Belt 310

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) to require homeless shelters to prioritize the purchase of feminine hygiene products for all who need them passed the Senate Tuesday.

“This seems like a small issue, but it is really a question of dignity,” Belt said. “Ensuring that people who have already been deprived of so much can count on these essential products is a kindness that costs very little.”

The measure prioritizes providing feminine hygiene products at all homeless shelters to people who need them at no cost.

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.

“People have been forced to find other items to use in place of these hygiene products,” Belt said. “That’s undignified at best and potentially harmful to their health at worst, and we should do something about it.”

On average, the United States spends more than $2 billion on feminine hygiene products each year. 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.

House Bill 310 passed the Senate with a vote of 56-1.

Category: Press Releases

Belt 270

SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) that would require the Illinois Department of Transportation to provide funding to create additional infrastructure passed the State Senate on Tuesday.

The measure would require IDOT to fully fund all aspects of construction projects on state roadways, including infrastructure for pedestrians walking and bicycling within one mile of a city or town. Additionally, the measure requires IDOT to complete any of these unfinished infrastructure projects in municipalities with a population of 1,000 or more.

“Many towns and cities in Illinois simply cannot afford to finish these projects.” Belt said. “If the state is funding a roadway project, it needs to also pay for the sidewalks and bike lanes along the roadway.”

Currently, IDOT covers 100% of the roadway construction, but requires 20% of costs associated with pedestrian infrastructure projects, like sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes, to be funded by the municipality where the project is located, which can be a large burden for some cities – particularly lower-income communities. 

“When these projects go unfinished, nobody benefits, and taxpayer money is wasted,” Belt said. “Many communities have large commuter populations who walk or bike. When a sidewalk or bike lane isn’t finished, people can’t get to work and school safely.”

According to the Metropolitan Planning Council, the states that cover 100% of state roadway projects, including pedestrian infrastructure, include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Massachusetts, Delaware, and New Jersey. 

House Bill 270 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 56-1.

Category: Press Releases

Belt 226

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) allowing students to choose whether or not to submit their ACT and SAT scores when applying to Illinois colleges and universities passed the General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Test anxieties are real. We know standardized tests are not reliable indicators of graduation rates,” Belt said. “Taking a snapshot of a student’s high school years and reducing it down to a single test isn't fair.”

The measure creates the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, which would prohibit Illinois’ public universities from relying solely on a student’s ACT or SAT score to make an admissions decision.

“This legislation would assure students and their families that universities would take more than one factor into account when considering admissions,” Belt said.

Currently, a quarter of the country’s public universities do not require standardized tests scores for admittance. Notably, the University of Chicago recently saw record enrollment of first-generation, low-income and rural students after lifting its standardized test requirement.

“Many of the nation’s top universities have realized standardized tests don’t always help them select high-caliber students,” Belt said. “Our public universities need to take the same step to help disadvantaged and test-anxious youth.”

Of the 12 four-year public universities in Illinois, three – Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Western Illinois University – implemented test-optional policies before the pandemic began.

House Bill 226 passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 45-9.

Category: Press Releases

Work ZoneSWANSEA – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea) announced Friday that the Metro East area he represents will receive nearly $50 million to improve roads and bridges over the next year.

“I’m pleased to see funds spent on the roads we travel on every day, including some that are in desperate need of repair,” Belt said. “Maintaining and improving our roads needs to be a priority for Illinois to ensure we can safely get places.”

This funding comes from the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, which promotes economic growth by investing in the state’s transportation system. Through the multi-year plan, $20.7 billion will be used to improve over 2,700 miles of roads and nearly 8 million square feet of bridges throughout Illinois over the next six years.

“The Rebuild Illinois program invests and supports our communities by creating more jobs and promoting economic growth,” Belt said. “This plan will provide hundreds of jobs for those who were left unemployed from the pandemic, helping us put it behind us and get our state back on track.”

Over the next year, 25 projects are scheduled, totaling $47.9 million.

Notable projects taking place in Fiscal Year 2022 are listed below:

  • I-70 bridge repair over the Mississippi River in St. Clair County
  • 3 miles of reconstruction on IL 3 at 20th Street in Granite City
  • 51 miles of pavement improvements on Old Collinsville Road from Ashland Avenue in Fairview Heights to Lebanon Avenue in Swansea
  • 39 miles of pavement improvements on East and West Highway 50 from Anne Avenue to IL 158 in St. Clair County
  • 62 miles of reconstruction on 1st Street from C Street to E Street in Granite City

For a full list of projects in the 57th District, visit IDOT's website.

Category: Press Releases

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