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Belt: Poor school districts need more cash flow

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 06:58 PM

old school 041019SPRINGFIELD – Impoverished school districts will be able to issue more bonds under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

To calculate their ability to issue bonds, a school district factors in 85 percent of the Equalized Assessed Valuations plus the district’s Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax. Belt’s proposal, Senate Bill 1746, would count state aid as part of the baseline on which a district can base that 85 percent EAV calculation.

“High-poverty school districts have to deal with a variety of problems all year long,” Belt said. “Factoring state aid into the bond calculation process will provide them with additional cash flow to help with the student’s school experience and education.

“If we do not help neglected school districts more, how can we expect things like the achievement gap to close or high graduation rates to rise?” Belt said. “It’s time that we make greater accommodations for the school districts that most need financial assistance.”

The Senate approved the measure today. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

Belt: Veterans’ families deserve more money for memorials

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 04:42 PM

Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Veterans’ families and cemetery associations will be awarded an additional $25 to support the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran’s headstone or memorial marker under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

Currently, families and cemeteries are only awarded $100 to pay for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker.

“Though there is no amount of money we could pay our dedicated veterans equal to the sacrifices they have made for our country, we can acknowledge that funeral costs have gradually increased over the years,” Belt said. “Veterans’ families had to watch their loved ones leave for battle, and it shouldn’t be a problem for us to award them more when they are laying their loved ones to rest.”

The Senate approved the measure today. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

St. Clair County wastewater treatment plant to receive energy grant

Published: Friday, April 05, 2019 11:27 AM

belt 040519EAST ST. LOUIS – American Bottoms Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility (Sauget Sanitary Development & Research Association) is a recipient of a $327,671 grant for energy improvements, State Senator Christopher Belt revealed today.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is taking advantage of the United States Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to reduce the energy burden for Illinois residents.

“This grant will assist the facility in making energy efficiency upgrades to reduce the energy burden of our residents” Belt said. “Many low-income families suffer from high heating and electric bills and the energy efficiency upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant should reduce the energy cost for St. Clair County families.”

The grant will run through May 2020 and is expected to save four wastewater treatment plants 6,610,374 kilowatt hours of energy annually, which amounts to about $408,000 savings annually.

Belt: Medicaid screening for inmates needs to be mandatory

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 02:32 PM

Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – To help inmates transition out of prison, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) is sponsoring legislation to require the Department of Corrections (DOC) to screen inmates for Medicaid eligibility before being released.

At this time, the Unified Code of Corrections requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to give inmates the opportunity to apply for Medicaid at least 45 days before they are discharged and requires DOC to assist them in filling out their application.

“We all know that this population has chronic and severe health issue ranging from HIV, Diabetes, and Hepatitis A & B, among other illnesses,” Belt said. “Applying for Medicaid can be overwhelming, but assisting inmates by screening and helping them apply means we could prevent these health problems.”

Under this proposal, officials of the correctional institution or facility will have a committed person assigned to assist eligible inmates in completing a Medicaid application to ensure that they begin receiving benefits immediately upon release.

“Upon release from prison or jail, individuals are often uninsured, making it difficult to access stable sources of care,” Belt said. “Increasing health coverage for this population helps contribute to improvements in their ability to access health facilities as well as greater stability in their lives, which will reduce recidivism rates. This amendment just makes sense from both a moral and economic perspective.”

The Senate approved the measure today in a 54-0 vote. The bill moves to the House for consideration.

Sen. Christopher Belt

Senator Christopher Belt

57th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Education (Vice-Chairperson); Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; Licensed Activities; Subcommittee on Special Issues (IN); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Associated Representatives:
LaToya Greenwood
Jay Hoffman