IFB considers Springfield session 'successful'

Priority bills passed, concern areas avoided and a budget signed.

By DeLoss Jahnke

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It’s rare to review the state legislature’s work in early June. Sessions often go deep into the month, and in recent years, budget issues led to finger pointing and partisanship.

Not in 2018.

Statehouse business concluded just days after Memorial Day this year, leaving stacks of legislation on the governor’s desk for signature. This included a budget passed convincingly by both chambers and already signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“All in all it was, I think, a very successful year for us,” said Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodities. “A lot of our ag issues … both things we were able to get passed and some other things that we were able to make go away that would not have been good for Illinois agriculture.”

Related: Bill would ease harvest transportation. Read more here.

Part of this year’s success came from S. 3005 not coming to the floor for a vote. That state senate bill would have allowed any person who feels adversely affected by a state agency decision to bring a lawsuit. Illinois Farm Bureau was one of many organizations concerned about its potential ramifications.

“Senator (Kwame) Raoul had introduced a bill that in essence would give standing to anyone to issue suit against a state agency if they felt that a rule or siting or permit issued did not meet the criteria or wasn’t done properly,” Gebhards said. “So this would have opened us up to a tremendous amount of litigation for our farmers and our livestock producers. We were extremely concerned about this bill.”

Gebhards says IFB worked with Raoul and other interested parties to find a different approach. He added that IFB and other livestock groups work regularly with environmental groups on livestock sitings and operations.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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