Illinois Legislature Overrides Veto, Legalizes Roadkill Collection

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Well, it has been a real roller-coaster ride for those of us following the status of roadkill legislation in Illinois.

In May, we learned that HB 3178 had been passed by the Illinois Legislature, thereby clarifying that it was not illegal to "take or possess" a fur-bearing animal so long as you had the right permit, even if you just found it by the side of the road rather than hunted it down yourself. According to the sponsor, the measure would "help clean up our state at no extra cost" to the taxpayers.

That was certainly great news, but in August, Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the measure. Though he "commend[ed] the sponsors for their hard work on this legislation," Quinn said he was concerned about the safety implications of encouraging people to scour the state's roadways looking to get themselves a free dead mammal. He asked lawmakers to consider "appropriate safety measures" (whatever those might be) in any subsequent roadkill legislation.

Actually, no, the sponsors responded, we'd rather not, and promptly brought a motion to override the veto. That takes a three-fifths majority in Illinois, but that was not a problem – the motion passed 87-28 in the House and 52-0 in the Senate. Once again, therefore, it is legal in Illinois to pick up roadkill if you have the right permit.

I guess I don't know what to think about this, actually. Is it sadder that people are out there peeling dead animals off the roadway, or that our government insists that we need to have a permit to do it?