Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB2781
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Full Text of SB2781  103rd General Assembly


Sen. Rachel Ventura

Filed: 2/29/2024





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 2781 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Act.
6    Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly finds it is in
7the interest of the State to encourage natural solutions as
8one component of the State's efforts to reduce and remediate
9the impacts of climate change. Natural solutions must include
10planting native trees and other vegetation demonstrated to
11reduce carbon dioxide. To accomplish this purpose, the State
12must offer assistance to other units of local government that
13are taking steps to fight climate change by restoring forests,
14wetlands, prairies, and other landscapes that are native to
15Illinois and that are demonstrated to have a positive
16environmental impact.



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1    Section 10. State goal. It is the goal of the State that
2there be no overall net loss of the State's existing forest,
3prairie, or wetland acres or their functional value due to
4State-supported activities. Further, the State and units of
5local government shall preserve, enhance, and create forests,
6prairies, and wetlands where practical in order to mitigate
7the impact of climate change and reduce carbon dioxide from
8the atmosphere.
9    Section 15. Receipt of federal moneys. The Department of
10Natural Resources may receive federal moneys to administer a
11Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
12    Section 20. Establishment of the Healthy Forests,
13Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program.
14    (a) The Department of Natural Resources, subject to
15appropriation, shall establish and administer a Healthy
16Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program to restore
17degraded forest lands and native prairies and to promote the
18growth of native vegetation that removes carbon dioxide from
19the atmosphere and helps mitigate the impact of climate
21    (b) Entities that may apply to participate in the Healthy
22Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program include:
23        (1) State agencies and units of local government,



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1    including, but not limited to, municipalities, townships,
2    counties, forest preserves, and park districts;
3        (2) conservation land trusts;
4        (3) not-for-profit entities with conservation
5    missions, including, but not limited to, climate change
6    mitigation, preservation of natural lands, and
7    conservation of the State's natural resources; and
8        (4) other entities that, because of their missions,
9    are determined by the Department to be eligible recipients
10    of the grants under this Act.
11    (c) At least 75% of the moneys appropriated for the
12Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program shall be
13awarded to the State agencies, units of local government, land
14trusts, and other entities that the Department determines are
15eligible for a grant under this Section. The Department may
16use an amount not to exceed 23% of the moneys appropriated for
17the Program for the purposes of restoring degraded forest
18lands and native prairies and to promote the growth of native
19vegetation that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
20help mitigate the impact of climate change. The Department may
21use an amount not to exceed 2% of the moneys appropriated for
22the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Program for
23administrative costs associated with the Program.
24    (d) The Department shall adopt any rules necessary for the
25implementation of this Act, including rules establishing
26requirements and timeframes for the submission of grant



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1applications by entities that are authorized to apply to
2participate in the Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies
3Grant Program.
4    (e) Grants provided under this Act may be used by eligible
5entities for the purpose of:
6        (1) matching funds for federal or private dollars for
7    projects that forward the goal of climate change
8    mitigation through promotion of the management, planting,
9    maintaining, and preserving of native grasses, plants, and
10    trees;
11        (2) financing projects along roadways and in parks and
12    forest preserves on public or private lands to plant
13    native trees and prairie grasses demonstrated to absorb
14    carbon;
15        (3) financing projects that promote the stewardship of
16    existing public and private urban forests and natural
17    lands, including the removal of invasive or nonnative
18    plant species;
19        (4) funding regional teams tasked with planting native
20    prairie grasses and trees, prescribed burning for the
21    maintenance of natural lands, removing invasive plant
22    species, and educational outreach; and
23        (5) promoting education and marketing regarding local
24    projects or steps community members may take to promote
25    the growth of native vegetation that removes carbon
26    dioxide from the atmosphere.



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1    Section 25. Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant
2Fund. The Healthy Forest, Wetlands, and Prairies Grant Fund
3shall be administered by the Department of Natural Resources.
4The Fund may receive moneys appropriated by the General
5Assembly or from the federal government, private donations, or
6any other legal source. Subject to the limitations in
7subsection (c) of Section 20 of this Act, moneys in the Fund
8shall be used by the Department for the purpose of providing
9grant assistance in accordance with this Act and for the
10purpose of administering the grant program established under
11this Act.
12    Section 90. The Department of Natural Resources Act is
13amended by changing Section 1-15 as follows:
14    (20 ILCS 801/1-15)
15    Sec. 1-15. General powers and duties.
16    (a) It shall be the duty of the Department to investigate
17practical problems, implement studies, conduct research and
18provide assistance, information and data relating to the
19technology and administration of the natural history,
20entomology, zoology, and botany of this State; the geology and
21natural resources of this State; the water and atmospheric
22resources of this State; and the archeological and cultural
23history of this State.



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1    (b) The Department (i) shall obtain, store, and process
2relevant data; recommend technological, administrative, and
3legislative changes and developments; cooperate with other
4federal, state, and local governmental research agencies,
5facilities, or institutes in the selection of projects for
6study; cooperate with the Board of Higher Education and with
7the public and private colleges and universities in this State
8in developing relevant interdisciplinary approaches to
9problems; and evaluate curricula at all levels of education
10and provide assistance to instructors and (ii) may sponsor an
11annual conference of leaders in government, industry, health,
12and education to evaluate the state of this State's
13environment and natural resources.
14    (c) The Director, in accordance with the Personnel Code,
15shall employ such personnel, provide such facilities, and
16contract for such outside services as may be necessary to
17carry out the purposes of the Department. Maximum use shall be
18made of existing federal and state agencies, facilities, and
19personnel in conducting research under this Act.
20    (c-5) The Department may use the services of, and enter
21into necessary agreements with, outside entities for the
22purpose of evaluating grant applications and for the purpose
23of administering or monitoring compliance with grant
24agreements. Contracts under this subsection shall not exceed 5
252 years, without an executed extension in length.
26    (d) In addition to its other powers, the Department has



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1the following powers:
2        (1) To obtain, store, process, and provide data and
3    information related to the powers and duties of the
4    Department under this Act. This subdivision (d)(1) does
5    not give authority to the Department to require reports
6    from nongovernmental sources or entities.
7        (2) To cooperate with and support the Illinois Science
8    and Technology Advisory Committee and the Illinois
9    Coalition for the purpose of facilitating the effective
10    operations and activities of such entities. Support may
11    include, but need not be limited to, providing space for
12    the operations of the Committee and the Illinois
13    Coalition.
14    (e) The Department is authorized to make grants to local
15not-for-profit organizations for the purposes of development,
16management, maintenance, and study of wetland areas, forests,
17prairies, and other landscapes demonstrated to reduce the
18impact of climate change.
19    (f) The Department has the authority to accept, receive
20and administer on behalf of the State any gifts, bequests,
21donations, income from property rental and endowments. Any
22such funds received by the Department shall be deposited into
23the DNR Special Projects Fund, a trust fund in the State
24treasury, and used for the purposes of this Act or, when
25appropriate, for such purposes and under such restrictions,
26terms and conditions as are predetermined by the donor or



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1grantor of such funds or property. Any accrued interest from
2money deposited into the DNR Special Projects Fund shall be
3reinvested into the Fund and used in the same manner as the
4principal. The Director shall maintain records which account
5for and assure that restricted funds or property are disbursed
6or used pursuant to the restrictions, terms or conditions of
7the donor.
8    (g) The Department shall recognize, preserve, and promote
9our special heritage of recreational hunting and trapping by
10providing opportunities to hunt and trap in accordance with
11the Wildlife Code.
12    (h) Within 5 years after the effective date of this
13amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, the Department
14shall fly a United States Flag, an Illinois flag, and a POW/MIA
15flag at all State parks. Donations may be made by groups and
16individuals to the DNR Special Projects Fund for costs related
17to the implementation of this subsection.
18(Source: P.A. 102-388, eff. 1-1-22; 102-699, eff. 4-19-22;
19103-363, eff. 7-28-23.)
20    Section 95. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
21Section 5.1015 as follows:
22    (30 ILCS 105/5.1015 new)
23    Sec. 5.1015. The Healthy Forests, Wetlands, and Prairies
24Grant Fund.".