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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) continued to act as a champion of criminal justice reform by passing legislation today removing the enhanced penalties for possession of cannabis on school grounds that are no longer operational.

Belt’s legislation amends the Cannabis Control Act to provide that the enhanced penalties for cannabis delivery on school grounds do not apply when the violation occurs in or on the grounds of a building that was formerly designated as a school but is no longer operational.

“The enhanced penalties were enacted to protect children, which is something I care deeply about,”

Belt said. “Once a school has been shut down by an act of local government, however, it is no longer a school and perpetrators should be charged by the current laws of the land but without the enhancement.”

The current enhanced penalties of delivery of cannabis on school grounds are as follows:

  • Less than 2.5 grams: Class A misdemeanor
  • 2.5-10 grams: Class 4 felony and a fine not to exceed $50,000
  • 10 -30 grams: Class 3 felony and a fine not to exceed $50,000
  • 30-500 grams: Class 2 felony and a fine not to exceed $100,000
  • 500-2,000 grams: Class 1 felony and a fine not to exceed $200,000

“I have dedicated my life to advocating and championing the advancement of children,” Belt said. “I have written a children’s book that espouses safety and character education. I have created mentor programs to give back to the youth. I spent 18 years in law enforcement, the vast majority of which were dedicated in Juvenile Probation and Aftercare. As a lawmaker, I will always prioritize the safety of children.”

House Bill 160 passed both the Senate and the House and now awaits the governor’s signature.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – Anger management techniques for at-risk students will be supported under a measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia).

Belt’s legislation requires the Emotional Intelligence and Social and Emotion Learning Task Force to include strategies and instruction on how to address the needs of students with anger management issues.

“Kids with anger management issues can have difficulty learning and can fall behind their classmates,” Belt said. “This task force will help us provide the tools to ensure the success of those students.”

The Illinois School Code does not require districts to offer anger management classes. Each district is given discretion on how to approach students who have exhibited behavioral problems.

Currently, districts are only required to provide violence prevention and conflict resolution education for students in grades K-12 if grant funds are available.

“At-risk students are more likely to face challenges like homelessness, learning disabilities and bullying, which could result in anger management issues,” Belt said. “Those students can benefit from learning coping methods that help them deal with their feelings.”

House Bill 3086 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

Belt measure expedites licensure process for military personnel spouses

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) is working to streamline the process for service members and their spouses to obtain professional licenses.

Under Belt’s measure, House Bill 1652, military personnel and their spouses would have a designated liaison from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to ensure their license applications are managed efficiently.

“This small change in the department will accommodate military personnel better when they are looking to obtain work in our state,” Belt said. “These men and women have made great sacrifices for our country, and the least we can do is speed up the process for granting them professional licenses."

Belt’s measure also requires the department to expedite an application for a license from a service member or their spouse within 60 days after the date of application.

House Bill 1652 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) passed legislation that would make community resources available for women suffering from postpartum depression.

The measure advises the Department of Human Services to develop educational materials about maternal mental health conditions, post-hospital treatment options and community resources to be provided in hospitals.

“It’s common for women to have postpartum depression after giving birth,” Belt said. “This measure brings awareness and acceptance to this health issue and supports women in getting the help they need.” 

Maternal mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and postpartum psychosis, affect one in five women during or after pregnancy. 

“Maternal mental health conditions are very treatable, but not everyone knows how to seek help,” Belt said. “To ensure the safety of mothers and their children, we must educate everyone and require hospitals to put procedures in place to detect postpartum symptoms.”    

House Bill 3511 passed the Senate and now goes back to the House for concurrence.

Category: Press Releases

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