Law Alert

This Law Alert Blog allows the IFA to post information about pending Illinois legislation that affects forestry or forest landowners.  Each bill will have its own posting, then, by adding comments to the post, we can keep individuals informed of the each bill's status and recommended actions. This means that only this website's administrators will be allowed to post comments to this blog, while everyone will be able to read all posts and comments.  Otherwise, the status updates for each bill might get buried in user comments.


  • 05/22/2011 10:36 AM | Anonymous
    Summary: HB 0025 amends the Timber Buyers Licensing Act by no longer requiring timber buyers to collect a fee based on 4% of the value of the timber purchased at the time of sale.

    Description:  The unintended consequences of eliminating the timber harvest fee is that Illinois DNR Forestry Cost Share programs would disappear.  These programs are funded solely through the timber harvest fee.  The harvest fees are cycled back to forest landowners who perform approved practices to their timber under an approved forest management plan.  In addition, the funds generated by this fee are the only support for the Illinois Forest Development Council whose mission is to advance and promote the forest industry in Illinois.

    Notes:

    1) Landowners who harvest their timber and follow up with a forestry practice after the trees are cut are eligible to receive ALL of their 4% harvest fee back

    2) Expenditures from these funds benefit small businesses through the employment of vendors and professional foresters in the private sector. Over the past 8 years $2.6 million dollars have been expended from this fund to stimulate this industry and improve the forests of the state through projects on private lands

    3) Currently there are over 11,000 landowners with 636,000 acres of forest land eligible for funding that would be impacted with a loss of this funding. A landowner must have an approved forestry plan by the IDNR in order to be eligible

    4) Biologically our forests are an invaluable asset. Sixty one percent of the native plants and 75% of the wildlife depend upon forests for their existence. Threats from invasive and exotic species impair the future quality and growth of these forests. Funds provided through this source are important in preventing forest degradation

    5) These funds provide financial assistance to landowners throughout the state for developing forest management plans and providing guidance in prioritizing and carrying out important forestry practices on their lands. Loss of this funding will prevent plans from being written and will inhibit landowners from making investments in their forest land for the future benefit of all Illinois residents

    6) A small portion of these funds [9.8% - 5 yr avg.] allow the IL Forestry Development Council to meet its statutory obligation to study, evaluate and report to the General Assembly on the state of the Illinois’ forest resources and forest industry. The Council also serves as an advisory body to the IDNR and through that function helps meet a requirement needed to receive federal funding from the US Forest Service

    IFA Position: The Illinois Forestry Association opposes HB0025.
  • 05/11/2011 8:56 PM | Anonymous
    Summary: This bill would allow landowners to mark their boundaries with stripes of purple paint in lieu of fencing or "No Trespassing" signs.  Not only would this be less expensive and easier, but trees would not be damaged from nails holding signs.  The purple stripes would be a legal warning to anyone that trespassing is not allowed.

    Description:

    The current version of this bill provides -

    1) Landowners can still use “No Trespassing” signs

    2) As an alternative to signs, landowners can mark trees or posts to indicate their property boundaries

    3) Trees are marked with a vertical line at least 8 inches long and between 3 and 5 feet off the ground with no more than 100 feet between marked trees (the side of the tree facing away from the property is marked)

    4) Posts are marked by painting the top two inches which must be between 3 and 5 feet off the ground with no more than 36 feet between posts

    5) Landowners must obtain agreement of their neighbors if using this post method, because the post’s painted top is visible from both sides of the boundary (neighbor’s agreement is not needed if marking trees)

    5) Landowners using purple paint must also post a sign indicating their use of this method at the main entrance to their property

    6) Marking property boundaries with purple paint constitutes a valid warning against trespassing and those violating such marked boundaries can be prosecuted

    6) The Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources are charged with educating the public about provisions of the law, when passed, including preparing a brochure describing the requirements.

    Notes:

    There is no standard set for this paint in the law, but I would assume the IDNR will issue standards similar to those in use in Missouri and Arkansas where the law has been successfully implemented.  In those states, one can purchase the applicable purple paint in a hardware store.

    A few state senators’ objections to the bill will lead to an amendment being added in the House that makes the law applicable only in rural areas.  How the House will define rural areas is unclear at this time. 

    IFA Position

    The IFA board favors this legislation because, as has been found in other states with a similar law, signs can be removed by trespassers, while the painted markings are difficult to erase.  Also, the purple paint is cheaper and easier to use than signs.  Lastly, unless you have fence posts, nailing signs to trees is not recommended and painting the bark does far less damage.
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