Monsters of the Midway Act sparks discussion of the role of public dollars financing sports franchises

CHICAGO – Nearly 20 years ago, the Bears were warned that their Soldier Field renovation plans were too small, too limited in use and downright ugly. The Bears dismissed those concerns and moved full speed ahead in their demand for more than a half billion dollars in public funding to redo the stadium according to their vision.

Now, they’re preparing to walk away from it and potentially move to suburban Arlington Heights. All the reasons for their move are the concerns brought up and rejected by the Bears 20 years ago.

“We need to have a serious discussion about the role of public dollars used to finance stadiums for multibillion dollar private professional sports enterprises,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), a lifelong Bears fan who represents the near South Side district that includes the football stadium and surrounding neighborhoods.

Soldier Field is owned by the Chicago Park District and has been the home stadium of the Chicago Bears since the team’s move from Wrigley Field in 1971. The field was remodeled in 2002 at the cost of $660 million, making the Bears the recipient of the then-largest single government contribution to a professional sports team in U.S. history. Last month’s Forbes valuation of the Chicago Bears franchise was just over $4 billion, making the team the seventh most valuable NFL franchise.

Read more: Peters fights Bears potential move from Chicago

Category: Press Releases

Peters energySPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) praised the energy plan that passed the General Assembly Monday, saying it will help fight climate change and transition Illinois to a renewable energy economy that includes minority workers.

“I represent a district that borders Chicago’s lakefront, and we’re seeing the results of climate change now,” Peters said. “Changing water levels are causing increased erosion and endangering parks, businesses, and homes on Lake Michigan. But, those are just short-term effects – in the long term, we’re talking about making sure humans can still live on the planet.”

The legislation would establish a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. It also would more than double the state’s budget for renewable energy and set a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2040. It would further set firm deadlines for fossil fuel-burning power plants to either close or repurpose to produce clean energy, and it would allow two new renewable energy transmission lines to be built.

Read more: Peters praises energy plan that fights climate change

Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – In an effort to lower recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated people, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) sponsored a new law that would provide these individuals with information to help them in their reintegration into society.

“Recidivism is caused by instability, period,” Peters said. “When a person is released from prison, they have to reenter a life they’ve been away from for months, years or decades. If they’re not given an opportunity to live their best lives, then they may face challenges that risk further destabilization.”

Read more: Peters takes on recidivism with new law

Category: Press Releases

Measure is first-in-the-nation approach

CHICAGO – Illinois will become the first state to provide people experiencing mental health crises with more appropriate responses thanks to a law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“Our goal as public servants must be to provide treatment, not trauma,” Peters said. “Trained mental health officials responding to mental health emergencies is how we provide that treatment. The alternative is how we risk furthering trauma.”

In July of 2020, the federal government laid the groundwork for 988 to become the new easy-to-remember number to call in the event of a mental health emergency, working similar to 911. Peters’ law would require local governments to coordinate 911 and 988 services, with the goal of diverting people with mental or behavioral health needs toward community care and away from incarceration or improper hospitalization.

“When you call an emergency number for a mental health emergency, you should be able to get a trained mental health response, and starting today, you will,” Peters said.

Some local jurisdictions, such as Eugene, Ore., have implemented similar measures, but House Bill 2784 is the first state-wide measure of its kind in the country. It passed the General Assembly with no opposition, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

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