051023CM1080SPRINGFIELD – A measure to help connect hospital patients to financial assistance for medical costs passed the Senate Thursday thanks to State Senator Robert Peters.

“Not everyone is fortunate enough to have health insurance to cover medical costs,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “These days, even people with medical insurance are financially vulnerable.”

House Bill 2719 requires hospitals to screen a patient for financial assistance eligibility and to exhaust all cost-reducing avenues before taking a collection action against the patient. Additionally, the measure would provide a 90-day window for a patient to apply for financial assistance or hospital-provided discounts after receiving care.

“Cost savings programs that are available aren’t always promoted enough to folks who are financially vulnerable,” Peters said. “Hospitals aren’t always equipped with the resources to inform patients of financial assistance programs. This measure seeks to support both hospitals and hospital patients in a way that benefits the entire community.”

House Bill 2719 passed the Senate Thursday.

Category: Press Releases

050423CM0703SPRINGFIELD – Time served in county jail could soon be included as part of the minimum 60-day sentence required to earn discretionary sentence credit, thanks to State Senator Robert Peters.

“The mission of the Department of Corrections includes promoting progressive change for incarcerated individuals,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Granting sentence credit to those who have participated in rehabilitation programs is not only in line with the mission of the Department of Corrections, but it reimagines the way we envision jails. Instead of correctional facilities, they should be treated as true rehabilitation centers.”

House Bill 3026 would change the Unified Code of Corrections to include time served in county jail as part of the minimum 60-day sentence required before the Director of Corrections may award discretionary earned sentence credit.

According to the Alliance for Safety and Justice, opportunities for rehabilitation reduce crime and improve long-term public safety outcomes. The organization asserts that the public safety benefits of rehabilitation programs during incarceration are well-documented, and studies demonstrate that programming is most effective when paired with strong incentives for participation.

Under current law, Illinois correctional facilities may award sentence credit of up to 15% for a litany of crimes and offenses. House Bill 3026 empowers the Illinois Department of Corrections to award credits more fairly by recalculating previously-awarded credits and awarding new credits for participating in qualifying activities, such as educational programs or substance abuse treatment programs.

“Turning the clock back on a person’s sentence after they are transferred to a state correctional facility from a county jail benefits no one,” Peters said. “Treating incarcerated individuals as human beings by implementing common-sense methods fosters safer communities.”

House Bill 3026 passed the Senate Wednesday.

Category: Press Releases

050423CM0536SPRINGFIELD – To increase the baseline financial penalty for civil rights violations, State Senator Robert Peters championed a measure to create the Civil Rights Remedies Restoration Act.

“Business enterprises receiving federal funds should not be immune to the consequences of discriminating against people,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Protecting businesses from punishment when they knowingly commit discriminatory acts goes against Illinois values.”

House Bill 2248 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.

The bill would allow state claims for violations of federal civil rights laws to be heard in any court with jurisdiction. It further provides that Illinois courts may award no less than $4,000 in damages or other relief for violations.

“Illinois has maintained the status of being a welcoming state for everyone,” Peters said. “The Civil Rights Remedies Restoration Act will serve as a source of relief for those seeking assistance for emotional distress due to discrimination. Considering previous court rulings that have prevented Illinois courts from intervening, this measure eliminates the red tape and allows victims to pursue financial justice.”

House Bill 2248 passed the Senate Wednesday.

Category: Press Releases

050423CM0526SPRINGFIELD – In response to the Illinois Supreme Court decision in The People of the State of Illinois v. Kelan W., State Senator Robert Peters’ measure changing the definition of a delinquent minor passed the Senate Thursday.

“Illinois courts should not be able to prosecute minors for violations of another state’s laws,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “This measure prevents an overreach of power, which can blur the lines between the role Illinois has on other states’ criminal justice systems and vice versa.”

In The People of the State of Illinois v. Kelan W., sixteen year-old Kelan stole a vehicle in Missouri and used it to drive to Illinois, where Kelan resides. The Illinois court system petitioned to charge Kelan as a delinquent minor based on the carjacking taking place in Missouri and under Illinois laws against unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. The Illinois supreme court allowed Kelan to be tried for violating both states’ laws.

Under current law, a delinquent minor is any minor who, prior to their 18th birthday, has violated or attempted to violate, regardless of where the act occurred, any federal, state, county or municipal law or ordinance. Illinois courts currently hold the ability to prosecute delinquency proceedings for a violation of another state’s laws.

House Bill 2223 redefines a delinquent minor as a minor who violates or attempts to violate a state, local or municipal law or ordinance. Peters’ measure also removes a provision that a minor may meet the definition of delinquent regardless of where the violation or attempted violation occurred.

“Subtle loopholes are rarely favorable toward vulnerable communities,” said Peters. “Implementing clear and equitable measures on how to conduct court proceedings fosters lasting public safety.”

House Bill 2223 passed the Senate Thursday.

Category: Press Releases

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