• Peters comments on lack of meaningful charges in "exhausting," "upsetting" Breonna Taylor case

    Breonna TaylorCHICAGO – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) issued the following statement Wednesday after a Jefferson County Grand Jury failed to indict any of the police officers on charges of murder for the March killing of Breonna Taylor: 

    “Breonna Taylor should be alive right now. We keep seeing the same stories over and over again. It is exhausting and upsetting. 2020 has shown just how flawed our institutions are within a system stacked against us. Do not let anyone shut down the fight for a better world.”

  • State lawmakers examine disparities in sentencing throughout Illinois

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  • Black Caucus seeks to develop agenda to overcome centuries of oppression

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  • Peters: Grants will put University of Chicago on cutting edge of quantum research

    u of chicago 082720CHICAGO – Earlier this week, the US Department of Energy announced $115 million grants for quantum research centers at two facilitates affiliated with the University of Chicago. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who represents the area including the university, is excited and hopeful about the future prospects the grants bring to the district as well as the state as a whole.

  • Peters praises Gov.’s clean energy principles, stresses importance of continuing work

    peters 031020

    CHICAGO – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), a longtime advocate for clean energy and environmental equity, released the following statement upon hearing Gov. JB Pritzker’s eight principles to move Illinois toward green energy:

    “This is a great step toward clean energy, but we still have a long way to go to address the existential threat climate change poses to environmental justice communities, from lakefront erosion to polluted air and lead in water across the state and throughout the world.”

  • Peters: Death penalty has no place in modern society

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  • Peters encourages organizations to apply for grants for food, housing, rent

    peters 031020CHICAGO – As communities continue to recover from the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is encouraging organizations specializing in relief efforts like housing assistance and mental health support to apply for a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

    “In many ways, COVID-19 has hit Black and Brown communities much harder than other communities,” Peters said. “The ICJIA grants will help organizations that are providing support in these communities and make it easier for them to do the job they’ve set out to do.”

    The grants were allocated by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program and will be used to support communities that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. The funds can be used for:

    • Housing assistance for those who have experienced violence or who are involved in the criminal justice system;
    • Support services for members of the community, including legal services and mental and emotional health support;
    • Rent, utilities and supplies for community-based organizations;
    • Food distribution; and
    • Any other pandemic related need as determined by the community.

    “We’re in the fight together, and any organization that feels like they could use some help should apply for a grant,” Peters said.

    Additional information and a link to the application can be found here. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on July 24.

  • Peters: Make sure no child goes hungry with CACFP

    kids lunch 070720CHICAGO — State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and the Illinois State Board of Education announced that funding is available for the Child and Adult Care Food Program to help a variety of organizations provide healthy meals to children.

    “Children have been made more vulnerable than ever during the pandemic,” Peters said. “This program will help community-based organizations and over 1,000 child care centers provide kids with healthy meals.”

    Individuals in households who participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are automatically eligible to receive free meal benefits. The USDA Household Income Eligibility Guidelines determine eligibility to receive free meal benefits for families that do not receive TANF or SNAP benefits.

    If a household’s income falls within or below the listed guidelines, a member of the household should contact their child care center or day care home provider to learn about benefits of the CACFP. They may be required to complete an application and provide income, TANF or SNAP information.

    Children enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start programs at approved Head Start facilities and foster care children who are legal responsibilities of the state or court also receive free meal benefits. Parents or guardians should contact their child care center or day care home provider to find out if they participate in CACFP.

    Income Eligibility Guidelines

    Effective from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021


    Free Meals



    Reduced-Price Meals

    130% Federal Poverty Guideline

    185% Federal Poverty Guideline

    Household Size



    Twice Per Month

    Every Two Weeks


    Household Size



    Twice Per Month

    Every Two Weeks


































































































    For each additional family member, add






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  • Peters applauds vote-by-mail expansion becoming law

    Senator PetersCHICAGO – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is applauding an expansion to the state’s vote-by-mail program becoming law after Gov. JB Pritzker signed it Tuesday.

    “Since everyone deserves the right to be healthy, it’s critical that we figure out a way to help people stay healthy while they exercise their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “Voting by mail is a safe, convenient way for folks to have their voices heard without having to worry about contracting COVID-19.”

    The vote-by-mail expansion is part of a larger election package legislators passed in May to address specific concerns regarding voting during a global pandemic. Under the new law, local election authorities must automatically send vote-by-mail applications to everyone under their jurisdiction who voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated, or 2020 primary elections, or who registered to vote after the 2020 primary.

    “Many people don’t realize they even have the option to vote by mail, so automatically sending applications will help give people who are worried about getting sick while voting some peace of mind,” Peters said.

    The law is effectively immediately and applies only to the 2020 General Election.

  • Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials hosts Days of Action

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  • Peters: Budget provides important services to those who are struggling

    peters 031020CHICAGO – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) released the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Fiscal Year 21 state budget into law Wednesday:

    “When we passed the budget, we included funding for many important services for those who are struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. At the time, we didn’t know that we were only a few weeks away from widespread protests against systemic inequality and a global fight for justice. While this budget doesn’t directly address any of the issues that demonstrators are protesting against, it does provide support to the vulnerable people that many are marching in support of. It boosts funding for mental health and substance abuse programs and provides nearly $400 million in rent and mortgage payment relief, as well as offering many other different types of assistance to the families that need it the most.”

  • Senate Black Caucus members stand with communities in calling for swift action

    Sen. Christopher Belt

    SPRINGFIELD—Senators of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement after the protests and riots in Chicago brought on by racist acts of violence against countless African Americans, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor: 

    Senator Christopher Belt(D-Centreville), ILBC Senate Co-chair

    “In 1903, the great black scholar, W.E.B. Dubois, stated “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line. Here we stand in 2020, fighting for justice and equality because of that very same issue, the color line. That said, please understand this is not just ‘our’ problem, but rather, it is a ‘we’ problem. I am calling on my fellow legislators to stand with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to denounce this system of racial injustice that injures, destroys and kills not only people of color, but the very fabric of the American tapestry,” Belt said.

    Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)

    “COVID-19 was not done showing us just how deep the inequities in our country are before we had another series of Black murders at the hands of racists in the headlines. It is exhausting to feel like you have been yelling at the top of your lungs for years without being heard, and I am deeply pained for our people forced to live in fear in the very country they helped build,” Lightford said. “I extend a call to action to my colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly and legislators across the country to hear the ache in the hearts of those who are fed up. We can only move forward by coming together to ensure every individual’s basic human rights are protected.”

    Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago)

    “What we are witnessing from many of the protestors is a demand for change—an acknowledgment that the status quo is unacceptable and must end. They are crying out, screaming to be heard and wondering aloud how many more will have to die before we finally recognize the sanctity of black lives,” Sims said. “As we fight tirelessly for justice, I ask that we don’t use lawlessness as a means to do it. I know there is an overwhelming need to be heard and understood. If no one else hears you, I do. I will continue to work relentlessly with leaders on all levels to fix our utterly broken system and hold bad actors accountable. We can, and we will, achieve change together.”

    Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago)

    "The story of this crisis isn’t the looting, it is the why, the what, and the how,” Peters said. “Why are people so mad? Why are people so hurt? What do people need? How are we going to help?"

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

    “Just in the last month, we’ve mourned the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and now George Floyd,” Van Pelt said. “How many more names must be said? Countless black lives were lost at the hands of police, failed under a system that was never meant to protect them, never meant to protect people that look like me. We can’t breathe, and haven’t been able to since we were abducted from the shores of our native land."

    Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)

    "What we are witnessing today is the strange fruit sown by institutional racism and neglect. It has given us a harvest of poverty, mass incarceration, food and health deserts as well as educational inequity.  We are not only fighting a virus, but violence and vandalism. Yet, we should not conflate the peaceful protests and righteous indignation with the criminality of a few bad apples," Collins said.

    "The days ahead of us must be days of rebuilding and healing, but they must also be days of reform and accountability that save lives. We must come together with one voice to say 'Black Lives Matter.' If we do not have reform and accountability, then there can truly be no healing."

    Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)

     “The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are painful illustrations of the deep-rooted systems of oppression, and systems of protection for bad actors, that continue to burden African-American families. These murders sow further hopelessness, anger, and agony, which has been expressed over the past few days through widespread protests. While some have seen this as an excuse to commit shameful acts of destruction, it was heartening to see countless Chicagoans take to the streets to peacefully demand justice and make our voices heard in a productive way,” Hunter said.

    “Our path forward must not end with protests. Now is the time to harness our collective anger to galvanize a movement toward ending police violence and enacting transformational reforms centered around police accountability, transparency, and oversight.”

    Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)

    "It is sickening that we have to continuously address the racial biases the criminal justice system has against Black Americans. It's evident how much racial disparity is prevalent throughout the justice system and how much officers believe we are so much of a threat to the country that we helped build.

    "The whole situation is just tiring, and a change is more than overdue. Even if you're not a part of the problem, you must be well aware of the harassment that blacks receive daily and how the media would rather paint a bad picture of us than be a part of the solution. 

    "We cannot solve this problem on our own. We profess no easy answers. It's obvious that real change will only happen when all of America believes Black Lives Matter."

    Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Dolton)

    “The young people of America have mobilized in unified outrage and it is time we acknowledged their cries. It is time we acknowledged the humanity and grievances of African-Americans throughout this country."

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    votebymail 052320SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

    The expansion came as part of a larger election package that made several changes to state election code in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal requires election authorities to automatically send a vote-by-mail application to every person who voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated or 2020 primary elections or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election. Under current law, voters must specifically request a vote-by-mail application.

    “A lot of people aren’t aware that voting by mail is available,” Peters said. “Automatically sending vote-by-mail applications gives voters the opportunity to make use of an option they didn’t know they had,” Peters said.

    In addition to vote-by-mail expansions, Senate Bill 1863 extends early voting windows, establishes curbside voting programs, modifies required qualifications for election judges and makes election day a state holiday, among other changes. Having passed both chambers of the General Assembly, it will be sent to the governor for approval.

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

  • Peters touts Fair Housing Month, details resources available

    peters 031020SPRINGFIELD – The month of April has been designated as Fair Housing Month this year. In recognition, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is encouraging people seek help from the many housing resources that are available.

    “In general, lack of proper housing is a serious, life-threatening issue that many people in our community face every day,” Peters said. “It’s even worse now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and have recommendations from health agencies all across the state, country and world that the safest course of action is to stay inside your homes. Lots of folks don’t have homes they can isolate in, but there are resources available to help people.”

    Peters outlined several different options for assistance available, including:

    • An expansion of alternative housing in communities of color, announced over the weekend by Gov. JB Pritzker. It requires local jurisdictions to prepare alternative housing options for residents who tested positive for COVID-19 but do not require hospital-level care so they have a place to safely quarantine.
    • Community Service Centers that provide assistance to families in need, including shelter, food and clothing.
    • Homeless shelters that will offer a place to stay to people who don’t have a place to sleep or safely social distance.
    • Rental assistance available to people who’ve lost their source of income to help make rent payments during the crisis.
    • Domestic violence resources for people who do not feel safe in their homes but believe they have nowhere else to go.
    • An expansion of tenant rights, including a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, for the duration of the crisis.

    “It’s unfortunate this year’s Fair Housing Month just happened to coincide with an outbreak of a dangerous virus,” Peters said. “Currently, our main focus must be on providing coronavirus-related help to anyone that needs it. Ensuring fair housing for everyone during a time when staying at home is nearly universally recommended is a key part of that.”

    For more information, visit or call Sen. Peters’ office at 773-363-1996.

  • Peters moves to expand civics education to juvenile justice centers

    peters 021919SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) advanced legislation that would expand peer-led civics education to juvenile detention centers.

    “When young people are released from incarceration, we need to let them know about their restored voting rights and that we value their civic participation,” Peters said. “Our justice system needs to be rehabilitative and teach people how to be responsible citizens, and that includes how to exercise their voices in our democracy.”

    Senator Peters passed the Re-Entering Citizens Civics Education Act last year, which requires the Department of Corrections to provide peer-led civics education courses to incarcerated people who will be released within 12 months. His new bill will expand those courses to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

    “Whether a child is in our juvenile justice system or our public school system, they deserve to learn about their civic rights and duties,” Peters said.

    This measure also clarifies that the civics courses must include 270 minutes of instruction taught by two co-facilitators. The co-facilitators must be trained by nonpartisan civil organizations.

    Senate Bill 3241 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee and awaits consideration before the full Senate.

  • Peters moves to help foster youth apply for college financial aid

    peters 031020SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) advanced a bill that would help youth in foster care apply for college financial aid.

    “The state needs to be proactive at helping foster kids build a strong future during their final years of care,” Peters said. “We need to do all we can to ensure that they have access to education or job training before they have to live on their own.”

    Senator Peters’ measure requires the Department of Child and Family Services to assist all youth in their care with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during their final year of high school. The legislation is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers.

  • Peters: Ending cash bail necessary to achieve safety and justice in our communities

    peters 022620SPRINGFIELD – The End Money Bond Coalition hosted a rally in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday in support of a measure to end cash bail in Illinois. State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will sponsor the legislation in the Senate, spoke at the rally.

    “We know what safety and justice looks like in our communities,” Peters said. “We know it’s a roof over your head. We know it’s a social worker at your school. We know it’s being able to drink your water. And we know that it’s not locking you up because you’re poor.”

    Peters is the Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety and has made ending cash bail in Illinois his top priority for the 2020 legislative session.

  • Senate Dems unveil public safety priorities

    pub safety 020620CHICAGO – Several Democratic members of the newly formed Senate Special Committee on Public Safety met in Chicago today to unveil their public safety priorities for this year’s legislative session.

    State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), who will chair the committee, spoke of his past legislative accomplishments and how they motivate him to continue that fight.

    “I’ve dedicated my adult life toward the fight to reimagine and to win real safety and justice, and last year I passed several laws with this goal in mind, including one to abolish private detention centers,” Peters said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to personally head up the Special Committee on Public Safety, and I am confident that the committee will lead to a society that is fair, equitable, just and, most importantly, safe.”

  • Peters: Trump’s Medicaid cut proposal yet another attack on vulnerable communities

    Senator PetersSPRINGFIELD – The Trump administration announced Thursday its intention to overhaul Medicaid funding. In response, State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), fearing for the wellbeing of the millions of people who rely on Medicaid to receive health care, released the following statement:

    “Donald Trump is once again showing how out of touch he is by proposing cuts to a program that an overwhelming majority of Americans support. This is yet another attack by the president against the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

    Under current federal law, states are reimbursed a set percentage for Medicaid spending by the federal government based on per-capita income. The announced plan gives states the option to receive Medicaid funding as a set amount in one lump sum irrespective of how much they actually spend in a given fiscal year.