IEC Legislative Update

2021 Environmental Legislative Update, April 16

Despite the initially slow start, the General Assembly has picked up speed and things are now moving quickly.

Over the last month, IEC has been very busy shepherding bills through the legislative process, negotiating with stakeholders and educating decision makers. We are now approaching a critical legislative deadline. Rules require that next week, all bills must be passed out of the chamber in which they were introduced.

In other words, House bills must be passed out of the House and Senate bills must be passed out of the Senate before next week ends or else they will not be allowed to advance for the remainder of the session. That makes next week a significant moment to advance our legislative agenda and prevent bad industry proposals from advancing.

Here’s where our legislative agenda stands now as session winds down with about 40 days left to get it all done:

Clean Energy
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (Williams/Castro — HB804/SB1718) remains a top priority for IEC and our partners this session. CEJA has passed out of the House Energy and Environment Committee, and with lobby day in about a week, we’re making sure we have the support needed to pass it this session. We’ve also been working against various industry proposals that seek to further subsidize fossil fuel infrastructure at the expense of our pocketbooks, our lungs, and our planet. Click here to sign up for Virtual Environmental Justice Lobby Day!

Solar Rights (Didech/Johnson, HB644/SB215) — We are working with the Illinois Solar Energy Association to break down barriers that restrict solar energy at condominiums. This bill has passed unanimously out of both committees and will be heard on the floor next week. 

Safe Drinking Water
Lead Service Line Replacement (Robinson/Bush, HB3739/SB1168) — Requires every municipality to have a plan in place for replacement of lead service lines, as well as a robust inventory with prioritization of vulnerable communities. This bill will be up in committee and the full floor next week. To get this important bill passed this year, we need you to TAKE ACTION NOW. Click here to contact your legislators about lead service lines.

Toxic Water & PFAS (Ellman, SB561) — Reduces environmental contamination from Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foam. This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Environment committee this week.

Coal Tar Disclosure (Fine, SB692) — Requires disclosure of coal tar use on public school/district properties and disclosure of use on all state agency properties. This bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Environment this week.

Groundwater Pollution at Quarries (Avelar, HB653) — Legislation addressing groundwater contamination at clean construction of demolition debris (CCDD) sites will be voted on next week. 

Local Food, Sustainable Agriculture
Partners for Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Act (Villivalam, SB2474) — Illinois has not made significant progress on its goals to reduce the nutrient pollution damaging our water resources. This legislation would add resources to implement the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, and passed out of Senate Agriculture this week. TAKE ACTION to support important bill here.

Local Food Producers (Koehler/Guzzardi, SB2007/HB2615) — Expanding the current cottage food laws to allow direct-to-consumer sales, including sales online within Illinois, is a huge step forward for local food producers. This bill advanced out of the Senate Health committee unanimously this week, and will be voted on by the full Senate next week. Take action with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance here.

Home Garden Protections (Koehler/Harper, SB170/HB633) — Prevents units of local government from enacting regulations that have the practical effect of precluding gardening on a person’s own property. After years of working on this legislation with the leadership of Nicole Virgil, this bill passed out of the Senate committee unanimously on Tuesday. 

Toxins and Waste
Pesticides at Schools (Morrison, SB2445) — IEC helped pass legislation out of the Senate Environment committee this week that would prevent the spraying of pesticides at schools when children are present.

Ban on Harmful Balloon Releases (Yingling, HB418) — This bill tackles the unintended consequences of mass balloon releases on our environment, wildlife and even critical infrastructure. It passed out of the House Environment committee this week and is headed to a full floor vote. 

As you can tell from this long list of pending legislation, we are optimistic about the state of our legislative agenda and the policy-based progress we’ll be able to make this legislative session. As always, we will continue to keep you informed as next week’s bill deadline comes and goes. 

Click here to find all of our current action alerts in order to connect with your legislators about some of these key bills.

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