On June 3, 2010, Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 96-0904, amending Section 11-13-1 of the Municipal Code to significantly restrict the ability of all Illinois municipalities to regulate the placement of political campaign signs on residential property. The relevant language of the Act reads as follows:

“… other than reasonable restrictions as to size, no home rule or non-home rule municipality may prohibit the display of outdoor political campaign signs on residential property during any period of time, the regulation of these signs being a power and function of the State and, therefor, this item (12) is a denial and limitation of concurrent home rule powers and functions under subsection (i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.” (emphasis added)

This Act, which is an explicit limit on the power of home rule municipalities, effectively invalidates all existing local ordinances limiting the duration of placement of political campaign signs on private residential property in pre- and post-election periods. It precludes durational limits of any kind.

However, the Act does not bar local regulations regarding the size or the number of political signs. Local ordinances that regulate the size, including both height and surface area, of political campaign signs in a manner that is the same as commercial signs (i.e., real estate or construction signs) will likely be considered “reasonable restrictions” and may continue to be validly enforced. Further, local regulations governing the number of signs that may be placed on a residential lot will likely remain valid as well, so long as the number regulation does not have the effect of completely excluding an individual candidate’s sign from being displayed on a lot if an owner of that lot desires to do so.

The provisions of this Act will become effective on January 1, 2011.