Home Rule

What is home rule?

Simply stated, home rule is a legal system for defining the powers which local government may exercise. Local governments have no inherent powers; their ability to take any action at all is dependent on a grant of power from the state in which they are located. Tradition-
ally, local governments may exercise only the powers explicitly given them by state statute.

Home rule gives an individual local government – a county, city, or village – the authority to determine for itself what powers it may exercise, subject, of course, to specified constitutional and statutory limitations.

Home rule, thus, is a system under which individual local governments are given a broad scope of authority to determine what powers they need, and what revenue sources they can tap, to provide the services demanded by their residents. The scope of the powers they may exercise, and the limitations to which they are subject, varies widely from state to state.

What are the arguments in favor of home rule?

Home rule is designed to give local voters, and the local officials they elect, more authority and control over the operation of their local government. It does this by freeing local governments from total dependence on the state legislature for the powers and authority needed to finance and provide public services to local communities. In short, home rule transfers power from state legislatures to city, village, and county governing boards, and to the voters who elect officials to those governing boards.

What are the arguments against home

Local opponents of home rule base most of their opposition to home rule powers on the fear that locally elected officials will abuse those powers, and especially the power to levy taxes. Other concerns sometimes voiced by students of government, but rarely mentioned during local campaigns for the adoption or removal of home rule powers, are listed in the full report here.


 The Village President's thoughts on home rule...

A Message from Karen Darch: 
Why Home Rule Now?
Over the next several weeks in my column, I would like to present more information on the Home Rule referendumthat will be on the November 8 ballot. 
As we talk about Home Rule, the question comes up of "Why is this on the ballot now?" Over the past several years, and particularly since the question was considered in 2014, we have heard from residents asking us to do things that only Home Rule communities can do, and so we have decided it is time to put the question to the voters once again.
Home Rule gives greater autonomy to local government -- Barrington would not have to let Springfield determine as much of our destiny. Instead, Barrington's local elected officials could act more independently to solve our local issues with the powers of Home Rule.
One of those powers citizens have asked for is the ability for the Board to pass a crime-free housing ordinance. Such an ordinance could require landlords to have a provision in their tenant leases which would require that a tenant who uses the property for certain criminal activity would be evicted. 
It might surprise you to know that approximately 25% of the housing in the Village is rental housing, so this would be an important tool. Fortunately, Barrington has not had numerous unruly tenants, but where such situations have occurred, it has been a real problem for the immediate neighbors and the entire neighborhood. While the majority of the community may not be directly affected by this, it does affect our whole community, as crime or declining property values in one area affect us all -- not only from a safety perspective but because that loss of value means others in the community will bear a greater portion of the property tax burden. We know that it is probably time to consider such an ordinance when we hear from a new resident that she had moved into our Village from a nearby Home Rule community because of an eviction for behaviors not tolerated by a crime-free housing lease.
Other Home Rule powers include multi-year contracting, eliminating some state mandates, achieving an AAA bond rating, and the ability to collaborate with the business community on possible assistance programs. In short, Home Rule is important now because it allows your locally elected Board members to fashion programs, solutions, or actions that they deem appropriate to serve the community.
Part of the reason the people of Willowbrook recently passed a Home Rule referendum was because they realized that being non-Home Rule hampered their ability to deal with the issues created by the Sterigenics business in their community.
Home Rule allows a community's locally elected officials -- your neighbors and friends -- to address known issues immediately and gives them the tools in hand to deal with unanticipated eventualities that may occur in the future.
For more information about Home Rule, please visit our Resource Center on the Village web site at barrington-il.gov/homerule.