Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB0194
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Full Text of HB0194  102nd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 1/22/2021, by Rep. Sonya M. Harper


New Act
30 ILCS 105/5.935 new

    Creates the Outdoor Rx Program Act. Creates the Outside Rx Program to provide funds, through grants, subject to appropriation, established by the Department of Public Health, for outdoor environmental, ecological, agricultural, or other natural resource or outdoor-based therapy programs serving the citizens of the State of Illinois. Requires the Department to establish an advisory committee to assist and advise the Department in the development and administration of the Outdoor Rx Program, including developing the form for an application for receipt of a grant. Provides that the Department shall set priorities and develop criteria for the awarding of grants to natural resource or outdoor-based therapy programs. Provides criteria for grant eligibility and selection. Provides that the Director of Public Health shall make the final decision on funding a program. Amends the State Finance Act. Creates the Outdoor Rx Program Fund as a special fund in the State treasury.

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HB0194LRB102 10057 CPF 15377 b

1    AN ACT concerning health.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Outdoor Rx Program Act.
6    Section 5. Intent. Studies have shown that time outdoors
7can be a valuable adjunct therapy in addition to more
8traditional health care, while also reducing reliance on
9prescription medication. The therapeutic benefits of time
10spent outdoors is clinically proven and known to help reduce
11stress, improve concentration, and promote overall well-being,
12both physical and mental. Natural resource and outdoor-based
13therapy programs, including adventure therapy, wilderness
14therapy, horticultural therapy, walk-and-talk therapy, and
15other nature-oriented programs, are currently being used by
16mental health professionals and are shown to have benefits,
17including, but not limited to, reduction of stress,
18restoration of attention, and an improved sense of well-being.
19Such outdoor programs aim to connect people with nature,
20thereby proving to be particularly beneficial to individuals
21undergoing a recovery process. Recognizing the healing
22benefits of natural resource or outdoor-based therapy programs
23to residents of the State, particularly veterans and



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1individuals recovering from substance abuse or a physical or
2mental trauma, the General Assembly supports the establishment
3of an Outdoor Rx Program.
4    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
5    "Department" means the Department of Public Health.
6    "Director" means the Director of Public Health.
7    "Fund" means the Outdoor Rx Program Fund.
8    Section 15. Outdoor Rx Program; Department rules.
9    (a) The Outdoor Rx Program is created to provide grants,
10subject to appropriation, for outdoor environmental,
11ecological, agricultural, or other natural resource or
12outdoor-based therapy programs serving the citizens of the
13State of Illinois. The Department shall establish, implement,
14and administer the Outdoor Rx Program to provide grants for
15natural resource or outdoor-based therapy programs.
16    (b) The Department shall adopt any rules necessary for the
17implementation and administration of this Act.
18    Section 20. Advisory committee.
19    (a) The Department shall establish an advisory committee
20to assist and advise the Department in the development and
21administration of the Outdoor Rx Program. The advisory
22committee shall consist of at least 7 members, appointed as



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1        (1) at least one member appointed by the Director;
2        (2) at least one member appointed by the Director of
3    Natural Resources;
4        (3) at least one member appointed by the Director of
5    Veterans' Affairs;
6        (4) at least one member appointed by the Director of
7    the Environmental Protection Agency;
8        (5) at least one member appointed by the Director from
9    the business community;
10        (6) at least 2 members appointed by the Director from
11    an outdoor organization; and
12        (7) any other members the Director deems sufficient to
13    ensure a cross section of participants.
14    (b) The Advisory Committee shall develop an application
15form that eligible applicants shall be required to complete
16and submit in order to be considered for receipt of a grant
17under the Outdoor Rx Program.
18    Section 25. Outdoor Rx Program Fund.
19    (a) The Outdoor Rx Program Fund is created as a special
20fund in the State treasury. Moneys deposited into the Fund
21shall be used solely for the administration of the Outdoor Rx
22Program. The Department may accept gifts, grants, donations,
23or moneys from any source for deposit into the Fund. Any public
24agency in this State may use moneys in the Fund, subject to
25approval by the Director under subsection (c) of Section 35,



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1to develop and implement natural resource or outdoor-based
2therapy programs. The Department may award grants to public
3agencies and contract with any public or private agency or
4person to develop and implement natural resource or
5outdoor-based therapy programs under the Outdoor Rx Program.
6    (b) The Department shall establish limitations on the
7availability and use of Outdoor Rx Program moneys. However,
8any limitations shall be defined in the application package
9and the Department shall establish the limitations only after
10considering the following:
11        (1) consistency with the purpose of the Outdoor Rx
12    Program, as stated in subsection (a) of Section 15; and
13        (2) availability of moneys.
14    (c) The Department may require applicants to make a
15matching contribution to be eligible for a grant to be
17    (d) The Department may limit the amount of funding
18available for any element of natural resource or outdoor-based
19therapy programs.
20    (e) The following conditions are placed on the use of
21moneys from the Fund:
22        (1) For every funded program, a contract shall be
23    executed on behalf of the Department and by the grant
24    recipient. The grant recipient shall not be reimbursed for
25    costs incurred prior to the execution of the contract by
26    both parties.



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1        (2) The grant recipient shall ensure that all natural
2    resource or outdoor-based therapy programs are in
3    accordance with any technical standards established by the
4    Department.
5        (3) The grant recipient shall submit any reports
6    required by the Department as directed in the funding
7    contract.
8        (4) The grant recipient shall agree to and certify
9    compliance with all applicable federal and State laws,
10    regulations, and policies.
11        (5) Grant recipients shall maintain accurate
12    accounting records on the expenditure of program moneys,
13    provide the Department with such records consistent with
14    the agreement or upon request, whichever is applicable,
15    and permit the Department to audit the use of moneys in
16    accordance with generally accepted audit practices and
17    standards. The Department shall reserve the right to
18    terminate its participation in any program that fails to
19    perform according to the requirements of this Act.
20    (f) The Department may assess fees to grant recipients or
21Outdoor Rx Program participants for Outdoor Rx Program
23    (g) Moneys in the Fund shall be expended only for natural
24resource or outdoor-based therapy programs approved by the
25Director. To the extent practicable, the Director shall ensure
26that all moneys received during a fiscal year are expended



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1prior to the end of that fiscal year.
2    Section 30. Eligibility criteria; applications;
4    (a) The Director shall set priorities and develop criteria
5for the awarding of grants to outdoor environmental,
6ecological, agricultural, or other natural resource or
7outdoor-based therapy programs considering, at a minimum,
8programs that:
9        (1) utilize veterans for at least 50% of the program's
10    implementation or administration;
11        (2) contribute to healthy lifestyles through outdoor
12    recreation;
13        (3) will commit matching and in-kind resources;
14        (4) create partnerships with public and private
15    entities;
16        (5) maximize the number of participants that can be
17    served, particularly participants who are veterans or who
18    are recovering from substance abuse or physical or mental
19    trauma;
20        (6) use a State park, other natural venue, or
21    Department personnel as a resource;
22        (7) make use of research-based and effective
23    environmental, ecological, agricultural, or other natural
24    resource or outdoor-based therapy;
25        (8) provide citizens of the State of Illinois with



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1    opportunities to directly experience and understand nature
2    and the natural world; and
3        (9) include ongoing program evaluation, assessment,
4    and reporting of program effectiveness.
5     (b) The Director shall select activities eligible for the
6awarding or grants. The activities may include, but need not
7be limited to, the following:
8        (1) outdoor recreation;
9        (2) outdoor environmental studies;
10        (3) agricultural activities;
11        (4) natural resource-based activities;
12        (5) conservation;
13        (6) ecological activities; and
14        (7) stewardship or restoration.
15    (c) The following activities are ineligible for the
16awarding of grants from the Outdoor Rx Program:
17        (1) activities that may be perceived to lobby or
18    advocate for political purposes;
19        (2) activities that are not in compliance with local,
20    State, or federal laws; and
21        (3) organized youth sports, such as a community league
22    or school team.
23    (d) The following criteria shall be used to evaluate
25        (1) proposals that provide for public or private
26    partnerships;



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1        (2) proposals that provide for innovative ways to
2    increase the availability and use of outdoor recreation
3    facilities;
4        (3) proposals that show consideration for the
5    economics of installation or implementation to provide the
6    greatest cost-to-benefit ratio, for example, where private
7    parties contribute more than the minimum amount;
8        (4) proposals that commit matching and in-kind
9    resources;
10        (5) proposals that use a State park, other natural
11    venue, or Department personnel as a resource;
12        (6) proposals that contribute to healthy lifestyles
13    through outdoor recreation and sound nutrition;
14        (7) proposals that contribute to the Statewide network
15    of facilities or programs;
16        (8) proposals that encourage community involvement;
17        (9) proposals that encourage sound environmental
18    practices;
19        (10) proposals that maximize the number of
20    participants who can be served;
21        (11) proposals that provide an opportunity to
22    experience the outdoors directly and understand nature and
23    the natural world;
24        (12) proposals that include ongoing program
25    evaluation, assessment, and reporting of program
26    effectiveness;



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1        (13) proposals that make use of research-based and
2    effective environmental, ecological, agricultural, or
3    other natural resource-based therapy; and
4        (14) proposals that demonstrate innovative approaches
5    to outdoor-based therapy.
6    Section 35. Program selection.
7    (a) Completed applications shall be reviewed by the
8Department to determine eligibility and evaluated in
9accordance with the purposes, eligibility requirements,
10limitations, and evaluation criteria in this Act.
11    (b) The Department shall consult with and consider the
12recommendations of the Advisory Committee and present final
13recommendations to the Director.
14    (c) The Director shall make the final decision on funding
15a natural resource or outdoor-based therapy program.
16    Section 40. Report. On or before February 1 of each year,
17the Department shall issue a report to the General Assembly.
18The report shall state how the moneys from the Fund were
19utilized during the preceding calendar year and shall include:
20        (1) the amount of money deposited into the Fund during
21    the preceding calendar year as the result of revenue
22    derived under this Act;
23        (2) the amount of money disbursed from the Fund and
24    the process used for such disbursements;



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1        (3) recipients of grants from the Fund;
2        (4) the amount awarded to each grant recipient;
3        (5) the purposes for which such grants were awarded;
4    and
5        (6) a summary financial plan for Fund moneys, which
6    shall include estimates of all receipts and all
7    disbursements for the current and succeeding fiscal years,
8    along with the actual results from the prior fiscal year.
9    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
10Section 5.935 as follows:
11    (30 ILCS 105/5.935 new)
12    Sec. 5.935. The Outdoor Rx Program Fund.