IEC Legislative Update

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Early Wednesday morning, days after its scheduled adjournment date of May 24, the Illinois General Assembly passed the state budget and concluded the Spring legislative session. Going into an election year with an expected budget deficit, we anticipated that it would be more challenging than usual to pass critical pieces of legislation this session. Despite these difficulties, we made significant progress on some of our environmental priorities for the year.

Thanks to IEC’s strong coalition of affiliate member organizations, partners, and grassroots supporters, legislators across the state heard from their constituents on environmental issues.  Together, we held FOUR lobby days, bringing over 600 people to the Illinois State Capitol! Legislators frequently asked our staff and partners to offer expert testimony during committee hearings. We worked together to achieve winning roll calls on important issues. 

Overall, we successfully demonstrated the growing power of our environmental movement in Illinois. Still, some of our priorities will have to wait for veto session later in the year or the Spring session of 2025. The work always continues.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulation

On Sunday, the Senate passed Amendment 3 to SB1289, establishing some of the nation’s strongest environmental regulations on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects. We are grateful to bill sponsors Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Laura Fine, who were instrumental in securing this big win.

This legislation includes essential victories such as:

  • A ban on the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for enhanced oil recovery, an extraordinarily energy-intensive and polluting process,
  • An up to two-year moratorium on CO2 pipelines until the federal government has set standards for CO2 pipeline safety, and
  • “Do no harm” provisions that prohibit these projects from increasing air or climate pollution.

We still have more work to do to ensure that CCS projects do not harm people and the environment in Illinois, but the protections secured in SB1289 are a monumental victory.

State Budget Review 

The Governor and legislative leaders signaled early in session that the fiscal year 2025 (FY25) state budget would be tight. The remaining federal funds authorized as part of pandemic relief have since dried up, removing a bit of cushion the legislature had gotten comfortable with over the last few years. Still, we did manage to achieve funding wins that moved the needle on environmental protection.

While we were relieved to see that the traditional conservation dollars housed within the Department of Natural Resources had been left intact, we were disappointed to see a major slash in funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts, essential on-the-ground conservation organizations that have struggled with financial insecurity for almost two decades. IEC and our partners lobbied heavily for a budget that would give them fiscal stability moving forward, but this latest move from the General Assembly has sent a clear message that their future is not only unclear, but in peril. IEC will continue to seek budget solutions that support our partners at the districts.

The General Assembly increased the amount of money for our state’s cover crop incentive program, which provided crucial funding for the Department of Agriculture to implement the state’s first soil health plan and increased the balance in the Partners for Conservation Fund. While we didn’t reach our goal of funding 500,000 total acres in the program, increased funding is a significant step forward that we will continue to build on.

In transportation, we saw some signs of encouraging moves, like increased funds to help reduce our transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. The new budget shows increased funds for the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, the Office of Planning and Programming to support Transportation Enhancement, Congestion Mitigation, Air Quality, and the National EV Charging Infrastructure program, thanks to funds coming from the Road Fund.

There were encouraging signs of support for ridership programs on the public transportation front. This includes projected increases to support reduced fares for students, people with disabilities, and elderly passengers. The state also increased funding to help support paratransit service. 

On the energy side, we saw significant funds in the budget going towards agencies related to CEJA implementation. Many federal dollars through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) are being distributed as well for various energy efficiency programs. We were also pleasantly surprised to see some funding for the SAFE CCS Act.

As always, we will publish our annual Legislative Report detailing the outcomes of Illinois’ Environmental Agenda this session. In the meantime, you can find a list of successful bills we tracked and supported throughout the legislative process, all of which are headed to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature:


Not-for-Profit Demographics — SB2930 (Johnson / Gonzalez): This bill enhances transparency and DEI efforts by requiring non-profits to report on the demographics of their board members and directors.

CEJA Workforce updates — HB5005 (Vella / Stadelman): This bill facilitates the speed at which CEJA workforce hubs can be implemented by exempting them from accreditation by the Board of Higher Education. It also establishes a 14th location for CEJA programming in Kankakee.


Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulations — SB1289 (Fine / A. Williams): This bill provides essential guardrails to protect our air, water, climate, and communities from the risks associated with each stage of CCS.

Clean Lighting HB2363 (Smith / Johnson): This bill speeds up the phase-out of fluorescent bulbs to energy-efficient LED bulbs.

Utility Termination Grace Period — HB4118 (West / Stadelman): This bill prevents gas and electric companies from shutting off a resident’s primary source of heat or charging late fees for 75 days once the resident shows they are pursuing grants or other resources to pay their gas or utility bill.

EPA BESS — SB3481 / HB5293 (Feigenholtz / Moeller): This bill allows for safer storage practices by requiring battery storage facilities to register with IEPA and for the Pollution Control Board to create future rules for the operation of battery storage facilities.

Outdoor Lighting Control Act — SB3501 (Ellman / Costa Howard): This bill minimizes light pollution by regulating the installation and replacement of outdoor lighting “units” on state properties. It implements new requirements like fully shielded units, limited light trespass, and responsible lighting like dimming controls and motion sensors.

Batteries Stewardship Act — SB3686 / HB5348 (Koehler / Chung): This bill establishes an EPR program for portable and medium-format batteries in Illinois. It requires the battery producer to bear the collection, transportation, and recycling of all battery chemistries and manage them through a battery stewardship organization.


Bikeway Planning Act   SB3202 (Toro / LaPointe): This bill allows municipalities or counties to prepare a bicycle transportation report to identify the number of bike commuters, map land use for the development of bikeways, identify bike parking facilities, and connections to other transportation modes. The report should also include a bike safety education plan and discuss traffic law enforcement responsibility for the area of the plan.

High-Speed Rail Stock Fund HB5349 (Chung / Stadelman): This bill creates a High-Speed Rolling Stock Fund to fund high-speed locomotives, passenger railcars, and other rolling stock equipment.

Climate Resilience

Climate Education HB4895 (Yang Rohr / Johnson): As climate change and its impacts affect everyday life, students need and are calling for a comprehensive education curriculum. This bill codifies climate change as an educational requirement and allows ISBE to create professional development materials for teachers.

Landlord/Tenant Flood Disclosure SB2601 (Porfirio / Rashid): This bill requires landlords to notify tenants of a property’s flooding hazards prior to signing a lease agreement. In the event of a significant flood, it gives the tenant permission to terminate the lease, receive rent reimbursement, and bring action against the landlord if they were not notified of flood hazards. 

Water Plan Task Force Act SB2743 (Ellman / A. Williams): This bill establishes the State Water Plan Task Force to identify critical water issues and their solutions in the State Water Plan and publish an updated Plan at least every ten years. The Plan guides agency action, funding, and legislation related to water issues in Illinois.

Water Reuse — HB3046 (A. Williams / Villivalam): This bill allows the adoption of rules regarding recycling sewage treatment plant effluent reuse.

Air Quality Task Force HB4903 (Faver Dias / Johnson): This bill creates an Air Quality in Schools Task Force to study the quality of air Illinois students experience. 

Sustainable Agriculture & Conservation

Exotic Weed Act SB2747 (Edly-Allen / B. Hernandez): This bill allows the Department of Natural Resources to add species to the Exotic Weed Act by rule, which should make IDNR much more responsive to emerging invasive species threats.

Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program SB2781 (Ventura / Huynh): This bill creates a Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program to restore degraded lands and promote the growth of native vegetation to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Unmanned Aircraft Regulation SB2849 (Rita / Morrison): This bill allows forest preserve districts to regulate recreational drone activity on their properties.

Food Infrastructure Grant SB3077 (Koehler / Harper): This bill creates a grant program under the Illinois Department of Agriculture to help fund the expansion of local food infrastructure for small to medium-sized producers for activities like food processing.

Grocery Initiative Grants SB3219 (D. Turner / Harper): Subject to appropriation, this bill allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to institute a grant program for upgrading equipment in farmer-owned grocery stores and markets. 

Pesticide Application Notice — SB3342 (McClure / Faver Dias): This bill requires notice for pesticide applications when spraying on public right-of-ways.

Official State Mushroom — SB3514 (Lewis/ Mussman): This bill designates the “giant puffball” as the official State mushroom.

Youth Conservation Program — HB255 (Mussman / Villa): This bill creates the Youth and Young Adult Conservation Education Act, directing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish a Youth and Young Adult Conservation Program in order to provide educational and employment opportunities to youth and young adults while furthering the development and maintenance of the State’s natural resources.

Forestry Fix — HB1855 (McCombie / Chesney): This bill requires the Department of Natural resources to provide more data on the utilization of forest development funds. This data will be provided annually to the General Assembly with the hope there are fixes which can be implemented in the future to ensure the funds are being used properly.

Homeowners’ Native Landscaping Act HB5296 (Faver Dias / Villa): This bill prevents Homeowners Associations from restricting residents’ ability to plant native landscapes within their yards, as long as they do not infringe on neighboring properties and ensure the plants are native species. 

Zero Waste

Large Event Facility Recycling — SB2876 (Villa / Tarver): This bill requires facilities with a capacity of 3,500 or more people to participate in recycling and composting. 

Small Plastic Bottle Act — SB2960 (Fine / Buckner): This bill reduces plastic waste by requiring hotels to use refillable toiletry bottles instead of providing new, mini toiletry bottles to guests daily.

Recycling Needs Assessment — SB3165 (Koehler / Chung): This trailer bill to the Statewide Recycling Needs Assessment Act (SB1555) includes more specific provisions to assist this important assessment and related task force.

Menstrual Products Donations HB4264 (B. Hernandez / Loughran Cappel): This bill reduces waste and gives individuals access to menstrual products by allowing them to be donated without fear of liability.

Load Covers — HB4848 (Keicher / Harris): This bill requires covers for truck beds on the highway when they are filled with debris.

If you were one of the hundreds of Illinoisans who took action with us this session to contact your legislators, THANK YOU! Our team at the Capitol is so much stronger when you have our backs. We could not build power for people and the environment without your tireless action, and we encourage you to write to your lawmakers again to thank them for their support of proposals that are important to you. 

Look for our 2024 Legislative Report and Scorecard coming soon!

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IEC Legislative Updates

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Today is the scheduled adjournment day of the regular legislative session. However, as of this morning, it became clear that leading members of the House