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Belt applauds construction dollars for Metro East communities

Published: Friday, June 28, 2019 11:32 AM

belt 052819SPRINGFIELD – Billions of dollars in funding will be released for construction projects across the state under a bipartisan package of bills approved by the General Assembly and signed into law today by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“Infrastructure is the backbone of economic growth and expansion,” Belt said. “If we want our state to grow and prosper, we must make continued investments in our roads, bridges, schools and health care networks.”

The construction plan is Illinois’ first in a decade. Since the last statewide construction plan in 2009, the condition of the state’s roads, bridges and public buildings has degraded, causing AAA to give Illinois’s infrastructure a grade of D.

The plan also includes a combined $850,000 for the cities of East St. Louis, Centreville and Alorton for crumbling sidewalks, streets with large potholes and outdated sewer lines.

“This will be an economic stimulus for these cities and give local leaders a chance to invest in their communities,” Belt said. “Overall, this capital bill provides the necessary tools to improve our infrastructure and put us on track to where we need to be.” 

In addition, the East Side Health District, which has been providing health services to the region for 73 years and has filled a vital gap in health services in East St. Louis, will receive $1 million to expand clinic services and invest in urban farming in the neighborhoods.

Belt votes for balanced budget to continue on path to stability

Published: Sunday, June 02, 2019 02:37 PM

belt 050819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) released the following statement after voting on a budget that increases funding for violence prevention grants, education, MAP, AIM HIGH and DCFS.

“This year’s budget keeps Illinois on the road toward stability and truly channels the needs of the working families in Illinois,” Belt said. “Increasing funding to these programs boosts our students’ growth and also puts our state in a better position than before.” 

“Also, the budget is creating new jobs opportunities and revolves around stopping low-income families from leaving the state,” Belt said.     

The budget appropriates $12 million in grants to address violence prevention efforts state statewide, including downstate communities, Chicago and the suburbs.

P-12 education will have record-breaking funding of $8.8 billion, and higher education will receive a 5 percent increase to support community college and universities. Local districts will receive an additional $26 million for students’ transportation costs.

The Monetary Award Program (MAP) will receive $451 million in next year’s budget – a $50 million increase over last year.

AIM HIGH, a program that works to reduce the costs of college for working and middle-class students, will receive an additional $10 million in funding, a move Belt hopes will help combat student out migration.

DCFS will receive an additional $100 million to hire 300 staff and caseworkers, reducing worker caseload and ensuring more attentive oversight for children and families under the agency’s care.

Belt helps neglected children get placed in safe homes

Published: Friday, May 31, 2019 01:00 PM

belt 041019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) passed legislation today that provides funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization of volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court.

“Kids shouldn’t have to deal with abusive atmospheres,” Belt said. “CASA ensures that neglected kids are removed from those circumstances and are placed in safe and loving homes.”

Belt’s legislation amends the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act to require every county that uses CASA’s services to provide grants to fund their activities.

Currently, Illinois is one 6 states that does not have an appropriation for the CASA programs and ranks last in providing funding of state CASA offices.

House Bill 2497 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote.

Belt encourages minority representation on corporate boards

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2019 02:43 PM

belt 053019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) passed a measure today seeking to increase minority representation on corporate boards.

Under the legislation, all publicly held corporations whose principal executive offices are located in Illinois would be required to submit information with their annual report regarding the gender and racial/ethnic make-up of their board of directors. 

The University of Illinois would then conduct a study to make recommendations on how to improve minority and female representation.

“Lack of diversity at the top often results in bad business decision-making,” Belt said. “By encouraging minority representation on corporate boards we are not only securing opportunities for minorities, but also promoting better business.”

Currently, only eight percent of the 77 Illinois Fortune 1000 companies have corporate boards composed of 20 percent or more women. Nationwide, black professionals make up only 6.3 percent of corporate boards. Asian Americans and Latinos make up 3.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“The inclusion of different perspectives breeds an environment where innovation and creativity increase, which advances corporations’ progression,” Belt said.

House Bill 3394 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Sen. Christopher Belt

Senator Christopher Belt

57th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Committee of the Whole; Criminal Law; Education (Vice-Chairperson); Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; Licensed Activities.

Associated Representatives:
LaToya Greenwood
Jay Hoffman