Private property rights strengthen under new Illinois law
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ensures fairer compensation for private property taken
[JULY 28, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed a
law Friday that protects private property owners by raising
standards for when and how public entities can seize land.
Senate Bill 3086 requires clear and convincing evidence that the
land is necessary for a public use before it can be seized. The new
law also requires governments to reimburse property owners for
relocation expenses and, in some cases, legal fees.
"This law goes further than anything we've ever done to protect the
rights of property owners while making sure that important public
projects can still move forward," Blagojevich said. "This bill
strikes the right balance between both interests, and I want to
commend the sponsors of this bill for coming up with the right
Sponsored by state Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest,
and state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, Senate Bill 3086 was drafted
in response to a 2005 United States Supreme Court case. The
government has always had the right under the federal and state
constitution to take private property through eminent domain for
public purposes like roads, schools and airports, but in Kelo v.
City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that economic
redevelopment is a legitimate public purpose when the redevelopment
is part of a broader redevelopment plan. Consequently, states
throughout the country have taken steps to expand property owners'
rights and protections.
In addition to the requirement that the government reimburse
property owners for their relocation expenses and qualified legal
fees, the new legislation also allows trial courts to reset the
valuation date of the property if the trial begins more than two
years after the filing. Currently, Illinois law only requires "just
compensation" for property owners, which is the fair market value of
the property plus any damage to associated property not taken
through eminent domain.
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"It is crucial that we have clear and transparent laws to protect
property owners," Garrett said. "Now property owners will fully
understand their rights."
"I would like to thank Governor Blagojevich for signing this
crucial legislation. This is a significant step forward in
protecting the rights of landowners," said Bradley.
"The Illinois Association of Realtors supported this legislation
designed to protect the rights of private property owners from the
abusive eminent domain power of government," said Stan Sieron, C.R.S.,
G.R.I., president of the association. "This new law strengthens
existing Illinois protections for private property owners while
still allowing the government to redevelop truly blighted property.
It also ensures that property owners are fairly and fully
compensated for their land and relocation expenses."
The new law takes effect Jan, 1, 2007, and does not apply to
property or land seized before that date. Also, land acquired under
the O'Hare Modernization Act and certain existing tax increment
financing district redevelopment plans are exempt from the law.
[News release from the governor's