Eye On Illinois: State parks won’t be able to buy single-use food plastics

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To continue a short series examining laws taking effect Jan. 1, we switch over to legislation that started in the state Senate with a hat-tip to reader R.K., who flagged Senate Bill 1915, which amends the Illinois Procurement Code as it relates to food service.

State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, introduced the proposal in February 2021. It didn’t get traction until earlier this year, and went through four amendments before the Senate approved 32-13 in February and the state House vote 66-44-2 in March.

Starting next week – for contracts taking effect in 2024 – vendors won’t be able to offer single-use plastics for food service items at state parks and natural areas in favor of recyclable or compostable materials. Plastic straws are sill OK, though the amendment’s language suggest lawmakers would prefer a different option whenever possible.

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland

The final version has one major notable change from Morrison’s original, as it no longer applies to procurement of Illinois State Fair supplies.

“We must work together to do all we can to keep our parks clean,” Morrison said in June after the governor signed her bill. “By implementing more biodegradable and reusable alternatives to plastic, we can put our communities on a path toward sustainability.”

It’s a long path. The Department of Natural Resources oversees quite a few properties, but selling vittles at parks and natural areas is a fraction of the overall work, and represents an even smaller percentage of Illinois’ entire public and private food service infrastructure.

Yet we could eventually revisit SB 1915 as domino one.

“Rather than accept the public act as endpoint,” R.K. writes, “how about continue the prohibition or authority to do so, if accepted, at local park districts or along that lakefront so famous in a big city of Illinois?”

ON THIS DAY: The 27th governor of Illinois, Louis Lincoln Emmerson, was born Dec. 27, 1863, in Albion. Twenty years later he moved to Mount Vernon where we was a businessman for nearly three decades before a failed bid to become state treasurer in 1912. Undaunted, he ran for secretary of state in 1916, held that office for a dozen years and in 1928 mounted a successful primary challenge against Len Small, a fellow Republican and the incumbent governor.

Emmerson served only one term and decided to leave politics, a reasonable choice given he was almost 70 years old and the country was in the early stages of the Great Depression, although at least Al Capone had been sent to federal prison. Emmerson’s term saw the state enact its first motor fuel tax and unemployment compensation, two issues that made plenty of Statehouse news in 2022, almost a century later, with no signs of fading into the background.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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December 27, 2022 at 05:07AM

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