The New Year marks the start of several new beginnings in Illinois government, including a new governor and general assembly. Meanwhile, potential rules have been drafted for farmers to grow industrial hemp that will soon be reviewed by the legislature.
Department of Ag releases draft rules for industrial hemp production
Illinois has moved another step forward toward allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp, which is used to make things like rope and cloth. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has now released draft rules for the program, which include a $100 fee to apply for a license to grow, along with a $1000 fee for the actual license. According to the Illinois Department of agriculture, industrial hemp will be tested for THC levels to make sure it contains less than 0.3% of the compound.
The rules now have to be approved by the legislative branch through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).
"This program is an important step toward offering our farmers a choice in crops that many other states already have," said State Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo), a member of JCAR. "I look forward to reviewing these draft rules to make sure our farmers are able to take advantage of this program."
101st General Assembly to be sworn in on Wednesday
The 100th Illinois General Assembly will come to an end next week, as the new and continuing members of the Senate and House will be sworn in on January 9th as the 101st General Assembly.
A new legislature is sworn in every two years with existing outstanding bills expiring and the legislative process starting over for issues. Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker will be sworn in on January 14th, and is scheduled to give his first budget address on January 20th.
"Lame Duck" General Assembly scheduled to meet
The Illinois Senate and House are both scheduled to meet, possibly for parts of two days, before the 101st General Assembly is sworn in. Lawmakers who are retiring at the end of their current term, along with those who were defeated in November, will have the opportunity to vote on potentially controversial measures. In the past, "Lame Duck" legislatures have approved issues including tax hikes.
"I have never been supportive of the idea of lawmakers casting votes on controversial and possibly unpopular ideas after they have been voted out by the people of their districts," said Senator Schimpf. "I believe we should honor the will of the voters. I will be working to block any controversial lame-duck bills that would hurt the families of the 58th Senate District."