CHICAGO – Incarcerated people who are soon due for release will have an opportunity to receive civic education under a new law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“This is the first step toward building and expanding on the civic rights of folks in prisons and jails,” Peters said. “The voices of the folks returning from incarceration are crucial in the fight for mass liberation and breaking the systemic cycle of mass incarceration, which is why it’s important that we allow those voices to be heard.”

House Bill 2541 creates the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act, which directs 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. The programs’ curricula will consist of voting rights, governmental institutions, current affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election, and democratic processes. The law mandates the content of the programs be non-partisan.

The bill was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker today after having passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly with strong, bipartisan support. It is effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – The Department of Corrections will no longer be able to sue former inmates for the cost of their incarceration under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“‘Pay to stay’ is indentured servitude,” Peters said. “These folks served their time and were released from prison, so their punishment should be over. There’s no reason to continue punishing them and risk sabotaging their return to society by imposing a financial burden.”

House Bill 900 prevents the Department of Corrections from suing formerly incarcerated people for costs associated with their incarceration. The bill extends a restriction which already exists in certain jurisdictions to apply statewide.

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

“This practice affects people and communities of color at a wildly disproportionate rate,” Peters said. “It is a regressive, harmful, and predatory action that places additional undue hardships on folks who, at no fault of their own, are already at a disadvantage at birth due to the unjust systemic racial biases that exist. ‘Pay to stay’ has no place in a just society, and I’m proud to have led the charge in the Senate to end it. I commend the governor for taking the necessary actions to abolish it once and for all.”

The law, which is effective immediately, was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – Over the next few months, The Illinois Department of Revenue will hold meetings of the Property Tax Relief Task Force, of which State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is a member.

“There are a lot of folks struggling to pay their property taxes,” Peters said. “We need to figure out a solution to help ease the burden these families face on a regular basis.”

The task force was created when Senate Bill 1932, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker. The task force’s first meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. in Chicago’s Thompson Center.

More information can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/research/taxresearch/Pages/Property-Tax-Relief-Task-Force.aspx

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) would allow minors in Illinois to seek access to an HIV preventative drug without parental consent.

“The number of new HIV cases per year is alarming, but there is a method to help slow the spread,” Peters said. “We should be trying to offer this method to anyone who wants it.”

House Bill 2665 is an initiative of the Aids Foundation of Chicago, and aligns Illinois with federal guidelines regarding preventative healthcare. A drug known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is over 90 percent effective at preventing the transmission of HIV when used correctly. The law allows minors 12 years of age and older to receive health care services related to prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including a prescription for PrEP, without parental consent. Previous law only allowed minors to waive parental consent for services related to treatment or diagnoses.

“Some kids, especially LGBTQ+ kids, don’t necessarily have a welcoming home they can rely on for the support they need,” Peters said. “We need to look out for those kids, too. Allowing them to seek the treatment they need without requiring parental consent gives them that support.”

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

“PrEP can’t straight up eradicate HIV, but it can help reduce the number of diagnoses we see each year,” Peters said. “HIV is ravaging black and brown communities, and access to this medication can go a long way toward stopping that.”

The bill is effective immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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