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Friday, December 11, 2015

Ordinances Found to be a Valid Exercise of County’s Home Rule Powers

In Blanchard v. Berrios, the independent inspector general of Cook County filed a complaint to enforce a subpoena that the Office of the Independent Inspector General (OIIG) sent to the Cook County Assessor.  The circuit court ordered the Assessor to respond to the subpoena.  The Assessor then appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court, arguing that it was unconstitutional for the Cook County Board of Commissioners to enact ordinances granting the OIIG subpoena power. 

In finding the ordinances to be constitutional, the Illinois Appellate Court noted that the Board’s ordinances were a valid exercise of its home rule powers and that it was valid for the county to delegate it’s subpoena power to the OIIG.   The Illinois Appellate Court looked to City of Chicago v. Stubhub, 2011 IL 111127, in which the Illinois Supreme Court evaluated how to determine whether an ordinance exceeds home rule powers.  In Stubhub, the Illinois Supreme Court found that a county, as a home rule unit, has all powers of a sovereign unless the General Assembly has expressly limited those powers.  The court noted that the Assessor failed to identify any statutes in which the General Assembly had limited the subpoena power of home rule entities.  Further, just as the state is allowed to delegate subpoena powers, so may a county. 

Post Authored by Erin Baker, Ancel Glink


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