villa 050724SPRINGFIELD – In order to cultivate more native plant species and support local ecosystems, State Senator Karina Villa advanced a measure that would allow a higher volume of native species to be planted across the state.

“Illinois is the prairie state. Our native plant species are unique and vital to local ecosystems,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Planting more native species will support pollinators, while beautifying our state and supporting agriculture.”

House Bill 5296 would allow residents living in neighborhoods with a homeowners’ association to plant native species in their yards as long as the area is maintained. Additionally, homeowners’ associations would be prohibited from imposing height restrictions or impairing proper maintenance of the native landscape to ensure the heath of the habitat.

Illinois once consisted of approximately 22 million acres of prairie and is currently home to almost 200 native plant species. These plants provide food and shelter for wildlife and are adapted to the state’s climate, therefore requiring minimal watering and maintenance as they are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases.

“Embracing the native landscape of our state will help enhance the environment and protect native wildlife,” said Villa. “The quality and availability of our food is dependent on the health of natural ecosystems. We must do what we can to support pollinators to ensure the overall health of our communities in the future.”

House Bill 5296 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.