041923KP18561SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt advanced a measure through the Senate that would establish the Justice40 Oversight Committee to move the Justice40 initiative forward in Illinois.

“We have seen how climate change and environmental degradation has negatively affected communities all over the nation, specifically disadvantaged ones,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “As lawmakers, it’s our responsibility to address these issues and begin to prioritize investments in climate and clean energy.”

The federal government created the Justice40 initiative to confront and address decades of underinvestment in disadvantaged communities. The initiative is to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate change and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

House Bill 2487 would create the Justice40 Oversight Committee to advance this federal initiative in the state. The committee would be responsible for compiling findings, conclusions and recommendations regarding environmental justice and uses of federal funds for climate change and clean energy purposes.

“This is a major win for many communities around the state that have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution,” said Belt. “It’s a significant step forward toward a more equitable and just transition to a clean energy economy.”

House Bill 2487 passed the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

RearviewMirrorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt advanced a measure out of the Senate Thursday that would prohibit law enforcement from pulling a vehicle over for objects placed between the driver and their front windshield.

“When drivers are pulled over due to something being on their rearview mirror, they are often unfairly targeted by law enforcement,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “It’s long overdue that we eliminate this reason for being pulled over.”

Under current law, people cannot drive with any objects placed or suspended between the driver and the front windshield, which obstruct the driver's view. House Bill 2389 would clarify that vehicles cannot be stopped or searched by a law enforcement officer solely on the basis of a violation or suspected violation of this subsection.

“This will go a long way in promoting fairness and equity in our state,” said Belt. “It’s vital we provide clarity to both law enforcement and drivers about what constitutes a legitimate reason for a traffic stop and now, having a parking pass or air freshener on your mirror will not be a reason for being pulled over.”

House Bill 2389 passed the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

BeltGrantAwards1EAST ST. LOUIS – With strong support from State Senator Christopher Belt, $200,000 will be coming to the Metro East area to boost local tourism efforts and attract visitors.

“This funding will allow us to continue to grow and promote tourism in our region,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Tourism is an important economic driver in the Metro East, and this grant will enable us to build upon current success and attract even more visitors to the area.”

Through the Illinois Travel and Tourism Grant Program, a total of $2.9 million is being awarded to 51 grantees to support local tourism promotional efforts. This program provides funding for promotional efforts by local governments, municipalities, non-profits and local promotional groups such as Illinois' Certified Convention and Visitor Bureaus, with the goal of attracting visitors to destinations, attractions, and events throughout Illinois.

The City of Fairview Heights and Discover Downstate Illinois will both receive $100,000 in funds from the program, which is funded by a federal Economic Development Administration grant.

“By investing in tourism in downstate Illinois, we are not only attracting visitors but also creating jobs, supporting local businesses and enhancing the quality of life for residents in the area,” said Belt.

To view a full list of Illinois Travel and Tourism Grant Program recipients, click here.

Category: Press Releases

HEALTHYFRESH1EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt announced that two school districts in the Metro East have received federal Team Nutrition School Meals Recipe Grants to help students create recipes for schools across the country.

“This is a unique opportunity that allows high school students to get involved with their community as well as teaching them necessary skills they will be able to use for the rest of their lives,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “We are enabling student chefs to experiment with recipes and promote healthy eating habits, while focusing on Illinois’ locally produced vegetables.”

The grants have supported students with local cooking competitions, taste testing events, chef demonstrations and field trips to farms or production facilities of local agricultural products, culminating in the students developing their own tasty and nutritious recipes for school meals.

Two out of the eight school districts who were grant awardees are located in Belt’s district: Cahokia Unit School District 187 and East St. Louis School District 189.

“This grant provides students a wonderful opportunity to focus on nutrition education and gain culinary experience developing recipes,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders. “It is so important to understand where our food comes from and how its nutrients fuel us. The recipes these students created celebrate and uplift Illinois’ homegrown agricultural bounty and have the potential to reach students in lunchrooms across the country for years to come.”

To learn more about the grant program and to see a full list of recipients, click here.

Category: Press Releases

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