The APA-IL conducted its second annual Planners Legislative Action Day (PLAD), known by its social media hashtag: #PLAD16. The event drew almost double the amount of people over the first PLAD held in March 2015 and included an expanded lineup of events for participants. The day started off promptly at 9AM at the Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree Hotel in Springfield, just blocks from the Capitol. Over breakfast, the APA-IL Legislative Committee Chair, David Silverman, AICP, outlined the day’s events and legislative priorities identified by the Legislative Committee. These priorities included opposition to bills concerning giving schools preferential treatment through zoning process and expended requirements for annexations, as well as supporting bills that establish annual funding for regional planning efforts and a bill that creates a system of historic tax credits to promote historic preservation initiatives and redevelopment. We also presented what will be our first legislative initiative that will create a statewide system of plan commissioner training to promote better citizen and professional planning practices.
The participants were then treated to a talk by Speaker Michael Madigan’s Chief of Staff, Tim Mapes (photo at left). Mr. Mapes gave important insights on how the General Assembly operates, strategies on approaching legislators to advocate for and against pending bills, and words of encouragement for the PLAD initiative. He also took several questions from many participants. We anticipate that Mr. Mapes and other legislative leaders will become regular guests at future PLADs.
After Mr. Mapes wrapped up his comments, participants walked over to the Capitol for a group picture and then a day of important legislative engagement (photo at right). It was a very active day at the Capitol, with several hundred members of the Service Employee International Union protesting lack of education funding for the state’s universities (see photo below). There was a tremendous amount of activity in both chambers of the General Assembly on broader statewide budget matters too. However, several participants were able to meet with their legislators and advocate on the APA-IL’ legislative priorities.
The day ended with a cocktail reception for PLAD participants at Arlington’s. #PLAD16 was a tremendous success and important milestone for the APA-IL’s growing reputation in Springfield as an important voice on statewide planning and land use matters. Please consider joining us for #PLAD17. Your involvement with these efforts will ensure that the APA-IL becomes a go to resource for state legislative leaders considering bills that affect the planning profession, promote planning efforts, and affect local land use controls.
Written by: David Silverman, AICP, 2016 APA-IL Legislative Committee Chair
Photos by: T.J. Blakeman, AICP, 2016 APA-IL Vice President and #PLAD16 Attendee