IEC Legislative Update

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Legislators were back in session again this week to conduct business, and pieces of the Illinois Environmental Legislative Agenda continue to move through the legislative process. Additionally, we enjoyed being joined this week by University of Illinois students advocating for environmental bills, including one of their own!

Protecting Illinois’ Wetlands

Protecting wetlands remains a top priority for IEC and our partners. The U.S. Supreme Court recently gutted wetlands protections under the federal Clean Water Act, leaving Illinois wetlands vulnerable to development without legislative intervention.

This week, Representative Anna Moeller’s HB5386 passed out of committee with a vote of 17 to 10, with the support of hundreds who signed witness slips and contacted their lawmakers. This bill will ensure that wetlands are safeguarded even in the face of federal regulatory uncertainty. It is the House version of Senate SB3669, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Progress on Pesticides

Pesticides can be useful to control pests and invasive species. However, we continue to see that herbicide drift onto non-target sites is a massive problem. IEC worked with Prairie Rivers, one of our partners, to introduce multiple bills to address how certain pesticides and their widespread effects impact our environment. This week, Rep. Maura Hirschauer passed HB5018 out of committee, a bill that would increase the penalties for tree damage due to pesticide drift. IEC’s Eliot Clay testified in support of the legislation.

Continuing Sustainability Practices

Composting and rainwater collection are two small ways to practice at-home sustainability, but many HOAs can ban these practices. This week, Rep. Harry Benton passed HB4619 out of committee, a bill that would prohibit HOAs from banning the installation of rainwater collection or composting systems.

University of Illinois Students

A large group of bright-eyed university students from the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joined us this week to find their legislators and promote environmental bills that they are passionate about. One bill, HB5268, would require the University to follow through with its commitment to divest the University of Illinois System and the UI Foundation from the fossil fuel industry. While the students’ bill has not been heard in committee yet, they continue to increase awareness of the issue in the General Assembly.

The Year of Water

Sen. Laura Ellman has dubbed 2024 “The Year of Water” because water, one of our most valuable resources, is in danger on multiple fronts. Senators Ellman, Fine, Johnson, and Simmons held a press conference on water quality, complete with the required water puns! One of the bills highlighted is our PFAS Products Ban SB2705, which would reduce some of the common ways the public and our waters are exposed to PFAS.

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IEC Legislative Updates

2024 Environmental Legislative Update

Legislators are getting to business this session, and pieces of the Illinois Environmental Legislative Agenda are starting to move through the legislative process.