EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt supported proposals to address the increase in car thefts and hijackings that were signed into law Thursday.

According to a January report from CNN, cities around the country have seen an increase in the rate of carjackings.Senator Belt

“The increase in the number of carjackings is disturbing,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Innocent people are being targeted by this senseless crime across Illinois.”

House Bill 601 modernizes the definition of the possession of burglary tools offense to include devices designed to unlock or start a vehicle without a key and devices designed to capture or duplicate a signal from a key fob. Car thieves have exploited new technology that can pick up the RFID signal from a key fob at a distance, allowing a victim’s vehicle to be unlocked or stolen even while the fob remains in their home. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Illinois saw a 13% increase in car thefts from 2019-2020.

House Bill 3699 will provide law enforcement with additional resources to coordinate efforts to put a stop to carjackings. Under the legislation, the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council – made up of representatives from the insurance industry, state’s attorneys and law enforcement – will be tasked with working together to reduce carjackings. The Council currently provides grant funding to three task forces – comprised of law enforcement and state’s attorneys – which investigate and prosecute motor vehicle threat and similar crimes.

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Category: Press Releases

Senator BeltEAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt was appointed to the Nonprofit Electric Generation Task Force to continue his support for the Prairie State Generation Campus.

“I have been a longstanding champion of bringing clean energy to the Metro East and am honored to have the opportunity to continue to advocate for a cleaner community,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “As a member of the Energy and Public Utilities Committee, I am proud to show my support for the coal plant that gives thousands of residents electricity. “

The task force investigates the technical and financial options to install carbon capture, sequestration, utilization and direct air capture, assess the existing regulatory construct and any legislative support mechanisms necessary to reduce carbon and prepare a report of the findings at the Prairie State Generation Campus.

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Category: Press Releases

CHICAGO – Teachers will be able to take excused mental health days under a measure supported by State Senator Christopher Belt that was signed into law Friday. Belt13

“It’s clear that our teachers have had to overcome a number of challenges, especially throughout the pandemic,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “They have continued to perform their jobs well in unprecedented times and often put their students before themselves.”

Belt serves as a chief-cosponsor of Senate Bill 3914, which requires the school board of each school district to include mental health as part of their current negotiated sick days for full time employees of the district. The new law allows teachers to use two of their days as mental health days, and that if a teacher needs three or more mental health days, the school district would require a note from a mental health professional.

“The mental health of teachers is vital for them to continue inspiring our youth,” Belt said. “They are a crucial part of children’s lives. Giving teachers time to focus on their mental health is essential to success.”

The law took effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

Senator BeltCHICAGO – Local school boards’ threat assessment procedures will be filed with local law enforcement agencies to increase student safety thanks to a measure spearheaded by State Senator Christopher Belt that was signed into law Friday.

“As chair of the Senate Education Committee, one of my top priorities is student safety,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “This law will ensure all schools are up to date with their procedures and give parents one less worry in case of a school threat.”

Currently, each public school district is required to implement a threat assessment procedure that includes the creation of a threat assessment team. The team must consist of an administrator, teacher, school counselor, psychologist, school social worker and at least one law enforcement official.

House Bill 4994 requires each local school board to file the threat assessment procedure and a list of the members on the school district's threat assessment team or regional behavior threat assessment and intervention team with a local law enforcement agency and the regional office of education at the start of each school year. Chicago Public Schools will file the threat assessment procedure and list of members with the Illinois State Board of Education.

“School shootings have been happening across the country,” Belt said. “Bringing the law in line with what many school districts practice prioritizes the safety of all students across the state.”

The new law takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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