By Laurie Casey
It’s easy to get discouraged by anti-environment action happening on the federal level…but our state government is actually making a lot of progress in growing our Illinois clean energy industry, protecting our state wildlife, shaping our expanding local food industry and much more. Here in Illinois, there’s actually a lot to feel hopeful about. You can get a snapshot of legislative action in a newly published 2017 Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates individual Illinois state legislators on their environmental voting records. The Scorecard is created by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), a non-partisan organization promoting sound policies and environmental laws in Springfield.
Three of our state representatives received 100% ratings: Representative LaShawn Ford, Representative Camille Lilly, and Representative Chris Welch.
Some notable bills that came before the Illinois General Assembly include:
HB2831: The Property Assessed Clean Energy Act allows local governments to create and finance their own clean energy programs.
HB685 & HB2568: These bills support monarch butterflies by prohibiting counties and municipalities from classifying milkweed as a noxious weed and by designating milkweed as the official wildflower of Illinois.
HB3399: This bill bans or limits the hunting and trapping of bobcats across the state to encourage healthy, functioning ecosystems.
HB3063: The Food Freedom Act removes restrictions on non-hazardous foods in order to expand the cottage food industry in our state.
HR490: The Climate Alliance Resolution urges Governor Rauner to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of states and territories committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change objectives.
Not all of these are law yet, but many of these passed overwhelmingly and with bipartisan support.
See the complete 2017 Environmental Scorecard at: http://ilenviro.org/scorecard
Take a moment to call, email, or tag your state representative and senator in social media on their stellar environmental voting records. If they didn’t achieve a 100% score, thank them for their votes and ask them to do more in 2018. Find their contact information at: http://www.ilga.gov/
At ilenviro.org, sign up for the IEC’s EnviroBulletin to receive updates on environmental bills during legislative sessions, and ask your representative and senator to vote according to IEC recommendations.