Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker refuses to admit he was wrong about Bailey’s eminent domain claim
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Pritzker refuses to admit he was wrong about Bailey’s eminent domain claim

Monday, Aug 29, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* OK, let’s go back to Darren Bailey’s Q&A at the Farm Bureau’s candidate forum last week

Q: In the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, there was a provision that would allow the use of eminent domain to take private property for a project that is not a public utility. Do you support giving private companies that are not a public utility the right to use or to take private property?

Bailey: I do not. I have two counties in my Senate district that are affected by that. And I stood on the Senate floor and I said there was a lot of things wrong with this bill. Number one, it forces coal out too early. And number two, it forces natural gas out too early. And number four, it makes our dependency on wind and solar too soon. But I said all that aside, if there’s one reason and one reason alone why I would vote no on this bill, it would be because of the eminent domain clause.

* From Gov. JB Pritzker’s remarks later that day

Darren Bailey is lying to you about a few things. There’s nothing in the [Climate and Equitable Jobs Act] that makes it easier to impose eminent domain. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

* As we all know by now, Pritzker was wrong

Democratic lawmakers at the time said the language, included on page 673 of the public act, applies to the Grain Belt Express, a transmission line owned by the private company Invenergy. The language in the bill states that a project of Grain Belt’s magnitude “shall be deemed” a public use line, giving the company the ability to invoke eminent domain if needed.

* My associate Isabel Miller asked Pritzker Friday evening if he regretted saying Bailey lied. The governor’s response

Darren Bailey did not tell the truth about eminent domain. Darren Bailey said that there is a massive change in statewide ability of the state to declare eminent domain. That’s just false.

Bailey said no such thing.

I mean, the governor’s likely gonna win. There’s no need for this stuff.


  1. - Socially DIstant watcher - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:05 am:

    Campaigns can be ugly. And it’s not like Bailey’s gonna apologize for giving two conflicting positions to Chicago area reporters and downstate reporters.

  2. - Curious citizen - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:13 am:

    While I wish the governor would acknowledge reality on this, it’s one on him and how many on Bailey? He’s told numerous “untruths” and reversed none that I recall.

  3. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:19 am:

    So might makes right? The Trumpian way is never admitting you’re wrong, doubling down, and never apologizing.

    C’mon, Governor. You’re better than that.

  4. - Needs Deleted - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:20 am:

    I was at the DuQuoin Grand Opening where Isabel asked the question. It is so embarrassing to watch the media these days. The Governor said he would take questions, then it was just stone silence for 3 or 4 seconds until Isabel said “Governor, do you regret calling Darren Bailey a liar about eminent domain?”

    Immediately I thought to myself, that must be Isabel Miller, because no one else was gonna be that bold down here…

  5. - Central Ill - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:22 am:

    Don’t stoop to Bailey’s level governor – own it and admit the mistake. You are better than that. And to those who say that Bailey does this, so it’s okay- no it is not. That is very childish reasoning. BE the adult governor.

  6. - Frank talks - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:22 am:

    Seems both candidates, as with all candidates running for office, see the truth as they say it is not necessarily how it really is.
    All you have to do is look at almost every piece of rhetoric, on both sides, that’s being thrown about on the Safe-T Act.
    Just the game that’s played when voters don’t actually take time to research or read.

  7. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:26 am:

    Billionaires are never wrong.

  8. - Big Tent - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:27 am:

    The eminent domain language giving private business authority to take property for power lines was one of the most concerning aspects of the CEJA bill to downstate farmers. Unfortunate JB did not understand what he was signing.
    Makes you wonder if he didn’t know that, whether he took time to actually review any of it.

  9. - Peter Griffin - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:29 am:

    Like I said last week. Eminent Domain isn’t an issue that will push the needle; getting caught in a lie (or incorrect assumption) and continuing to deny has the potential to. Agree with Rich, Pritzker’s going to win, but why continue to deny when it could be put to bed by saying three words “I was wrong.”

  10. - Back to the Future - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:30 am:

    Needs Deleted
    Thanks for the in person report.
    We need more Isabel Millers in media.

  11. - PublicServant - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:30 am:

    Is there anything in the Act that makes it EASIER to impose Eminent Domain?

  12. - fs - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    == Is there anything in the Act that makes it EASIER to impose Eminent Domain?==

    Um, yes, the bill pretty clearly and expressly makes it easier for the Grain Belt Express to, as a private entity, take the land for their project. Without that provision in there, it’s a much longer and tougher process. As they have learned trying to do this project over the last decade or so. Which is why they wanted that language in there and why the issue was controversial. Pretty easy to see, and strange that the Governor is choosing this hill to fight on.

  13. - TNR - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    The Gov should say something like this:

    “I may have contributed to some confusion about this issue with a previous statement and I’d like to clear it up. As I stated, there is no specific mention of eminent domain in the law. However there is a provision to allow construction of a new transmission line in just a few counties that will help lower electric bills in the state by increasing our energy supply. That could allow for a limited use of eminent domain, but only after approval from both the Commerce Commission and a court of law, and only if the land owner is guaranteed fair market value. To portray this as some sort of sweeping, unchecked land-grab as Bailey has is completely incorrect.”

  14. - really??? - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    **Is there anything in the Act that makes it EASIER to impose Eminent Domain?**

    If you consider the fact that the bill specifically says a private business shall be deemed public, then yes it made eminent domain easier.

  15. - PublicServant - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    To me, it seems like an expansion of Eminent Domain. I don’t see anything that makes it easier to utilize the process.

  16. - JS Mill - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:43 am:

    =and strange that the Governor is choosing this hill to fight on.=

    Agreed. This is an unforced error that he could move on from very quickly.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    I did. I was wrong. I am sorry.

    The rest is wholly unnecessary.


  18. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:50 am:

    This points to an interesting tension point between green industries vs. their environmental impact and property rights. Green policy initiatives prioritize wind/solar generation which necessitates the need to move power from where it is abundant like the central USA and connect it to the grid. This takes new transmission lines that all have environmental impact issues and property acquisition issues. This bill gave “Green” private companies the incredible power of eminent domain at the expense of property rights. I doubt other non-public industries would be gifted such power that is clearly limited by the Illinois constitution.

    Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation as provided by law. Such compensation shall be determined by a jury as provided by law.

  19. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:53 am:

    C’mon Governor. You misspoke so own it, admit it, and move on.

  20. - Ok - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:54 am:

    I am late to the this, but Darren Bailey’s agreement with the question is where he was actually wrong, as the question said that eminent domain authority will be given to something that is not a public utility. That is incorrect.

    The law allows the Grain Belt project to apply to become a public utility (effectively), which then once it has that classification, it can use for eminent domain provisions.

    Previous to CEJA, the law/court interpretation was that nobody new could become a public utility. That the only public utilities allowed were ones already in existence.

  21. - Lurker - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:56 am:

    My problem is first that he called him a liar and used those words. In politics you normally say things like he isn’t being truthful or he isn’t being honest. Then, if you are going to use bold words, be 100% correct for goodness sake.

  22. - Ok - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    “If you consider the fact that the bill specifically says a private business shall be deemed public, then yes it made eminent domain easier.”

    I hate to break it to you, but all those “public utilities” are not actually “public entities.” Particularly at the transmission level, unless they are TVA or Bonneville or another federal government transmission system, pretty much ALL transmission lines (that are considered public utilities) are private entities.

    Those are Ameren and Exrlon shareholders you are paying for that transmission charge on your bill, plus likely some AEP, some Duke, etc.

  23. - fs - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 9:59 am:


    If I pass a bill calling a McDonalds a public entity to allow them to take property to build a store, that doesn’t actually change the fact that MdDonalds is a private corporation. It just grants them a loophole to make it easier to take that land.

  24. - PublicServant - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    Improving the electrical grid is a much-needed public good. Eating a Bic Mac, not so much.

  25. - Ok - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 10:14 am:

    Fs - still seems like you don’t understand that most public utilities are private corporations.

  26. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    It all depends on the meaning of wrong…right?

  27. - Surge voter - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    Is anyone out there keeping track of unforced errors? Always having to be right or have it your way…. A familiar pattern it seems.

  28. - Goodness - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 10:58 am:


  29. - Rabid - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:04 am:

    JB ain’t big enough to admit his mistake?

  30. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:15 am:

    So the question is whether Governor Pritzker reads CapFax. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.

    But even if he doesn’t, surely some of his advisers do. Maybe they’ll convey to him that this isn’t playing well.

    He shouldn’t base his campaign on how the wind is blowing here, but he doesn’t strike me as a man who is unable to admit he made a mistake.

  31. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    I’ve asked a number of officials and politicians if they read Capitol Fax… they usually laugh and then say, “Of course”…no politician I’ve asked has ever said, “No”.

  32. - Peoria Man - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    The SCOTUS held in Kelo that eminent domain can be used to take from one private entity and give to another so long as the taking is for a public purpose. So other than stating in the statute that the taking would be for a public purpose, I think JB is technically correct that the statute doesn’t expand eminent domain powers. Still the rhetoric on both sides here is a little vague.

  33. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:48 am:

    === technically correct that the statute doesn’t expand eminent domain powers===

    Nice try, but that’s not what he said.

  34. - DuPage - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 11:50 am:

    They should amend that “Grain belt” law to require the builder to give Illinois residents a deal similar to the one in Missouri. They pay over the appraised value, plus $18000 per tower, plus any group that is appointed to determine land value must include a local long-time farmer. Additionally, they agreed to sell power at a discount to non-profit power companies throughout the state of Missouri.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===but I’m sure===

    The governor can correct his own words at any time.

    Words matter.

  36. - Peoria Man - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 1:14 pm:

    ==Words matter==

    I see it’s hard to make a joke on this site.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 1:17 pm:

    Labeled snark is prolly a good way to make a point.

    To the post,

    It is confusing to merely the framing, why not admit, “ya know, I misspoke”.

    Rarely have I personally encountered someone who is quite verse in things, quite intelligent in matters, who hasn’t had to admit a mistake or misspeak… it makes them see more honest, human, and relatable.

    Sometimes being “wrong” and admitting it can help.

  38. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 1:17 pm:

    “I see it’s hard to make a joke on this site.”

    …not if it’s a good one.

  39. - Peoria Man - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 1:30 pm:

    Sometimes being “wrong” and admitting it can help.==

    You’re right. I was wrong. My attempt at humor was way too subtle.

  40. - Chambananon - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 2:04 pm:

    “In the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, there was a provision that would allow the use of eminent domain to take private property for a project that is not a public utility. Do you support giving private companies that are not a public utility the right to use or to take private property?”

    This is where the confusion began–whomever asked this question framed it using a false implication (that the law didn’t already permit what the question asked about–i.e. the acquisition of private land by a private company, using eminent domain).

    Kelo, as referenced by PeoriaMan, was decided in 2005 (18 years ago). All the clause in CEJA did was tell the reviewing/administrative bodies involved that “yes, this specific project qualifies as a public good” when reviewing an application for usage of eminent domain.

    So, if the private companies want to use eminent domain, they will basically be able to streamline a single procedural step, because the state law speaks to the specific question–but it doesn’t suddenly make private land available for non-public-utility public use, because SCOTUS already did that via judicial fiat many years ago. (Nor does it prevent the original private owner from receiving just compensation, for that matter.)

    They’re both wrong: Bailey seems to think does something huge (it doesn’t); Pritzker seems to think it does nothing (it does something, albeit ultimately rather minor).

  41. - Chambananon - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 2:14 pm:

    *17 years ago. Not a math major, clearly.

  42. - Peoria Man - Monday, Aug 29, 22 @ 4:51 pm:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. (That’s “tounge-in-cheek” you know, an attempt at humor.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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