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SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) will reform criminal justice laws by 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.

“As a father of two and former school board member, I know more than anyone how important it is to provide a safe, drug-free environment conducive for optimal learning,” Belt said. “However, once a decision has been made to close and shutter a school, then it is no longer a school, and the enhancement penalty should not apply. The perpetrator of any cannabis offense on a former school site should be prosecuted by the existing laws of the land relative to possession of cannabis.”

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

House Bill 160 was signed into law and will become effective immediately.  

Category: Press Releases

SWIC LogoBELLEVILLE – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) announced today that Southwestern Illinois College will receive a $36,094 state grant for its Project READ Adult Volunteer Literacy Program.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White awarded the grants through the Adult Literacy Grant Program, which helps learners develop and enhance their reading, math, writing and English-language skills.

“I want to thank Jesse White for his commitment to funding the crucial services the Project READ program provides,” Belt said. “This program helps give all adults the tools they need to succeed and makes an incredible difference in the lives of the men and women it serves.”

A total of 14,352 learners will be served by adult literacy programs around the state. A total of 6,086 volunteer tutors will provide training for learners putting them on the path to lifelong learning. Adult literacy projects help adults who read below the ninth-grade level or speak English at a beginning level to improve their reading, writing, math or use of English as a new language.

“An estimated 2.1 million Illinois residents need adult literacy and/or English-language instruction,” White said. “I am pleased to provide funding for 113 local literacy projects that will allow adult learners to achieve their utmost potential in the upcoming year. I will continue to do all I can to ensure that every citizen of this state has access to quality literacy programs.”

In total, the secretary of state’s office awarded $5.6 million in grants to adult literacy programs around the state.

To learn more about adult literacy grant programs, visit https://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/literacy/adultlit-grants-overview.html.

Category: Press Releases

27581128517 3116465a93 bSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) that will make it easier for the state to ensure its buildings are energy efficient was signed into law today.

The measure will allow the Capitol Development Board to require new state buildings, and any renovations or additions to existing state buildings, to be able to support solar panels, even if they are not installed at the time of construction.  

“The state should find every way possible to save money and protect the environment,” Belt said. “Allowing state buildings to be energy efficient will do just that.”   

This legislation brings the state in line with federal policy by closing a loophole that prohibits the board from requiring new buildings to be solar-ready.

House Bill 2652 takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

SMRLD Full Logo 150 ppi 5 2014 1GRANITE CITY – The Six Mile Regional Library District is the recipient of a $9,854 mentoring grant from the Illinois secretary of state, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) announced.

The grant was awarded through the FY20 Project Next Generation program, which is a mentoring program administered through Illinois public libraries. Mentors work with middle and high school students to help them develop skills needed to use technology and find success through project-based learning. Mentors also help with developing life skills, such as effective communication, goal setting and conflict resolution.

Six Mile Regional Library District is one of 29 public libraries in the state to receive the grant.

“At risk students in Granite City will have the opportunity to access new educational platforms because of this grant,” Belt said. “This will develop their skill set, increase their self-confidence in the classroom and most importantly provide passage towards success in their future careers.” 

In all, the secretary of state awarded more than $464,000 in Project Next Generation grants statewide. The money is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Grants are awarded to public libraries that serve culturally diverse, low-income and underserved populations.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. “I established this innovative program when I first became secretary of state to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library.”

For more information, visit https://ilsendems.co/2GtOQzP.

Category: Press Releases

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