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EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) is proud to announce two local fire departments will receive funding through the Small Equipment Grant Program, administered by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal for equipment upgrades.

“This program gives eligible departments the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to afford,” Belt said. “Thanks to the small equipment grants, these fire departments will be able to provide better service to residents and families in our community.”

The Small Equipment Grant Program was established by the Office of the State Fire Marshal to provide grants of up to $26,000 to support small firefighting and ambulance equipment purchases. A total of $3.3 million was awarded to 149 fire departments and EMS providers across the state through the program.

Two grant recipients are located within the 57th Senate District:

  • French Village Fire Department - $20,282.28
  • East St. Louis Fire Department - $26,000

“Departments have had to make tough financial decisions, especially this year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “The Small Equipment Grant Program helps reduce the burden on smaller departments/districts while replacing aging and sometimes failing small equipment.”

A complete list of recipients and awards can be found on the OSFM website.

Category: Press Releases

HB 3190

SPRINGFIELD – Businesses will be prohibited from burning toxic synthetic chemicals in Illinois thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that passed the General Assembly Friday.

“As we learn more about PFAS, it’s becoming clear that we need to reduce the risk they pose to people and the environment,” Belt said. “Our communities in the Metro East are at immediate risk of PFAS exposure. We must act now to eliminate these potentially harmful chemicals from the air we breathe.”

House Bill 3190 prohibits the disposal by incineration of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS. PFAS are a group of approximately 5,000 human-made chemicals that are manufactured for their oil- and water-resistant properties.

While research on the effects of PFAS exposure on human health is ongoing, current scientific studies have identified possible adverse health effects such as increased cholesterol levels, increased risk for thyroid disease, low infant birth weights, reduced response to vaccines, liver and kidney toxicity, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Under this measure, the Veolia Environmental Services waste incinerator in Sauget would be prohibited from incinerating firefighting foams, a product that often contains PFAS.

“PFAS exposure may cause a number of harmful—and even fatal—health problems,” Belt said. “Until we know for sure the effects these chemicals can have on our community, it’s critical that we move to protect vulnerable neighborhoods from potential dangers.”

House Bill 3190 passed the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

Belt HB 2776

SPRINGFIELD – Service members and their spouses will receive professional licenses faster in Illinois thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that passed the General Assembly Monday.

The measure is intended to make transitions easier for those whose jobs depend on having a professional license and whose living arrangements are often changed by a deployment or cross-country transfer. An airman's spouse who works as an optometrist, for instance, would have an easier time receiving their license to practice in Illinois after transferring to Scott Airforce Base under the plan.

“For those who serve at Scott Airforce Base, it’s essential that the members and their spouses have their professional licenses reviewed in a timely manner when coming from another state,” Belt said. “This measure makes it quicker and easier for service members and their spouses to get licensure in Illinois and practice their professions.”

House Bill 2776 requires state agencies that issue occupational or professional licenses to review applications for expedited licensure for service members and their spouses within 30 days. Currently, the measure must be reviewed within 60 days. The measure also clarifies that applicants must meet standards for licensure through endorsement or reciprocity.

“Service members and spouses who come to Illinois, but are licensed in another state, should not have to face lengthy delays when trying to continue in their profession,” Belt said. “This legislation is crucial for the men and women who serve our country.”

House Bill 2776 passed the General Assembly and awaits the governor’s signature.


Category: Press Releases

HB 3940

SPRINGFIELD – Technicians will be entitled to fairer compensation thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that passed the General Assembly Sunday.

“This measure addresses the unjust approach many manufacturers take toward paying technicians,” Belt said. “Technicians are often treated unfairly, and this ensures they'll be properly compensated for their hard work and expertise.”

Under House Bill 3940, manufacturers must pay dealerships the same effective labor rate as the dealership receives for customer-pay repairs. Currently, that's often not the case, even as technicians are using the same skills and expertise to perform what is effectively the same type of work.

The measure also states that manufacturers reimburse dealerships for parts at the same rate retail customers are charged. Further, manufactures cannot impose any type of cost recovery fee or surcharge against a dealership for payments made under this law.

“This really comes down to a David and Goliath narrative. Manufacturers take advantage of the technicians who are doing the hard work, yet pay them less,” Belt said. “We should not allow larger companies to use their positions to demand discounted work.”

House Bill 3940 passed the Senate with a vote 58-0-1 and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Category: Press Releases

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