7/17/2005

Illinois Bill HB4091 would limit eminent domain powers in the state

Bill HB4091 has been introduced into the Illinois General Assembly by representative Eileen Lyons; it is co-sponsored by representatives Ron Stephens, Bill Mitchell, Jim Sacia, Ruth Munson, Aaron Schock, Dave Winters, and Patricia Reid Lindner. The measure, which amends the Statute on Statutes with a new Section 10, would become effective immediately, It would require all takings under the power of eminent domain to be for a "qualified public use." In particular, it
  • provides that it is a "qualified public use" to exercise the power of eminent domain for the acquisition of property for public ownership and control;
  • prohibits the exercise of the power of eminent domain for private ownership or control, including for economic development, unless it is specifically and
    expressly authorized by law by the General Assembly;
  • preempts home rule powers.


Specific provisions include:
  • Neither the State, a unit of local government, nor a school district may take or damage property by the exercise of the power of eminent domain unless it is for a "qualified public use", as defined under this Section.
  • It is a "qualified public use" to exercise the power of eminent domain for the acquisition of property (i) for public ownership and control by the State, a unit of local government, a school district, or any combination of those entities and (ii) for a public purpose.
  • It is not a "qualified public use," however, to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire property for private ownership or control, including for economic development, unless acquisition of property for private ownership or control is (i) for a public purpose and (ii) specifically and expressly authorized by law enacted by the General Assembly on, before, or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 94th General Assembly.
  • "Private ownership or control" shall be liberally construed to prevent the use of long-term leases, options to purchase, and other mechanisms intended to defeat the purpose of this Section, which is to limit the acquisition of property by eminent domain when it is primarily for the benefit and use of private entities.
  • This Section is a limitation on the exercise of the power of eminent domain.


According to a report in the 7/16/05 Lincoln Courier, state Senator Steve Rauschenberger earlier indicated he planned to introduce a bill that would make it more difficult for local governments to use condemnation powers enabling them to clear private land for developers. Rauschenburger concept would be to require local governments to submit such plans to the Illinois attorney general then seek legislative approval.

The Courier also noted that Senator Susan Garrett has said she will conduct hearings — starting in Chicago on July 20 — to examine ways "to better protect the rights of Illinois property owners."


Information contributed by Walter & Joan McElligott: wmcauth07@yahoo.com