011023CM0139SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans whose family member was killed in a violent crime will soon be able to take two weeks of unpaid leave, thanks to a new law sponsored by Senator Robert Peters.

“The pain of homicide and other violent crimes on families, from the original trauma to re-victimization from the investigation and prosecution, is unimaginable,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “We can’t expect anyone to operate as usual under these circumstances. People need time to adjust to their new normal.”

A report published by the University of California, Berkeley Law School’s International Human Rights Law Clinic found that family members of homicide victims commonly experience anxiety, depression, complicated grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of PTSD can include nightmares, intrusive thoughts, startled reactions, and difficulty concentrating – and almost a quarter fully develop PTSD which means that they experienced intense, ongoing symptoms that interfered with day-to-day functioning.

The Victims Economic Security and Safety Leave Act provides employees who were victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, gender violence, or any other violent crime up to 12 weeks of leave.

Under Peters’ new law, all employees who are already eligible for leave under the Victims Economic Security and Safety Leave Act may now use up to 10-days of leave for bereavement when family members fall victim to violent crime.

“We have to remember that trauma manifests in both physical and mental ways,” Peters said. “Grief isn’t linear and there’s no set time frame in which people are able to grieve. This measure gives families something to fall back on in the event of the unthinkable.”

House Bill 2493 was signed into law Friday.

Category: Press Releases

011023CM0669SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters, time served in county jail will soon be included as part of the minimum 60-day sentence required to earn discretionary sentence credit.

“Public safety reform needs to happen at every stage of the system,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Instead of being treated as a number, incarcerated individuals ought to be treated as the humans they are. Modernizing earned sentence credit methods is one way to recognize the humanity of incarcerated individuals.”

Peters’ new law also ensures the Department of Corrections will recalculate program credits awarded to those with justice system involvement who completed rehabilitation programs or re-entry planning before July 2021 at the rate set for the credits on and after July 2021.

“Individuals involved in the justice system who participate in rehabilitation programs while serving time are making positive strides toward personal development and should be rewarded,” said Peters. “This new law makes sure that earned sentence credit is not only awarded to those who have earned it, but is rewarded on a consistent basis.”

House Bill 3026 was signed into law Friday.

Category: Press Releases

010623CM0217SPRINGFIELD – With the intention of studying a potential payment plan program for owner-occupants to repay delinquent property taxes, State Senator Robert Peters’ measure creating the Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force was signed into law.

“Cook County's annual sale of delinquent property taxes puts people at risk of losing their homes if they fall behind on their property taxes,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Property tax sales and delinquent tax redemption disproportionately affect Black and Brown folks, especially seniors and those living with disabilities.”

Peters’ new law creates the Property Tax Payment Plan Task Force to study a potential payment plan program for residents to repay delinquent property taxes and make recommendations for implementing one or more payment plan options in Cook County. The Task Force will issue a report by Nov. 15, 2023, which will take into account the impact of the payment plan on homeowners, taxpayers, local agencies responsible for the collection of property taxes, and local taxing districts.

“Some people are losing their homes despite owing less than $1,000,” said Peters. “This new task force will illuminate the problems with the current property tax payment system and help local agencies develop ways to partner with homeowners to ensure payment of property taxes instead of taking advantage of people in tough financial situations.”

Senate Bill 74 was signed into law Friday.

Category: Press Releases

032223SC2676SPRINGFIELD – A steadfast champion of criminal justice reform and the rights of people involved in the justice system, State Senator Robert Peters expanded upon his work broadening the civil liberties of the more than 70,000 people on probation in Illinois, which was signed into law Friday.

“Probation offers individuals an opportunity to have a sense of freedom under supervision,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Supervision while adjusting back into modern society should reflect the same rights as civilians in order to accurately judge a person’s ability to maintain the safety of a community.”

Under the new law, an individual on probation, conditional discharge or supervision will not be ordered to refrain from cannabis or alcohol except in specified circumstances. If a court orders someone on probation to be tested for cannabis or alcohol, a statement detailing the relation between the condition of probation and the crime must be provided. The law ensures individuals on probation will not be charged for costs associated with mandatory testing.

Peters’ law also prevents courts from ordering a person on probation, conditional discharge or supervision to refrain from using any substance lawfully prescribed by a medical provider or authorized by the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act.

“There are often circumstances in which individuals on probation use substances like cannabis for medical reasons,” said Peters. “Eliminating barriers for those on probation with a medical diagnosis, as long as the liberties are unrelated to the circumstances that landed them on probation, is a positive step toward true public safety reform.”

Senate Bill 1886 was signed into law Friday.

Category: Press Releases

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