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Friday, March 17, 2017

Recap: Illinois Planners Legislative Action Day 2017

Each year, the Illinois division of the American Planning Association organizes an annual legislative action day to reach out to state legislators on important planning issues.  This year's event occurred on March 14, 2017. Illinois planning professionals from around the state assembled in Springfield for APA Illinois’ third annual Planners’ Legislative Action Day (#PLAD17). 

The #PLAD17 attendees started their day over breakfast and enjoyed a lively and engaging discussion with Tom Henderson, Executive Director of the Illinois Tax Increment Association, on the importance of legislative advocacy by experts such as planners on matters involving the planning profession, practice, economic development, and land use regulatory powers. We also discussed how to approach your legislators to effectively make your concerns known about legislation that affects the planning profession and practice in Illinois. Finally, ideas were shared about how to increase APA Illinois’ profile in Springfield and become a recognized asset for legislators concerned about planning and development in Illinois.

#PLAD17 attendees toured the Capitol, sat in on both House and Senate floor sessions, attended committee meetings, and met with legislators to discuss a set of legislative priorities. Among these priorities were bills concerning: 

  •  Municipal annexation powers;
  •  Urban agricultural zones;
  •  Regional storm water management;
  • Rehabilitation and revitalization tax credits; and
  • Small wireless facilities deployment on public rights of way and other properties.
Details on the #PLAD17 legislative priorities can be found here.

The day was capped off by our End of the Day Reception at Arlington’s. Attendees shared their experiences and thoughts on next year’s Planners Legislative Action Day. We were also treated to a surprise visitor, Rep. Al Riley (D-38th Dist.). Rep. Riley is a certified professional planner and had many ideas on how the Chapter can become a resource for legislators and had very strong opinions, shared by the attendees, on the importance of Illinois planners making their voices heard in Springfield. Rep. Riley pointed out that planners occupy a very important and prominent role in the economic vitality of Illinois; they are, therefore, essential voices, in state policy-making concerning planning and development.

The APA Illinois Legislative Committee will be working over the balance of 2017 to:
  • Raise awareness of legislative matters,
  • Use data to better target legislative action messages to membership, and
  • Educate membership on the importance of legislative advocacy, and
  • Provide recommendations on how members can get more involved in a way that balances legislative advocacy and responsibilities to their communities.

As always, if you are interested in becoming involved with the Legislative Committee, have ideas on legislative initiatives or priorities, or simply have questions about the legislative process, including how you can make a difference, do not hesitate to contact any member of the Legislative Committee, including Ancel Glink's very own David Silverman.

Post Authored by David Silverman, Ancel Glink


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