IEC Legislative Update

2021 Environmental Legislative Update, May 14

With less than 20 days left in the legislative session, IEC continues to fight in Springfield for a robust agenda to protect our communities, defend our natural resources and secure Illinois’ clean energy future. 

Our issues are competing for limited attention and resources amidst budget uncertainty, COVID limitations and the end of session frenzy. If you can, please keep a close eye on your inbox over the next couple of weeks. Any action alerts we send will be especially important in influencing your legislators to support and prioritize bills like the Clean Energy Jobs Act!

Even if you’ve contacted them already about an issue, at this point in the legislative session, legislators need to be reminded that you are watching how they vote on critical environmental and public health issues. Your voice gives us the backing we need to be effective at the Capitol!

This Week’s Key Updates

Clean Energy Jobs Act
Nearly two and a half years since the introduction of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, all hands are on deck to make sure we pass clean energy legislation before May 31. Energy stakeholders, including representatives of IEC, are meeting round-the-clock to find progress on a bill. Will you tell your legislators that any clean energy bill must prioritize climate by decarbonizing the power sector, hold utilities accountable and be centered on equity? 

Tackling Toxic Lead Service Lines
With the successful bipartisan passage of HB3739, the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, in the House a few weeks ago, we now are working to guarantee there is enough support in the Senate. This bill will be heard in the Senate Executive committee next Wednesday, so please contact your lawmaker.

Funding for Clean Water and Sustainable Agriculture Programs
IEC has also been working with partners and stakeholders to broaden support for the programs that are critical to successfully implementing the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, such as the popular cover crop program. We will continue to push for further funding so that farmers can better access the programs they rely on to protect our soil and water resources. Contact your lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker to let them know that this funding should be a budget priority.

Funding for Clean Water and Sustainable Agriculture Programs
IEC has also been working with partners and stakeholders to broaden support for the programs that are critical to successfully implementing the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, such as the popular cover crop program. We will continue to push for further funding so that farmers can better access the programs they rely on to protect our soil and water resources. Contact your lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker to let them know that this funding should be a budget priority.

The following are IEC supported bills that advanced out of committee this week. They need only one more vote left before they head to the Governor’s desk!

Solar Rights – HB644 (Didech/Johnson) — We are working with the Illinois Solar Energy Association to break down barriers that unnecessarily restrict solar energy at condominiums.

Groundwater Pollution at Quarries – HB653 (Avelar/Connor) — This legislation will require groundwater monitoring at clean construction of demolition debris (CCDD) sites. In 2017, IEPA issued the largest number of violation notices in the agency’s history, finding 74 out of 92 of these sites were in violation of water quality standards.

Home Garden Protections – HB633 (Harper/Koehler) — Prevents units of local government from enacting regulations that have the practical effect of precluding gardening on a person’s own property.

Home-to-Market Act – SB2007 (Koehler/Guzzardi) — Expands the current cottage food laws to allow direct-to-consumer sales, including sales online within Illinois. This 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 (Morrison/Welter) — This legislation will provide reasonable restrictions on the use of pyrethroid pesticides. 

Protect Air from ‘Forever Chemicals’ – HB3190 (Greenwood/Belt) — This legislation would prevent a facility in the Metro East from burning PFAS firefighting foam. PFAS are known as a ‘forever chemical’ because they do not break down and are carcinogenic. 

Toxic Water (PFAS) – SB561 (Moeller/Ellman) — This bill would phase out Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foam.  

Coal Tar Disclosure – SB692 (Gabel/Fine) — Requires disclosure of coal tar use on all properties in Illinois, disclosure of use on public school/district properties and disclosure of use on all state agency properties.

Other bills that will be heard in committee next week:

IDOT Performance-Planning – HB253 (Villivalam/Buckner) — Requires the Department of Transportation to establish and implement a transportation performance program for all transportation facilities and project selection processes.

Bird-Friendly Buildings – HB247 (Morgan/Morrison) — This initiative will help promote building design standards that protect birds.

As you can see, all signs point to a strong success this legislative session, despite its challenges. Many of the bills we proposed are expected to be signed into law and many of the bad bills we’ve been working to defeat look to be stopped once again.

But isn’t all said and done just yet! Famously, the General Assembly tends to push many large decisions right up until the closing moments of this session. So, IEC will be pushing even harder for the support needed to get our bills across the finish line and secure those big ticket items in our legislative agenda, like a comprehensive clean energy bill, the replacement of toxic lead service lines and further funding for critical water quality programs.

Thank you for every action you’ve taken and for being ‘on call’ for the actions we may need you to take in the next two weeks.

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