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

May 5, 2023

The Honorable Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Mayor Lightfoot:

As far back as the early 1910s, Chicago served as a city of refuge for those looking to escape social, political and physical execution. Over half a million people fled the southern United States seeking to protect their families and the future generations after them. Chicago was not proactive in preparing housing, educational opportunities, and implementing measures in the face of The Great Migration to rid the city of discrimination at the time, resulting in today’s legacy of de facto segregation. In an effort to close the gap left by the negligent response by the City, local churches and social organizations provided travel, housing and employment assistance to those seeking refuge. Today, many of the descendants of those who participated in The Great Migration are healthy Chicago natives that contribute financially, socially and culturally to the City we know and love.
Mirroring the great migration, we are now faced with the responsibility to accept migrants being shuttled from Texas and help them assimilate into the United States. This responsibility has stretched the limits of our cooperative social service groups, as many migrants are now staying in overcrowded spaces. This is unacceptable, and we should be supporting our local churches, as we did during The Great Migration, to help vulnerable people and treat them with the dignity they deserve. St. Kevin’s Church in South Deering is a great option to shelter migrants and equip them with appropriate support services. St. Kevin’s Church has an unblemished tradition of service and outreach as they have an unwavering respect for life.
Chicago has always served as a sanctuary city, so it is disappointing to witness the prolonged attempt to reach out to social organizations, such as Centro de Trabajadores Unidos , to stabilize overpopulated shelters. As we continue to receive migrants and brace for the impact of additional migrants seeking refuge in the United States, we need to take advantage of local entities such as St. Kevin’s Church and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos that are willing and capable of assisting those in their time of need. I urge you to recognize this event for what it is, a humanity crisis, and operate accordingly.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sen. Robert Peters signature
Robert Peters
Illinois State Senator, 13th District

Category: News

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