resized022223CM0089SPRINGFIELD – Financial penalties for civil rights violations will increase starting Jan. 1 under the new Civil Rights Remedies Restoration Act that State Senator Robert Peters championed.

“In previous court rulings, Illinois has been prevented from intervening in discriminatory damages and relief – this measure eliminates the red tape,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “We can’t put a price on mending the emotional trauma endured as a result of discrimination but we can ensure we provide substantial support to enable those suffering a firm financial footing on their restorative journey.”

This act was created in response to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C. that ruled emotional distress damages are not recoverable in a private action under the anti-discrimination provisions of either the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Peters’ new law allows state claims for violations of federal civil rights laws to be heard in any court with jurisdiction. The measure also allows Illinois courts to award no less than $4,000 in damages or other relief for violations, including damages for past, current and future monetary losses, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-monetary losses.

“The Civil Rights Remedies Restoration Act restores the rights first won 50 years ago for people with disabilities within Illinois,” said Senior Attorney Charles Petrof of Access Living. “The passage of this act demonstrates that Illinois is committed to honoring and continuing the legacy of the disability rights movement.”

House Bill 2248 takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.