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Illinois Property Rights

Since the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London many states across the country have taken measures to help protect the rights of private ownership.  The controversial Kelo decision held that a local government can take the private property of one person and give it to another private entity.  While the Court’s ruling was seen by many as a serious blow to citizen’s constitutionally protected rights of private property ownership, the decision prompted a number of states to initiate legislative reform to help curb eminent domain abuse.

The Castle Coalition has released a report, grading each of the states based on their efforts to protect private property owners and their rights based on changes in their respective state laws.  The Castle Coalition is the Institute for Justice’s nationwide grassroots property rights activism project that teaches home and small business owners how to protect themselves and stand up to abuse by governments and developers who seek to use eminent domain to take private property for their own gain.  Stated below is the letter grade, as given by the Castle Coalition, along with a description of the changes that have occurred since Kelo v. City of New London.

Illinois Castle Coalition letter grade of

Illinois Property Rights

In 2006, the state of Illinois passed Senate Bill 3086. This bill prevented the government from condemning property for private development; however, it did not diminish the government taking private property because of the major factors that came into play with this bill. In order for an area to be deemed blighted, five different factors must be present. Some examples of those requirements include obsolescence, excessive vacancies, excessive land coverage, deleterious layout, and lack of community planning (as stated by the bill). Although the bill states that at least five of the terms must be fulfilled in order for an area to be deemed blighted, the coverage terms are vague easy for a condemning authority to place on a property. With vague coverage terms in reference to blighted property, condemning authorities still have the power to deem an area blighted and take private property for private use. This bill had little significance and was not a proponent of change in the state of Illinois.

Summary

Despite the state of Illinois passing some legislative reform, the bill itself had little to no significance in helping curb eminent domain abuse. The vague language allows for loopholes and vacancies for condemning authorities and private entities to get around in order to condemn private property for private use or development. Click to read the full version of Senate Bill 3086.

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