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

05222019CW0386

EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) announced today that The New Broadview housing development project is one of the recipients of a federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

“The creation of The New Broadview will allow East St. Louis senior citizens to remain independent in their community,” Belt said. “Most essentially, this development will provide a reasonably priced path towards equitable housing for low-income families.”

The New Broadview development is a planned renovation of the former Broadview Hotel into 109 affordable apartments for senior citizens.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors approved a total of $28 million in conditional awards to fund 25 affordable housing developments in 16 counties throughout Illinois.

The federal tax credits will generate an estimated $257.7 million in private capital to finance the creation and/or preservation of 1,864 affordable units for low-to moderate-income families, seniors, veterans and persons with special needs.

Category: Press Releases

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