Home Rule Information

What is Home Rule Status?

According to the Illinois Municipal League, the purpose of home rule is to allow municipalities to enact local solutions to local issues and problems. A municipality with home rule status can exercise any power and perform any function unless it is specifically prohibited from doing so by state law.

In contrast, a non-home rule municipality may only exercise powers for which express authority is provided by state law. This means that non-home rule communities in Illinois, like the Village of Roselle, are dependent on obtaining grants of authority from the General Assembly and Governor.

Decision making shifts from the state level to the local level for those communities with home rule status and gives local authorities in those communities flexibility to tailor decisions to address local concerns.

Home rule status can be achieved in one of two ways: (1) a municipality automatically achieves home rule status when its population exceeds 25,000 residents; and (2) communities with fewer than 25,001 residents can become home rule by passing a local referendum.

What Authority Does Home Rule Status Provide?

The Illinois Constitution spells out home rule authority powers in Article VII, Section 6(a). A home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt. 

Specifically, Home Rule communities can exercise local control over issues such as:

  • Public Health, Safety, Morals & Welfare,
  • Zoning & Subdivision,
  • Personnel,
  • Enforcement of Zoning, Building & Related Codes on Other Governmental Bodies,
  • Taxation,
  • Elections,
  • Finance,
  • Special Assessments,
  • Special Service Area Taxes,
  • Debt, and
  • Internal Organization.

More information about each of these issues is available in the Home Rule Chapter from the Illinois Municipal Handbook (2018).