PONTIAC (WEEK) — Keagan Hall and Emilie Collins spent their senior year at Pontiac High School differently. They were writing legislation.
That legislation is now House Bill 3928. The bill creates a committee that includes farmers, scientists, and state officials.
“Why not make a committee and get people together, that’s really what the first step doing anything worthwhile, is getting people to talk to each other, and that’s kind of what the whole spirit of our bill is about,” said Collins.
That committee’s goal will be to achieve 30 by 30, protect 30 percent of Illinois’ land and water by 2030.
“30 percent is the ideal number in order to help mitigate the climate crisis and help protect biodiversity in the world,” said Collins.
As one may expect, crafting the bill was a major undertaking.
“We emailed so many people, we emailed different senators and representatives being like ‘this is what 30 by 30 is and we would really like your support’. So we just started small and got to know more people,” said Hall.
The two were able to get bipartisan support and get their bill passed by the Illinois House of Representatives. Paul Ritter is their ecology teacher.
“These guys worked with people to create a bill, not ‘hey go create a bill for us’, they created it, then they changed it and then they changed it again, then they talked to people and changed it again,” said Ritter.
Keagan and Emilie will testify and discuss their bill before a senate committee on Thursday. The senate is expected to vote on the bill before the end of the month. Both are confident it will pass.
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