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Peters looks to increase SNAP eligibility awareness

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 06:48 PM

SNAP students 031919SPRINGFIELD – College students who are potentially eligible for SNAP benefits will now have more opportunities to learn about the program under a new bill proposed by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“Many students rely on SNAP benefits in order to not go hungry, but a lot of folks aren’t taking advantage of these benefits because they don’t even realize they’re eligible,” Peters said.

Senate Bill 1641 requires the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to identify and flag college students who are potentially eligible candidates to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The bill also requires the Commission to develop a notice that includes SNAP eligibility requirements and other additional information and post that notice to places where students are likely to encounter it.

The bill passed through the Senate by a vote of 46 – 1, and will move on to the House of Representatives.

Peters looks to provide the mentally ill with incarceration alternatives

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 04:38 PM

Senator PetersSPRINGFIELD – If a person charged with a misdemeanor is determined by a court to be mentally unfit to stand trial, a bill sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) would allow them to be transferred into diversionary programs instead of entering the criminal justice system.

“People who have mental health issues need to be helped, not neglected,” Peters said. “If we’re able to offer these folks a program that can serve as an alternative to incarceration, we can take a big first step towards ending the criminalization of mental illness.”

These programs, known as “misdemeanant diversion programs,” work to identify individuals with mental illnesses, provide them with stabilizing treatment, and direct them toward community provided mental health services and away from incarceration.

Senate Bill 1188 requires the defendant to be assessed and their eligibility for the programs to be screened and still leaves the final say up to the court. The defendant’s charges may be dismissed with or without prejudice, again left to the discretion of the court, if approved for a diversionary program.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 56-0 and will be sent to the House of Representatives.

Senate approves Peters plan to establish stipend program for apprenticeships

Published: Thursday, April 04, 2019 02:26 PM

peters 021919SPRINGFIELD – Seeking career education is a path that requires fees, tuition and tools, but eligible youth could have those associated costs lessened under a plan proposed by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 1525 requires the Department of Children and Family Services to provide a stipend covering the upfront costs incurred upon entering an apprenticeship program. New apprentices often are on the hook for fees, tuition, and clothing and tools specific to their chosen occupation. The stipend would be provided to youth who are currently a responsibility of DCFS, who aged out of care upon reaching the age of 18, or who were formerly in DCFS and were adopted or placed in guardianship.

“A lot of folks find themselves unable to pay for the upfront cost of starting an apprenticeship, which prevents them from entering into that field and forces them to find work that might not pay as well or have as many benefits,” Peters said. “Life in youth care is hard, and we shouldn’t make it harder for the kids aging out of youth care by keeping in place another systemic barrier.”

The bill also requires DCFS to develop a plan to increase awareness of the program. It was approved by the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support and will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Peters passes first bill, calls on DCFS to address deficiencies in system

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 02:29 PM

Senator PetersSPRINGFIELD – Children in the state’s foster care system will be given an opportunity to have their voices heard about issues within the system that affect them under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

“No one knows the foster care system better than the foster kids themselves,” Peters said. “It’s much easier to learn the areas where the system is lacking if we can hear directly from the children in the program.”

Senate Bill 1743 mandates the Department of Children and Family Services to develop, process and administer a standardized survey to gather feedback from youth who are currently aging out or who have recently aged out of the foster care system. The aim is to help DCFS and supporting agencies identify deficiencies in the system by learning about them from the people directly affected by them, leading to changes in policy to help address these issues.

The bill passed the Senate with unanimous support. It was the first bill sponsored by Peters to pass through the Senate and on to the House of Representatives since he joined the Senate in January.

“It’s an honor to have passed my first bill, but also a relief,” Peters said. “I’m confident that this is the start of a productive year in the Senate.”

Sen. Robert Peters

Sen. Robert Peters

13th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Financial Institutions; Human Services; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology; Veterans Affairs.

Associated Representatives:
Kambium Buckner
Curtis J. Tarver II