lot of these folks end up stuck in the criminal justice system for longer than their original sentence,” said Peters, a Chicago Democrat. “By allowing these people to be transferred into misdemeanant diversion programs, we can give them the help that they so desperately need, which comes not from a jail cell, but from a program designed around their rehabilitation.”

Misdemeanant diversion programs offer mentally ill people charged with a misdemeanor an alternative to incarceration. The programs work to identify individuals with mental illnesses, provide these individuals with stabilizing treatment, and direct these individuals away from incarceration and toward community provided mental health services.

The law would require eligibility screening and an assessment of the defendant, and still leaves the discretion to the court. If approved for the diversionary program, the defendant’s charges may be dismissed with or without prejudice.

The measure is Senate Bill 1188. It passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Law and will now be considered by the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

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