Lawmakers approve plan to protect monarch butterfly habitats

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan proponents say will help protect the habitat of monarch butterflies.

The proposal would prohibit counties and towns from classifying milkweed as noxious or exotic weed. Milkweed is a primary food source for monarch larvae.

Backers say it’s vital to plant more milkweed, not ban it.

Environmental experts say over a dozen Illinois cities classify milkweed as noxious.

However, some opponents say local communities should be able to decide whether to ban it.

The Senate approved the plan 41-6 Tuesday. It’s headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.

Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, was a sponsor. She says Illinois has a unique relationship to the insect and they should be protected.

Monarchs were named Illinois’ official insect in the mid-1970s after school children lobbied for the designation.