IEC Legislative Update

2021 End of Session Environmental Legislative Update

The 2021 regular legislative session is coming to an official close, with the House having adjourned last night and the Senate likely ending today. On the heels of an incredibly challenging year, Illinois’ environmental community has much to be proud of– but we have more work to do to fight for the clean energy future Illinoisans deserve.

Team IEC spent the long weekend in Springfield as the final days and hours wound down to pass historic legislation protecting our communities and defending our natural resources. 

We are already developing a comprehensive report telling the story of this successful session, providing you more in-depth analysis of the environmental progress we made, but in the meantime, here’s what you might have missed since our last dispatch from the State Capitol:

Energy & Transportation

Clean Energy — PENDING After two and a half years of organizing, the General Assembly still has not passed comprehensive energy legislation. The Illinois Senate is in session today and may consider energy legislation. However it has yet to be introduced and we are concerned that the 7th largest emitter of carbon emissions in the country– Prairie State Energy Campus– will be exempted from Illinois’ plans to transition to clean energy. As we have said for 2.5 years, without climate and equity there is no energy bill we can support. Governor Pritzker also stood firm on his commitment to pass a bill that is focused on climate, equity and consumers and said he would not sign any bill that exempts this coal plant. We need to make sure that Senate President Harmon is listening to the people of Illinois, not fossil fuel companies, so take action here. 

This is only a temporary setback; we have built the power to pass a clean energy bill that will secure a 100% clean energy future while providing a just transition for workers and communities, enacting some of the toughest utility accountability measures in the nation and creating jobs and wealth in Illinois’ communities of color.

Pembroke HB3404 — Passed over IEC and community opposition. IEC worked with local residents to secure protections for farmland in this historically black farming community and to increase public process and transparency in this project, but those protections were not included over our objection.

Solar Rights HB644 — PASSED! This legislation breaks down barriers that unnecessarily restrict solar energy at condominiums.

Clean Transportation Resolutions SR296/HR293 — PASSED! These resolutions encourage Gov. Pritzker to sign Illinois onto the MultiState Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding that calls for 30% of new truck and bus sales to be zero-emission by 2030 and 100% by 2050. 

IDOT Performance-Planning HB253 — PASSED! Requires the Department of Transportation to establish and implement a transportation performance program for all transportation facilities and project selection processes.

Clean Water

Tackling Toxic Lead Service Lines HB3739 — PASSED! With strong bipartisan support, the General Assembly passed HB3739, the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act. For the first time in history, every municipality in Illinois will be required to develop and execute a plan that inventories, removes and replaces ALL lead service lines while prioritizing replacement in our most vulnerable communities.

Groundwater Pollution at Quarries HB653 — PASSED! This legislation will require expanded inspections and monitoring to protect groundwater quality at clean construction of demolition debris (CCDD) sites.

Protect Air from ‘Forever Chemicals’ HB3190 — PASSED! This legislation would prevent the incineration of PFAS firefighting foam. PFAS are known as a ‘forever chemical’ because they do not break down and are carcinogenic.

Toxic Water (PFAS) SB561– PASSED! This bill would regulate the use of  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) “forever chemicals” in firefighting foam.

Coal Tar Disclosure SB692– PASSED! Requires disclosure of coal tar use on public school/district properties and disclosure of use on all state agency properties.

Conservation and Agriculture

Funding for Clean Water and Sustainable Agriculture Programs (Formerly SB2474/HB1792) — SECURED! The increased funding outlined in these bills was included in the state budget and budget implementation plan, which means that the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy now has dedicated funding for the first time– the cover crop insurance premium discount program funding was doubled and Soil and Water Conservation Districts received increased funding. More on this will be included in our budget analysis within the next few days.

Home Garden Protections HB633 — PASSED! Prevents units of local government from enacting regulations that obstruct gardening on a person’s own property.

Home-to-Market Act SB2007 — PASSED! Expands the current cottage food laws to allow direct-to-consumer sales, including sales online within Illinois. This bill also clarifies the type of products which can be produced, namely canned items, as long as they follow USDA health guidelines.

Pesticide Restrictions at Schools SB2445 –PASSED! This legislation will provide more reasonable restrictions on the use of pesticides at schools. 

Bird-Friendly Buildings HB247– PASSED! This initiative will help promote building design standards that protect birds. 

Local, Healthy Food Support HJR33 — PASSED! This resolution will create a task force to study state procurement policy related to food contracts. The ultimate goal of this group will be to find ways for Illinois to implement the Good Food Purchasing Policy, which will incentivize the sourcing of locally produced food.

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