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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) passed legislation today that provides funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization of volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court.

“Kids shouldn’t have to deal with abusive atmospheres,” Belt said. “CASA ensures that neglected kids are removed from those circumstances and are placed in safe and loving homes.”

Belt’s legislation amends the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act to require every county that uses CASA’s services to provide grants to fund their activities.

Currently, Illinois is one 6 states that does not have an appropriation for the CASA programs and ranks last in providing funding of state CASA offices.

House Bill 2497 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for a concurrence vote

Category: Press Releases

05272019CM0007

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) passed a measure today seeking to increase minority representation on corporate boards.

Under the legislation, all publicly held corporations whose principal executive offices are located in Illinois would be required to submit information with their annual report regarding the gender and racial/ethnic make-up of their board of directors. 

The University of Illinois would then conduct a study to make recommendations on how to improve minority and female representation.

“Lack of diversity at the top often results in bad business decision-making,” Belt said. “By encouraging minority representation on corporate boards we are not only securing opportunities for minorities, but also promoting better business.”

Currently, only eight percent of the 77 Illinois Fortune 1000 companies have corporate boards composed of 20 percent or more women. Nationwide, black professionals make up only 6.3 percent of corporate boards. Asian Americans and Latinos make up 3.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“The inclusion of different perspectives breeds an environment where innovation and creativity increase, which advances corporations’ progression,” Belt said.

House Bill 3394 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

04102019CM1670

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents 21 and older could soon be able to purchase and possess cannabis legally under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) voted in support of the legislation that creates an automatic expungement process, a Social Equity Program, revenue allocation and a vocational training pilot program.

“Minorities have suffered for years from aggressive enforcement of cannabis possession laws,” Belt said. “This has been devastating for minority communities and I hope that the Social Equity Program guarantees their involvement in the industry.”   

Minor cannabis offenses under 30 grams would be automatically expunged under the proposal, and a pardoning process would be put in place to address other nonviolent offenses. Those convicted of Class 4 or Class A misdemeanor offenses would be able to petition to expunge their offenses.

The Social Equity Program would help ensure the involvement of minority communities in the industry by providing access to grants and loans that help cover some up-front costs of participating in the cannabis industry.

Tax revenue would be allocated for a variety of programs including public education and safety campaigns, law enforcement funds, substance abuse programs and mental health services.

“Legalizing cannabis will bring a substantial amount of revenue into the state,” Belt said. “Additionally, removing marijuana from the controlled substance list will save some of the dollars that might otherwise be spent on law enforcement and incarceration.”

House Bill 1438 also establishes the Recover, Reinvest and Renew program to provide support for communities disproportionately affected by unfair criminal justice practices.

Community colleges would also play a role by working with the Department of Agriculture to create eight programs across the state that teach students how to grow cannabis.

The legislation will now head to the House on concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

05282019CM0356

BELLEVILLE – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) announced today that the City of Belleville is the recipient of a $30,000 community stabilization grant.

“The value of a home located in a neglected neighborhood can depreciate,” Belt said. “The Belleville community will benefit greatly from the renovating of vacant homes.”

The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors awarded a total of $8.1 million to 62 municipalities, counties and land banks across Illinois to help community revitalization by eliminating blighted and abandoned properties.

Illinois has over 515,000 properties that are foreclosed, blighted and abandoned. This has become burdensome to local government since many lack the funds to restore those homes.

Category: Press Releases

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