Senate Bill 2298, the Industrial Hemp Act, was just signed into law by Governor Rauner. This Act adds Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) was a co-sponsor of the bill and stated, “Illinois farmers will now be able to compete with neighboring states and the numerous other states that allow for cultivation of this crop. If we look internationally, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity and the market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products." Rep. Bourne added, “The tide is turning in favor of this industry and I look forward to Illinois once again being the leading producer of this crop.” In the early 1900’s Illinois was a national leader in production of hemp.

The Industrial Hemp Act, effective immediately, creates a state licensure program through the Department of Agriculture that enables those who desire to grow the crop to do so. The state Department of Agriculture is tasked with establishing rules for THC-level testing of industrial hemp crops.

“Legalizing the farming of industrial hemp just makes good sense,” Rauner said. “Roughly 38 states — including our neighbors in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee — have allowed or are considering allowing cultivation of this crop for commercial, research or pilot programs. Our farmers should have this option as well. This new state licensure program begins that process.”

Richard Guebert Jr., President of the Illinois Farm Bureau stated, “Illinois Farm Bureau policy, developed by our grassroots members, has long supported the production, processing, and utilization of industrial hemp. Illinois farmers will now have new opportunities to diversify their farms by growing this versatile crop.”

Recent available market reports indicate that the estimated gross value of hemp production per acre is about $21,000 from seeds and $12,500 from stalks. This data comes from the Congressional Research Service and was publish in June of 2018.

 
State Representative Avery Bourne co-sponsored legislation that asks the Department of Public Health to develop and distribute information on the need for bone marrow donation and on how to join the bone marrow donation registry. Senate Bill 3062 directs the Illinois Department of Public Health to promote the “Be The Match” database which helps cancer patients, and others in need, find the ideal match for blood stem cell donors- giving them hope for a cure. 
 
Representative Bourne, who herself is on the bone marrow registry, stated, “Bone marrow donors are needed all across the United States. If you meet the guidelines, you can easily sign up as a potential donor and take the necessary steps to be on the registry.” Bourne added, “The goal of this new law is to get more people registered, so more lives can be saved.”
 
Governor Rauner recently signed this legislation into law after it passed the Illinois House and Senate unanimously during the legislative session.
 
“Be the Match” is a program operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping patients get life-saving bone marrow transplants. They educate the public on bone marrow donations, including information on how to join a bone marrow registry, the need for donations, and patient populations that would benefit from bone marrow donations.
You are eligible to donate if you live in the United States, meet health guidelines, and are willing to donate to any patient in need. If you are between the ages of 18-44, patients especially need you because research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.

The steps to saving a life are easy. You’ll need to register online at bethematch.org; you’ll receive a cheek swab kit in the mail; swab your cheek and return the kit; be matched with an individual in need; and then donate. The process is simple, takes very little time, and can potentially make a big impact.
Legislation aimed at reducing the suicide rate among veterans was signed into law by Governor Rauner recently. This bill, House Bill 4212, co-sponsored by State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), adds veterans who are suffering a physical or mental health condition to an alert system that immediately notifies law enforcement and the public when a person goes missing.
 
HB 4212, which passed unanimously out of the Illinois House and Senate, will provide a mechanism for law enforcement to immediately respond to a missing veteran or active duty military. Under this legislation, law enforcement can issue a Silver Alert for that individual. Like an Amber alert, the public will be notified in an effort to quickly locate a missing veteran and perhaps save a life.

“In an attempt to reduce the suicide rate among veterans, our legislation recognizes this public health issue and adds veterans and active duty members suffering a physical or mental health condition to the Missing Persons Identification Act.” said Representative Bourne. “Men and women in uniform make great sacrifices for our country in our time of need. With this legislation, our state can reach out and help them in their time of need.”

If you are a veteran in crisis or are concerned about one please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

House Bill 4783, which merges two youth Department of Natural Resources issued licenses, was recently signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner. The new law, sponsored by Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), combines the previously separate youth hunting and trapping licenses. This bill was an initiative of the DNR to cut red tape and streamline the licensing process for those under 18 years of age in the state.
 
Representative Bourne stated, “This new law will enable young hunters to obtain and carry only one license. They are able to hunt or trap under it while supervised by an adult who is 21 years of age or older who will mentor them, and teach them the proper techniques and safety measures to trap or hunt.” Rep. Bourne added that if a youth has a valid certificate of competency for hunting or trapping approved by the Department of Natural Resources, he or she is exempt from these supervision requirements.
 
Under the new law the fee for a Youth Hunting and Trapping License is $7. To learn more about hunting and trapping or to apply for a license, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov.