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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.

Belt helps veterans’ families honor their lost loved ones

Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 03:27 PM

Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Veteran families will receive an additional $25 for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

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

“We must always recognize and respect the service of those who keep us safe,” Belt said. “Veterans went out and fought for our country, and some lost their lives in the line of duty, so giving the families additional assistance is the least we can do. As costs for services and memorials go up, we should periodically make sure our assistance does as well.”

Senate Bill 1244 passed the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee this afternoon and is scheduled to head to the Senate for further debate.

Belt pushes for poorer schools to issue more bonds

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 04:59 PM

Senator BeltSPRINGFIELD – Impoverished school districts will receive more state aid under a proposal sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) that advanced yesterday in the Senate Education Committee.

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

“These schools need the ability to issue more bonds, and the aid they receive should be factored into that process,” Belt said. “Districts that have a disadvantage in property-based funding shouldn’t have a disadvantage when it comes to issuing bonds.

“This legislation does not require any additional state funds, nor redirect any funds from any other school district, but will significantly benefit these neglected school districts.”

Senate Bill 1746 passed the Senate Education Committee and is scheduled to go to the Senate floor for further debate.

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