Showing posts with label outdoor legislation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoor legislation. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

IDNR Advisory Board Violates Open Meetings Act


NRAB Board Meeting
Today political parties differ on nearly every issue, but there is one thing that is more American than anything. It is the idea that citizens can get involved in their government. And while these political differences have divided our country, we have to remember to hold our representatives and those that work on behalf of the people accountable for their actions or lack of, regardless of political party.

As many of you know, I have been involved with the IDNR since Director Miller under Governor Quinn and after attending these meetings over several years I have seen a lack of transparency and violations of the Open Meetings Act. This has been an ongoing issue with this board. According to the minutes from January 2018, George Sisk, Legal Counsel for DNR stated when discussing another possible Open Meetings Act violtion that, “The Open Meeting Act’s main purpose is to provide transparency when it comes to governmental operations and we must error on the side of caution when it comes to complying with OMA.”

I am by no means, a lawyer, a scholar, or a politician, I am a citizen of Illinois, a hunter, angler and outdoor enthusiasts. I started Capitol Outdoors to make sure that people like you had the insight and transparency of their government.

I am here to hold this board accountable for what I believe is a continued violation of the Open Meetings Act.

According to Section 2.02 (a) of the Open Meetings Act:
An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting. A public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall also post on its website the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body of that public body.
As of 7:47 am this morning the NRAB website was not updated with today’s agenda. I believe this is a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act. This is not the first time that this has happened and as a member of the public how am I supposed to prepare to educate my audience of issues pertaining to this quarter’s meeting when I have no idea what is on the agenda. And in all the meetings I have attended, I have never once received a printed copy of the agenda so this time wouldn’t be any different.




Another issue related to the Open Meetings act are the minutes.

The only record that the general public has been able to see related to the activity of this advisory board over the last year has been the recordings and accounts by Capitol Outdoors. As you can see from the image above, the last minutes posted were from July 30, 2018.

According to Section 2.06 (b) of the Open Meetings Act:
The minutes of meetings open to the public shall be available for public inspection within 10 days after the approval of such minutes by the public body. Beginning July 1, 2006, at the time it complies with the other requirements of this subsection, a public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall post the minutes of a regular meeting of its governing body open to the public on the public body's website within 10 days after the approval of the minutes by the public body.
I advise this board to get their head out of the gutter, and start holding themselves accountable.  We must ask the question, is the IDNR and this board Communicating, Collaborating and Connecting with the public or is it business as usual?

Tune in to today’s NRAB meeting via our FB page unfortunately we don't know what will be discussed due to lack of agenda.

If you are unfamiliar with NRAB you can read a previous article of ours explaining the purpose of the board.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Illinois Statewide Park Entrance Fees On The Horizon

This morning the Senate Environment Committee had a hearing on SB 1310. Senator Rezin introduced this piece of legislation to begin implementing a parking fee for Starved Rock State Park. This state park is ranked 11th in the nation and the local area has seen an increase in the number of visitors. LaSalle County residents are struggling with the over 3 million visitors they see each year and the state park maintenance is deteriorating.
Photo Credit EnjoyIllinois.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Governor Pritzker's Proposed Budget for Department of Natural Resources

Today Governor Pritzker released his FY20 proposed operating budget for the DNR. You can find it on page 256 of the Proposed Operating Budget. An operating budget is where 'appropriations are for consumable goods and services such as salaries and benefits, commodities, utilities, and professional services that are purchased and used during any one fiscal year.

The Governor’s recommended FY20 budget supports a Conservation Police Officer trainee class of 20 to help with the reduction due to retirement.


The proposed budget fully funds historic sites and preservation operations at last year's levels and maintains operations of all state parks and campgrounds.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Voicing Your Opinion / Filing A Witness Slip in the Illinois General Assembly

There are many bills that get filed in the House and Senate any given General Assembly and some of these bills get scheduled for hearings where legislators vote on them.  What can you do if you have an opinion on a bill?  Besides, reaching out to your legislator or the bill's sponsor you can voice your opinion via a witness slip when a bill goes to a committee for a hearing.

What is a witness slip?


  • Witness Slip is a way for a person or group’s position to be recorded on a particular bill. 
  • Witness slips can be filed by individuals on behalf of themselves or organizations. 
  • Once a bill gets scheduled for a hearing in either the House or Senate, a witness slip can be filed. 

Witness can be filed electronically via the Illinois General Assembly website.  

Capitol Outdoors wants you, the hunter, angler or outdoor enthusiast to know exactly how to be involved in your government.  Below, we will walk you through the exact steps on how to file a witness slip.  You can do this on any bill that you choose, from the comfort of your own home. 

1. Go to www.ilga.gov &
Click on GA Dashboard



Friday, February 15, 2019

Constitutional Amendment Guaranteeing the Right to Hunt & Fish Filed in Illinois

Each year thousands of bills and resolutions get filed in Illinois to become law.  Most of these bills get stuck in committee and never really gain any traction.  Bills, however, that have legislator support, constituent support or are overall popular, usually end up seeing movement.  However, popularity doesn't always stem from within the state and outside influence can also start the avalanche of support for a particular bill.  Let's take a look at one of the most recent House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Illinois 100th General Assembly Spring Session Wrap-up // Hunting and Fishing Legislation


Both the House and Senate have concluded their Spring Session.  Below you will find a breakdown of all bills that have passed both chambers and now move onto the Governor.  Once the Governor receives each piece of legislation, he will have 60 days to take action; either sign or veto each respected piece of legislation.  We will keep you updated as this happens.

Both the House and Senate will return for Veto Session on November 13th.

BUDGET Update

The FY19 budget (HB 109) and budget implementation bill were passed by both the House and Senate.  In the past years of the Rauner Administration, you may have heard a lot of conversation surrounding the budget on news broadcast and other avenues, however this year was different, as legislators and staff kept much of the proceedings behind closed doors. The process went seemingly smooth as the election draws near.

The following are some of the highlights of the budget related to the DNR:
  • This budget fully funds the Capital Budget which includes but is not limited to infrastructure rehabilitation and other grant programs. 
  • The Department of Natural Resources operating budget stays the same. 
    • Does not appear to be any new funding for Conservation Police
  • According to the bill, unexpended appropriation from FY18 will be reappropriated to the Office of Resource Conservation. 
    • 'The sum of $294,774, or so much thereof as may be necessary and remains unexpended at the close of business on June 30, 2017, from appropriations heretofore made in Article 86, Section 5 of Public Act 99-0524, is reappropriated from the Wildlife and Fish Fund to the  Department of Natural Resources for ordinary and contingent expenses of Resource Conservation.

  • Many have been wondering how the Supplemental Deer Feeding Study will be funded.  Since the Prairie Research Institute is conducting the study, the appropriation will most like come from their budget.  
    • The sum of $14,803,100, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois for costs and expenses related to or in support of the Prairie Research Institute, in accordance with Public Act 95-0728. 
If any of this is confusing please don't worry, the IDNR budget is broken down into dozen of funds and broken down again into other appropriations.  As Capitol Outdoors learns more we will continue to update you.
 
The following bills are now headed to the Governor:

HB 4231 - Blaze Pink Clothing
  • Authorizes certain hunters to wear solid blaze pink colored clothing (in addition to blaze orange colored clothing).
HB 4783 - Youth Hunt/Trap
  • Amends the Wildlife Code to provide a universal definition of youth to be "under 18" for consistency when it comes to youth hunting programs.
HB 5317 - Poached Deer Restitution Value 
  • Increases the restitution that the DNR will receive when someone illegally takes wildlife.  
    • For example: 
      • Whitetail Deer- increase from $250 to $1000
      • Trumpeter Swan - increase from $250 to $1000
      • Eagle - increase from $500 to $1000
      • Wild Turkey - increase from $250 to $500
HB 5440 - Youth Hunting
  • Provides the the fee for resident and non-resident youth archery deer permit shall be the same. 
    • For example, out of state family under the age of 18 would be able to hunt for the same cost as a resident youth of the State of Illinois. 
HB 5692 - River Otter Limit
  • By deleting the provision that states that the River Otter limit should not exceed five per season, the DNR is able to better manage the population and change the River Otter limit according to the biologists data. 
HB 5693 - Trapping Tags 
  • Currently trappers are required to put their name and address on their traps.  This bill would allow trappers to use their DNR Customer # instead for privacy reasons. 

Capitol Outdoors

SB 2295 - Electronic Fishing Licenses
  • Defines "fishing license" and "combination license" as an electronic or physical copy. 
SB 2493 - Deer Feed
  • This bill provides that the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute shall, subject to appropriation and in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, conduct a study for a period of at least five years on the health and social effects of supplemental deer feeding on the wild deer population outside of any Illinois deer hunting season and whether supplemental deer feeding affects the risk of disease transmission in the deer population.
As always please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.