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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

HB 2040 Will Restrict Local Zoning and Contracting Authority

Dwight, a village of 4,200 residents in Livingston County, recently approved an annexation agreement to allow for a 1,200-bed $20 million dollar federal immigration detention center to be built on 88 acres west of Interstate 55. If approved by the federal government, it would be built by Immigration Centers for America and become Illinois’ first privately operated detention center.

The approval process was contentious as the activist group No ICE Dwight lobbied against approval of the agreement. Over 100 members of the public from 10 cities attended the council meeting and spoke against the proposed annexation agreement. 

After approval of the agreement by Dwight, the Illinois House Labor and Commerce Committee passed HB 2040 out of committee. The bill now awaits a vote by the full House. Representative Kelly Cassidy said her bill is in response to a resurgence of municipalities attempting to approve new for-profit and privately-operated detention facilities.

As passed out of committee, HB 2040 will prevent local municipalities from contracting or entering into agreements “of any kind” related to a detention facility owned or operated by a private entity.  The bill prohibits any “subsidy” in the development or construction of a privately-operated facility.  The bill also prohibits any financial incentive or “benefit” to a privately-operated facility. For instance, municipal assistance in the extension of municipal water and sewer mains to a site may be considered a financial incentive or benefit prohibited by the bill. Rezoning property for use as a facility may be considered an illegal “benefit” under the bill. 

Standard and routine annexation agreements without any subsidies or incentives may be considered “an agreement of any kind” prohibited by the bill. 

This is just one of a number of bills introduced this session that restrict municipal zoning authority. 

Post Authored by Steve Mahrt, Ancel Glink


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