Gov. Pat Quinn finally turned SB2959 into law on June 13, modifying the regulations for harvesting honey for most non-commercial beekeepers in the State, and also helped in promoting honey and pollination throughout the State of Illinois. This “Honey Bill” provides much needed relief in the overly stringent regulation and oversight by the IDPH that that has been an artificial impediment to most beekeepers in the State. This benefits those beekeepers who produce or sell less than 500 gallons of honey in Illinois. The law did not change the regulations for larger honey producers. The new law, designated as Public Act 96-1028, will go into effect on January 1, 2011.
Using the voice of the members of the Illinois State Beekeeper's Association members, with support from others - including help from the Illinois Farm Bureau, this large community established the widespread support needed to bring the proposal forth and ultimately for it to pass both the the State House and Senate. At the start two bills, one in each legislative branch, were condensed to one that went on to win the overwhelming support throughout the legislature.
Once the bill was sent along to the Governor the campaign continued its strength, with the help from the same community, ultimately leading to the Governor's signature on this landmark legislation.
We extend a special thanks to Mike Sabo (and his daughter Astrid!) for his help in bringing this important piece of legislature into law. We also wish to thank the Farm Bureau for its support as well as all of the beekeepers who contacted their local legislators, the governor and other public officials to urge passage of this legislation. Let's please not forget to send a "thank you" note to those who helped us.