2017-04-16: The Illinois Green Party Coordinating Committee endorsed the Illinois General Assembly Eminent Domain – Trial by Jury Bill (HB2532).

HB 2532- House Amendment 1 – Fact Sheet

1. Why do we need this bill? What prompted its introduction? HB 2532 protects private landowners when private companies attempt to seize land through the use of eminent domain.  The Eminent Domain Act in Illinois prevents the use of eminent domain to seize private property for public use without just compensation.  It also grants the owner of the property the right to have the amount of that just compensation determined by a jury.  However, in 2015, a judge in McLean County allowed a private company to seize private property after determining the amount of the just compensation himself. By allowing the private company to seize the land immediately, the court removed the eminent domain protections and power specifically granted to private property owners by the Eminent Domain Act.  Thus, the court essentially eliminated a substantial portion of the Act.

2. If this bill becomes law, will it prevent governmental bodies from expediting infrastructure projects that truly need to begin immediately, such as roads?  No. Two sections of the Act, Quick-take Procedure and Express Quick-take Powers allow the Illinois Legislature to grant specific bodies and projects to proceed without the completion of a jury trial.  For example, Sec. 25-7-103.1 states, “Quick-take proceedings under Article 20 may be used by the State of Illinois, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority or the St. Louis Metropolitan Area Airport Authority for the acquisition of land or interests therein for highway purposes.”  In addition, HB 2532 specifically exempts Quick-take Procedure and Express Quick-take Powers from the jury verdict requirement.

3. What is the purpose of the inclusion of “Section 8-406.1 of the Public Utilities Act” in the bill?  The Illinois Future Energy Jobs Bill contains specific targets for renewable energy.  To allow for potential electrical grid modernization, in addition to specifically exempting the Quick-take sections of Eminent Domain Act, HB 2532 also exempts high voltage electric service lines.

Other supporters:

350 Chicago Frack Free Illinois
350 Indiana-Calumet  Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice
 350 Kishwaukee  Illinois People’s Action (IPA)
 Chicagoland Oil By Rail  National Nurses Organizing Committee
 Earthseed  National Nurses United
 Elgin Green Groups350 (EGG350)  Save Our Illinois Land (SOIL)
 Food and Water Watch – Illinois  Sierra Club – Blackhawk Group
 Forest City 350  Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment (SAFE)