We are nearly halfway through this legislative session of the Illinois General Assembly, and a sense of which of IEC’s legislative priorities may become law this year is beginning to come into focus.
Last Friday was an important deadline in the Illinois House. All bills sponsored by a representative in the House, including those that IEC and our partners in the environmental community support, had to receive a full House majority vote in order to move forward this legislative session.
31 bills we support met that requirement and advanced to the Illinois Senate last week. We are thrilled by this progress but will still have significant work to do in the Senate to get them across the finish line.
2023 Environmental Legislative Priorities
This Week’s Key Updates
Some highlights for the week include:
Zero Waste – This has been a big year for source reduction, recycling, and composting! In addition to the foam foodware ban (HB2376 – Gong-Gershowitz) passing the House, the House also moved forward health standards for bringing your own container to restaurants and retailers (HB2086 – Stava Murray), requirements for composting and recycling at large events (HB1370 – Tarver), enhanced compost procurement mandates (HB2569 – Ness), and composting as an option for end of life human burial (HB3158 – Cassidy). In other good news, the terrible plastic pyrolysis bill, HB1616, was not called for a vote ahead of the third reading deadline, making it difficult to pass this year. But because it could be granted an extension or amended to another bill, we’re continuing to keep an eye on it.
Energy and Transportation – Many energy and transportation bills have not progressed but could arise as priorities later in the session, and we can expect subject matter hearings on important energy issues in the coming weeks. So far, none of the bills on carbon sequestration or pipelines have moved forward, including the one that we support, HB3119. We also haven’t seen progress on utility affordability or shut-offs move forward, including the PURR Act (HB2172). Some good news: HB2174 (Didech), which will remove HOAs ability to restrict solar, has moved forward. HB 1190 (Morgan), which fixes a regulatory gap on natural gas leaks from underground storage, has passed the Illinois House after two years.
Conservation and Agriculture – While the right to outdoor recreation bill has not yet moved forward, important open space bills are progressing, including HB3642 (Faver Dias), tightening rules on the sale of open space purchased by voter referendum. Several agricultural bills to help feed people and assist disadvantaged communities have passed the Illinois House, including HB2879 – Farm to Food Bank, Black Farmers Restoration Program (HB3556 – Harper), and local farm and food products – HB3557 (Harper). Two bills concerning pesticides have moved forward, including HB2828 (Moeller), mosquito abatement notification, and HB3086 (Harper) on increasing pesticide fees. We are also excited to permanently celebrate the first full week of March as Soil Health Week, thanks to HB3627 (Meier).
Environmental Justice – The environmental justice air permitting bill (HB2520 – Harper) was called for a vote when not enough people were on the floor, and it was placed on postponed consideration. Fortunately, that means it can be called at any time moving forward, so it’s more important than ever to contact your lawmakers. The Waukegan coal ash bill (HB1608 – Mayfield) was also not called, and we are working to get more votes to remove coal ash from the shores of Lake Michigan in this environmental justice community. In good news, HB3595 (Mah), which will increase notification and require plans for when a power plant stack is demolished, passed. Justice40 legislation (HB2487) is also a notable bill that passed to create a task force to oversee the implementation goals of the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative for federal funding.
Clean Water – Important bills removing restrictions on water reuse (HB3046 – Williams) and increasing notification on lead service lines (HB2776 – Hyunh) have passed. Expect additional work on clean drinking water in the budget.