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SPRINGFIELD – To help inmates transition out of prison, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) sponsored legislation to require the Department of Corrections (DOC) to screen inmates for Medicaid eligibility before being released was, which was recently signed into law.

At this time, the Unified Code of Corrections requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to give inmates the opportunity to apply for Medicaid at least 45 days before they are discharged and requires DOC to assist them in filling out their application.

“Assisting inmates with Medicaid screening will help reduce the chronic disease rate, which is a major cause of death and disability in Illinois,” Belt said. “We are trying to help inmates from recidivating and one of the best ways to do that is do ensure medical treatment is available upon discharge. This is of utmost importance as it will give them the chance to maintain their health when reintegrated into society.”

Under this proposal, officials of the correctional institution or facility will have a committed person assigned to assist eligible inmates in completing a Medicaid application to ensure they begin receiving benefits immediately upon release.

Senate Bill 1744 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Category: Press Releases

VeteransSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Cahokia) will increase Veterans’ families and cemetery associations will be awarded an additional $25 to support the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran’s headstone or memorial marker was signed into law.

Currently, families and cemeteries are only awarded $100 to pay for the cost of transporting and erecting a veteran headstone or memorial marker.

“I am very disappointed we could only appropriate an additional $25 to veteran makers due to budgetary constraints,” Belt said. “However, I am appreciative that we were able to provide additional assistance to those families who need it the most.”  

Senate Bill 1244 it takes effect immediately.  

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) was named as a member of the Property Tax Relief Task Force by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“For many years, it has been mandatory for taxpayers to pay absurd rates and this has created a huge burden for many communities in our state,” Belt said. “I am honored to be a part of this task force to ensure that relief will be provided to the people who live in Illinois.”  

Senate Bill 1932 created the Property Tax Relief Task Force, which will explore potential solutions into reducing Illinois’ high property tax rates and make recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly.

The task force is made of up individuals appointed by the governor, as well as legislators from the Senate and the House of Representatives. Their initial report will be produced within 90 days, and the final report will be due by Dec. 31, 2019.

Category: Press Releases

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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

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