HB23891SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt advanced a measure through the Senate Transportation Committee today that would prohibit law enforcement from pulling a vehicle over for objects placed between the driver and their front windshield.

“Often times, people hang small air fresheners, personal items or parking passes on their rearview mirrors only to be pulled over because of it,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “This has been a violation that has often been used as a pretext for law enforcement to pull people over, which disproportionately affects certain communities.”

Under current law, people cannot drive with any objects placed or suspended between the driver and the front windshield which obstruct the driver's view. House Bill 2389 would clarify that vehicles cannot be stopped or searched by a law enforcement officer solely on the basis of a violation or suspected violation of this subsection.

“No driver should have to fear they may be stopped or searched solely because they have an item on their mirror,” said Belt. “With adding this new framework to the law, it will provide clarity to both law enforcement and drivers about what constitutes a legitimate reason for a traffic stop.”

House Bill 2389 passed the Senate Transportation Committee and awaits further consideration before the full Senate.

Category: Press Releases

ST. CLAIR COUNTY – Senator Christopher Belt celebrated a $5.4 million investment for improvements at the St. Louis Downtown Airport that will improve safety, reliability, and efficiency while boosting airport business and global competitiveness.

“With St. Louis Downtown Airport being one of the busiest airports outside of Chicago, the need for projects to keep up with demand is essential,” said State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea). “As downstate Illinois expands, we have to continue investing in its infrastructure. These projects will improve production safety, reliability and efficiency, which will be vital for Metro East residents for years to come.”

The foreground of improvements at the airport are a ground run-up and compass calibration pad that include new airfield pavement with jet blast deflectors. These updates are vital as St. Louis Downtown Airport, located in St. Clair County, is one of the busiest general aviation airports in Illinois outside of the Chicago area.

The airport is essential as it is a key component of local and state economies, contributing more than $422 million in economic impact for the region annually, including more than 1,500 jobs. $5 million of the project will be funded through the Belt-supported Rebuild Illinois Program, with a local contribution of $400,000.

Construction started last year and is expected to wrap up in June.


Category: Press Releases

Road constructionEAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt joined the Illinois Department of Transportation in announcing funds from the Illinois Competitive Freight Program that will improve the movement of freight throughout the state, while creating jobs and economic opportunity and enhancing safety and local quality of life.

“Continued investment in roads and railways are crucial to ensure freight is moving swiftly and efficiently throughout the state,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Projects like this will not only improve the flow of freight, but will also create jobs and boost economic growth in the region.”

Every year, 1.6 billion tons valued at $2.5 trillion of freight flows in and out of the state, making Illinois one of the top three states for freight activity. Nearly $200 million in funds among 22 projects that are high traffic areas for freight mobility were announced last week – including two in the Metro East.

A rail project at the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis will receive a total of $15,197,718 in funds for engineering and construction updates and $771,960 will go to the village of Sauget for the engineering of a grade separation as part of the Illinois 3 Diversion project.

“In order for Illinois to maintain a top state in freight activity, this is the kind of support we need to see from the Department of Transportation,” said Belt. “These funds are a significant step forward in efforts to improve freight transportation in the state and create new opportunities for businesses, the economy and residents alike.”

For more information about the Illinois Competitive Freight Program and to see a complete list of projects and awards, click here.

Category: Press Releases

Belt08501SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt advanced a measure through the Senate Thursday to tackle the increasing number of food deserts in Illinois.

“People should be able to have easy access to healthy and affordable food at all times,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “By providing financial assistance to grocery stores, we can incentivize the establishment and expansion of stores in areas that are considered food deserts.”

Under this legislation, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity would be required to provide grants and other forms of financial assistance to privately-owned grocery stores and grocery stores owned by a unit of local government, school district or community college district, located in or to be located in a food desert.

This measure aims to help mitigate the issue of food deserts across the state. In 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a study that found that 807 census tracts are considered food deserts, meaning urban residents have to travel more than a half mile and rural residents must travel more than 10 miles to get to the nearest grocery store.

“This is an important step forward in addressing the issues of food deserts in Illinois,” said Belt. “Not only would this measure support grocery stores in communities that need the most help, but it could improve economic development as well.”

Senate Bill 850 cleared the Senate Thursday and now heads to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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