Rep. Severin: Student Driven Bill Designating State Snake Signed into Law

BENTON – State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) announced his bill designating the eastern milksnake as the state’s snake has been signed into law. Severin worked with local student Gentry Heiple and his parents Tim and Lindsay Stockhecke.

“When Gentry reached out to my office to express his interest in designating the State of Illinois’ official state snake, I wanted take the opportunity to demonstrate the legislative process and let him participate,” Severin said. “Gentry had the idea, did all the research, and bravely presented the bill to the House State Government Administration Committee where he received unanimous support. The bill then made its way through the Senate with Senator Fowler as the sponsor. I am pleased to announce we received notice from the governor’s office this week that the bill was signed into law.”

Severin’s constituent Gentry Heiple is a Carterville student. Gentry was quoted in Governor Pritzker’s official press release reacting to the news.

“I decided to do this bill to try and highlight the good and importance of snakes all over. And by doing this I was able to visit the capitol and meet some of the most important people in Illinois. I am very grateful and appreciative of all the people who supported me and voted yes on the bill,” Heiple said.

Rep. Severin hosted Gentry and his parents in Springfield in April to serve as a “Page for a Day” on the Illinois House floor and participate in a tour of the Illinois State Capitol.

Milksnakes live in fields, woodlands, rocky hills, and river bottoms. The milksnake ranges from 24 to 36 inches in length, has smooth scales, large blotches with brown or black borders and a y- or v-shaped mark on its head. It is not a poisonous snake and are even bred as pets.

To learn more about the eastern milksnake and other varieties of milksnakes living in Illinois, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website at