IEC Legislative Update

2012 Mid-Session Update

Yesterday’s Environmental Lobby Day was incredible! Thanks to all 150 volunteers that came to Springfield. The co-sponsorships, letter signings, and expressions of support from legislators were demonstrative of the power that the environmental community can have through its grassroots membership working together. Check out pictures of the day at our facebook page.

Today is the deadline for legislation to pass through its first chamber – either the Illinois House or Illinois Senate. Timewise, we are in the middle of session. Workwise, the Illinois General Assembly still has a great deal of work to complete.

Legislative Updates

HB4496 – Update to Illinois’ Plumbing Code

Representative Carol Sente’s HB4496 passed the Illinois House this week with 100 voting yes and 14 voting no. This bill requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to update the plumbing code to make the codes “consistent with the leading technologies and methods that more efficiently utilize natural resources and protect public health.” This legislation provides legislative support for the Illinois Department of Public Health to address plumbing code updates that will allow the reuse rainwater or greywater in households and businesses. This is an important win for many of IEC’s affiliate organizations, which has been fought over many years. Senator Garrett will sponsor this legislation in the Senate.

SB2897 – New Opportunities for Green Business

Senator Michael Frerich’s legislation creates a new type of Illinois corporation which protects the corporation’s public benefit mission. Many businesses interested in sustainable operations are interested in using this new tool to forward their business. Read a press release about this legislation here. This bill passed with 30 voting yes, 21 voting no, 1 voting present. Read the bill and view your legislator’s vote here.  State Representative Sara Feigenholz will lead this bill in the House. Many thanks to green business owners who came down to the Capitol last week to advocate on behalf of this legislation. Read about their experiences here.   This bill was proposed by Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance.

SB3811 – Net Metering

Senate Bill 3811 clarifies the State’s net metering statute.  It ensures that, regardless of their rate class, residential and small business owners will be able to net meter renewable energy they generate on their property.   This bill is agreed to among many parties including ELPC, Sierra Club and the utilities.  SB 3811 passed the Senate 48-6 and will move in the House in April. Senator Don Harmon sponsored this bill in the Senate.  Representative Karen May will carry this bill in the House.

SB3724 – Energy Efficient Building Code

In 2009 the General Assembly passed legislation which ensured that Illinois implement the most up to date energy efficiency building code in the nation every three years, automatically.  The Illinois Homebuilder’s Association introduced legislation which attempted to modify that code in a way that would have forestalled compliance for several years.  Senate Bill 3724 makes slight modifications to the Code to address the Homebuilder’s concerns about timing while preserving both the content of the code and the obligation that the code continue to be updated every three years to be the best in the nation.  This bill is an agreed bill among many parties including ELPC, Environment Illinois, the Illinois Chemical Council, the Illinois Association of Architects and the Illinois Homebuilders Association. Senator Don Harmon carrried this bill in the Senate and Representative Michelle Mussman will carry this bill in the House.

Sustainable Funding for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Eight years of budget cuts have halved the IDNR budget. Efforts are underway to supplement the general revenue fund portions of the IDNR budget with user fees such as park entrance fees or passes and service or consulting fees related to department operations. State Representative Frank Mautino is leading negotiations on this effort, involving a huge number of interests, including Partners for Parks and Wildlife – a coalition of environmental, open space, hunting and fishing, and recreation advocates. Two bills have passed related to this effort, including HB404, which reduces IDNR’s statutorily mandated programs and HB5789, which allows IDNR to collect park entrance fees. IEC and our affiliates are actively involved with negotiation on this critical effort.

HB5642 – CAFOs

Legislation creating NPDES permit fees for CAFOs that discharge into Illinois waterways passed the Illinois House. This important legislation will help the IEPA fund its CAFO regulatory program. This is an agreed to bill and an important victory for Environment Illinois, Prairie Rivers Network, and the Illinois Coalition for Clean Air and Water. Representative Mike Tryon is the House sponsor of this legislation. Senator Michael  Frerichs will be chief co-sponsor of this bill in the Illinois Senate.

 
SB3280 – Hydraulic Fracturing

Legislation to regulate hydraulic fracturing is moving forward in the Senate. The current bill regulates chemical disclosure, well casing standards, and water storage standards. Senator Frerichs is sponsoring this legislation in the Senate.

 
HB4986 – Recycling

A bill to create a task force to look at increasing recycling rates narrowly passed the Illinois House with 69 voting yes and 44 voting no. View your legislator’s vote here. Rep. Karen May sponsored this legislation.

 

The following pieces of legislation that IEC has been tracking failed to meet deadlines and more than likely won’t be moving forward this session. We continue to track these and similar proposals.

  • HB3884, a bill that would have given utility companies the right to remove trees within a 20 foot radius of a utility pole, did not move out of House committee. This proposal was opposed by a large number of groups, but the sponsor has indicated his intention to continue to pursue this legislation. IEC opposes to this proposal.
  • SB3788, a bill which would have removed local siting to allow coal plants to easily burn waste derived fuel, did not move out of the Senate Environment Committee. IEC and its affiliates are concerned about this “waste to energy“ process, which burns “refined” municipal waste. Release of dioxins and furans from this process is a tremendous concern. IEC opposes this legislation.
  • HB5373, a bill that would have banned BPA from receipt paper, failed to pass the House Environmental Health Committee by one vote. Representative Karen May was the sponsor of this legislation.  IEC supports this legislation
  • HB5143, the “ag gag” bill, was tabled by the sponsor. This bill would have criminalized recording activities of livestock operations. This would prevent neighbors and environmentally concerned citizens from document pollution from these facilities, among other issues. IEC opposes this legislation.

To view all of the bills that IEC is tracking, visit our website.

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