Senator Belt

SPRINGFIELD – School districts will create a food sharing program for unused food that students can take home thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

“All children need food to thrive, especially when they leave school,” Belt said. “This program builds upon the state’s breakfast and lunch program that is already in place to ensure that kids are fed three healthy meals a day.”

The new law requires all school districts to incorporate a food sharing plan for unused food into their local wellness policy. The program will focus on needy students, with the plan being developed and supported jointly by the district’s local health department.

Currently, every school in Illinois must offer its free lunch and breakfast program to all eligible students. To be eligible, a student must be the recipient of SNAP benefits or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

Similar programs already exist in states, such as Indiana. School districts partner with non-profits to take leftover food and prepare frozen take-home meals for students over the weekends.

“Leftover food should not be thrown away, especially when people are in need,” Belt said. “Many families struggle to keep food on the table and this program will help ensure that our youth are not going to bed hungry.”

The law takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

SB 1232

SPRINGFIELD – Major Illinois airports will directly receive and spend federal funding thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law Friday.

The new law allows Illinois airports that have 10,000 or more patrons per year to directly receive and spend federal funding. Under the current law, federal funding goes to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s aeronautics division to distribute to airports across the state, with the exception of O’Hare and Midway International Airports in Chicago.

“This will give the major airports in Illinois the authority to make their own financial decisions in a timely manner,” Belt said. “This should help IDOT get these important projects done faster and reduce a considerable backlog.”

Currently, IDOT must approve all planning, construction, development and improvements to hangars. The approval process for these contracts has caused significant delays, and this measure would take the pressure off of IDOT and allow individual airports to move forward with projects on their own timelines.

“Larger airports in Illinois have the resources to manage the funding and make necessary decisions for the projects,” Belt said. “It’s important we include all major airports in the state, not just O’Hare and Midway, to speed up the approval process.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Christopher Belt
SPRINGFIELD
– Residents who struggle to pay water and sewer bills will have additional financial assistance coming, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

“Utility providers will now have the opportunity to opt in to a financial assistance program,” Belt said. “This will help lessen the financial burden that low-income customers face when they cannot afford their monthly utility bills.”

The legislation creates the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund, authorizing the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to make payments directly to the utility providers on behalf of qualified customers. The fund is financed through the opt-in program. One-third of the available funds will go to the households with the lowest incomes. Older adults and people with disabilities will also be prioritized.

Utility providers can choose to opt in to the program, managed by DCEO, to ensure low-income residents’ water and sewer services are available and affordable.

“For the families who spend a large percent of their monthly income on utility services, assistance may be coming your way,” Belt said. “This will provide stability to those individuals who need it most.”

This law takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Christopher Belt

EDWARDSVILLEFeminine hygiene products will be required at homeless shelters for all who need them, thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that was signed into law today.

“I cannot personally imagine the indignity of having to use some other item as a makeshift sanitary product, but I believe people who have already been deprived of so much should not have to suffer that, too,” Belt said. “These are essential products for health, safety, and cleanliness, and we need to treat them as such when we supply our homeless shelters.”

The new law, led by Belt and House Sponsor LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis), prioritizes providing feminine hygiene products at no cost at all homeless shelters to people who need them.

According to a recent NBC report, feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and pads, are some of the least donated items for homeless people in this country, despite being a highly requested item.

“This bill is about providing a lasting and sustainable solution to an increasingly prevalent problem by establishing access to fundamental supports for vulnerable individuals desperately in need,” said Greenwood. “I remain committed to serving as a strong advocate for at-risk women and girls, particularly those whose voices are not being heard.”

On average, more than $2 billion is spent on feminine hygiene products each year in the United States. Purchasing these products can become a significant financial burden, especially for people with children, who make up 60% of the female homeless population in the United States.

Belt is also urging people to donate these types of products to their local homeless shelters.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-5399

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