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

SPRINGFIELD – The minimum wage in Illinois will increase to $15 per hour by 2025 under a new law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker today. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) was with the governor when the bill was signed, and afterward released the following statement:

“I am thrilled to see the Governor take such swift action sign into law the bill we worked so hard to pass through the Senate. This minimum wage increase is nearly a decade in the making, and it’s a great day for Illinois now that it’s here. I’m proud to have co-sponsored the bill and am honored to have been involved in helping it get passed.

“Wages have been stagnant for years, despite laborer productivity being at an all-time high. Many people throughout the state work more than 40 hours per week and still don’t take home enough to pay their bills. It’s high time we address this issue that is crippling to so many middle class families in Illinois and restore to them the dignity they deserve.

“I would like to thank Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford for her years of hard work and dedication to this issue. This never would have happened were it not for her. Thanks also to Rep. Will Guzzardi for carrying the bill in the house and ensuring it got the required number of votes in that chamber.

“I would also like to thank the many organizations representing businesses who came to the table and negotiated in good faith; particularly, the Illinois Restaurant Association and its President and CEO Sam Toia. Sam did great work brining restaurants to the table and looking out for folks in Illinois, which ensured that the final bill provided relief to employers while still delivering workers the boost in wages they so desperately deserved. Businesses cannot function without their workers, and it was good to see business leaders recognize that.

“Finally, I would like to thank the many incredible grassroots organizations representing the workers, like Fight for $15, for the tremendous effort they put into organizing the outreach that was crucial to this bill finding the support it needed to pass.

“There is still a lot more work to be done to address the problems that arise from issues like income inequality and wealth hoarding, but an increase in the minimum wage is a great first step toward ensuring that no one is forced to live in poverty.”

Category: Press Releases

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) voted Thursday to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

“Wages have remained unchanged for years despite worker productivity being at an all-time high,” Peters said. “It has been too long since the working class people of our state have received just compensation for the labor they provide. I'd like to thank Senate  Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford for her years of hard work on this extremely important issue, and I'm honored to have voted for the bill that finally let her achieve her goal.”

The legislation is Senate Bill 1, which would gradually increase the minimum wage in steps from its current level of $8.25 per hour to $15 per hour by Jan 1, 2025.

Peters also recognized the hard work of activists and organizers who fought for an increase.

“This would never have been possible without the efforts of great organizations like the Fight for Fifteen movement,” Peters said. “I want to personally thank them for their diligent work in organization and outreach that helped to finally deliver the relief that struggling working class families have desperately needed for the past 30 or 40 years.”

The legislation will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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