Senator Belt 3

SPRINGFIELD – A measure introduced by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) that would provide additional funding to prevent child abuse in Illinois passed committee Wednesday.

“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society,” Belt said. “We must do everything in our power to protect them from abuse and neglect.”

The measure would require the Department of Lottery to offer a special scratch-off game for child abuse prevention. Currently, Illinois has similar scratch-off games for veterans’ related issues, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, the Illinois Special Olympics and more.

“The Illinois lottery brings in millions of dollars each year in revenue,” Belt said. “We need to ensure that some of that money goes toward preventing child abuse in the state of Illinois.”

All of the revenue earned from the game would go to the Child Abuse Prevention Fund, which was created to provide grants to private social service organizations to help eliminate and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Senate Bill 2090 passed the Senate Executive Committee with a vote of 16-0 and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Belt Econ Pillar signing

SPRINGFIELD – In a major step toward dismantling systemic inequality, fighting discrimination in the workplace and promoting growth in minority communities, legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) that eliminates barriers to economic access, equity and opportunity was signed into law Tuesday.

“Since this nation’s inception, there’s been a massive disparity in access to economic opportunity in America. This imbalance affects all aspects of life, especially housing and access to capital,” Belt said. “If the federal government won’t take the lead, Illinois will. It’s time our state reaches its full potential, giving Middle America a beacon to strive toward.”

In order to eliminate long-standing economic obstacles to Illinoisans of color, the reform package includes a series of measures addressing the third pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ anti-racism agenda—economic access, equity and opportunity—which is made up of nine parts:

• Banking and investment
• Economic mobility
• Small business and entrepreneurship
• Procurement and the Business Enterprise Program
• Industry-specific equity
• Environmental equity
• Housing, land use and gentrification
• Pay equity and workers’ rights
• Capital investments

To help address inequities in state procurement practices, the package of legislation would also create the Commission on Equity and Inclusion, which would be charged with developing a procurement scoring system to give minority contractors a boost when competing for procurement opportunities with state agencies and universities. The commission will also help provide support for diversity hiring and training initiatives at state agencies.

“Accepting nothing less than true equity is the only way we can ensure the success of minority workers and businesses,” Belt said. “A diverse business community makes our economic foundation deeper, broader and stronger. When we break down barriers to economic access and opportunity, Illinois benefits.”

Category: Press Releases

bike trail

CENTREVILLE – The St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD)      has been chosen to receive $200,000 in state funding through the Illinois Bicycle Path Grant Program, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) announced Wednesday.

“This funding will help grow existing bike trail networks in the area,” Belt said. “Investing in our county bike trails offers people more opportunities for recreation and to get outside more often.”

SCCTD will use the grant funding to construct a 0.8-mile section of paved trail located along the west side of Old Collinsville Road in Fairview Heights from Munie Road to Frank Scott Parkway East.

The Illinois Bicycle Path Grant Program, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, was created in 1990 to provide grants to eligible local governments for projects that develop, rehabilitate or construct new bike trails. This year, the program will fund seven bike path projects across the state totaling more than $800,000.

More information about the program, eligible projects and the application process is available here.

Category: Press Releases

Belt

SPRINGFIELD – In order to increase employment opportunities for women, minorities and people with disabilities, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) is sponsoring a measure to change the job interview process at state agencies.

“It’s essential for agencies to have diversity in mind when they interview job applicants,” Belt said. “People tend to hire applicants that look like them, which means interview panels that lack diversity can be less likely to produce a diverse workplace.”

The measure would create the Equal Opportunity Employment Interview Initiative and require state agencies to implement hiring goals for certain target groups, including women, minorities and people with disabilities.

During a multiple stage or panel interview process, if the applicant has a disability or identifies as a minority, a woman, or bilingual, state agencies would have to assign an interviewer who also represents one of these groups.

In addition, in an annual report to the governor and General Assembly, state agencies would be required to disclose:

• the number of interviewees from target groups,
• the number of interviews in which both the applicant and an interviewer were representative of the same target group, and
• the number of applicants from target groups who were hired under the Equal Opportunity Employment Interview Initiative.

“A diverse hiring panel could help decrease bias during the hiring process,” Belt said. “If an applicant is a woman, her chances of getting hired improve when a woman is part of the panel conducting the interview. The same goes for individuals who identify as a minority.”

Senate bill 1765 passed the Senate State Government Committee Wednesday and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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