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Easier Path to Home Rule Status?

Author: Timothy J. Clifton

April 14, 2016

The Illinois Municipal League is promoting a bill that would significantly increase the number of home rule municipalities within the State of Illinois. Currently, there are two ways in which a municipality becomes “home rule”:

  • when the municipality has more than 25,000 residents
  • when the municipality has 25,000 residents or less, by a majority vote of the residents at a local referendum.

Under bill HJRCA 38, any municipality with a population in excess of 5,000 would automatically become home rule. According to the IML, this would increase the number of home rule municipalities by 173.

Municipalities would still have the option to “opt out” of home rule status by way of a referendum.

The obvious benefit to these municipalities would be the greater ability to deal with various problems within their community without being limited by powers expressly granted to them as non-home rule communities are.

The bill was referred to the Rules Committee back in May 2015. We will continue to monitor the status of this bill and keep you posted of any new developments.

Timothy J. Clifton
Timothy J. Clifton