The Illinois House of Representatives has voted to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a measure that would allow citizens to remove dead animals from the state’s roadways for personal use. Action now moves to the Senate, which earlier voted unanimously in favor of the measure.
Gov. Quinn claims he vetoed the bill because he thought it would put people’s safety in jeopardy while attempting to retrieve roadkill.
“I cannot support a measure that places the citizens of our state in harm’s way and encourage the sponsors of this bill to consider appropriate safety measures in subsequent legislation,” the governor wrote in his veto message.
In February, Rep. Norrine Hammond, R-Macomb, introduced House Bill 3178. One of the primary selling points of the bill was that it is a “cost-saving measure,” —a popular catchphrase in state capitols this year. While it may sound a little far-fetched to some, the law was crafted to save taxpayer dollars because state highway workers would need to remove fewer dead animals from the state’s highways and byways—when hungry and creative citizens will gladly do it for free!
“We will no longer have those animals laying around on the road,” said Hammond. “The Illinois Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources do not have the labor force or the money to take care of these animals.”
In order to legally utilize this renewable resource, persons would need to obtain a current Illinois furbearer license for $10, like the one normally used by fur trappers and varmint hunters.
The measure passed the Illinois state House 98-16 in March and breezed through the Senate 56-0.
During last week’s House vote, State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, told his colleagues he doesn’t believe retrieving roadkill would be any more dangerous than pulling over to the side of the road during any type of emergency.
“I think they can figure out how to pull over safely,” Eddy said. “I have a little more faith in the average driver in this state than our governor.”
Under the new law, the present regulation regarding road-killed deer would remain unchanged. Deer found in ditches and on highway medians may be claimed by those residents of Illinois who are not delinquent in child-support payments and do not have their hunting privileges suspended in any state.
Finally, for roadkill-cuisine novices, Illinois offers these important tips for safely removing ‘possums, raccoons and other potential entrees from the tollroads and interstates:
- Wear gloves at all times to avoid direct contact with the animal.
- Wear protective glasses to avoid fluids splashing into the eyes.
- Wash hands immediately following removal.
- Wash any fluid-stained clothing.
We’ll add, “Look both ways,” and, “Watch for bugs.”
Any other suggestions? Share your comments below.