SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
527 N.E.2d 1264, 123 Ill. 2d 303, 123 Ill. Dec. 489 1988.IL.1291
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County, the Hon. Herman S. Haase, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE CLARK delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE STAMOS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CLARK
This is an appeal from the judgment of the circuit court of Will County denying the plaintiff's request for declaratory relief seeking to prevent the Joliet Regional Port District (hereinafter Port District) from proceeding with its acquisition, operation, and expansion of Lewis University's airport facility without first receiving referendum approval from the voters of the Port District as required by an amendment (Pub. Act 83-1102) to the Port District's enabling act. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 19, par. 254.6.) In rendering its ruling the trial court also dismissed the Port District's counterclaim, which challenged the constitutionality of Public Act 83-1102 as special legislation in violation of article IV, section 13, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 13). The defendant filed a cross-appeal from the portion of the trial court's order dismissing its counterclaim. We allowed a direct appeal to be taken to this court under Rule 302(b) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(b)).
At the hearing before the trial court, as well as in their appeal and cross-appeal before this court, the parties have stipulated to the relevant facts governing this dispute. Those facts are as follows.
The Joliet Regional Port District was created in 1957 by an act of the Illinois General Assembly (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1957, ch. 19, par. 251 et seq.) which granted the Port District the power to locate, establish, and maintain a public airport and associated facilities within its corporate boundaries. The act also provided the Port District with the power to construct, develop, expand, extend and improve the airport. Pursuant to this grant of authority, the Port District began in 1980 to study the possibility of locating an airport facility within its corporate limits. It expended funds on studies and surveys and commenced dealing with Lewis University concerning the acquisition of the Lewis University airport. Following extensive negotiations, the Port District formalized the location, establishment and maintenance of the Lewis University airport as its public airport by a resolution passed at the meeting of the board of the Port District on December 28, 1983. On December 30, 1983, the Port District entered into a sale agreement with Lewis University relating to the Port District's purchase of the Lewis University airport. This agreement was later amended on June 14, 1984.
During the early part of 1983, at approximately the same time the Port District was conducting its negotiations with Lewis University, House Bill 2244 was introduced in the Illinois legislature. House Bill 2244, as it was later amended in the Illinois Senate, provided that the power of the Joliet Regional Port District to locate, establish and maintain a public airport, and to construct, develop, expand, extend and improve an airport, as set forth pursuant to the Joliet Regional Port District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 19, par. 254.6), could be exercised only with the approval of the voters of the Port District by a referendum.
The essential progression of House Bill 2244, which eventually became Public Act 83 -- 1102, was as follows. House Bill 2244 was originally passed by the Illinois House of Representatives on March 27, 1983. On June 27, 1983, it was passed by the Illinois Senate in its amended form, containing the referendum provision. On June 29, 1983, the House concurred in the Senate amendment. The bill was then sent to the Governor, who, on September 24, 1983, returned it to the General Assembly with special recommendations for change, in accordance with the amendatory veto procedures set forth in section 9(e) of article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. On October 19, 1983, the House accepted the Governor's specific recommendations for change to House Bill 2244, and the Senate did likewise by record vote on November 1, 1983. The bill was returned to the Governor on November 7, 1983, for certification. On January 5, 1984, the Governor certified that the General Assembly's acceptance of the bill conformed to his specific recommendations for change, and it became law, commonly known as Public Act 83 -- 1102.
The record here reveals that the plaintiff filed his complaint for declaratory relief on August 23, 1985, to prevent the Port District from proceeding with its plans to purchase the Lewis University airport without first seeking referendum approval from the voters within the Port District. In his complaint the plaintiff asked the court to find that Public Act 83 -- 1102 became effective on January 5, 1984. The Port District thereafter filed its counterclaim on July 1, 1986, challenging the constitutionality of the referendum amendment provision of Public Act 83 -- 1102 as special legislation.
After hearing counsels' arguments, the trial court found that Public Act 83 -- 1102 did not become effective until July 1, 1984, and that the Port District had done everything necessary to exercise its authority to acquire, operate and expand the Lewis University airport prior to the effective date of the amendment requiring the referendum. The trial court declined to consider the constitutionality of Public Act 83 -- 1102 and dismissed the defendant's counterclaim. The parties thereafter filed their appeals in this court.
Three issues are presented for our review in the instant case: (1) the effective date of Public Act 83-1102; (2) whether the Port District exercised its power to acquire, operate and expand the Lewis University airport prior to the effective date of Public Act 83-1102; and (3) whether the legislative amendment to the Joliet Regional Port District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 19, par. 254.6), as contained in Public Act 83-1102, violates the provisions of article IV, section 13, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 as special legislation.
We first turn our attention to the question concerning the effective date of Public Act 83 -- 1102, which became law through the amendatory veto process. (See Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 9(e).) The plaintiff here asserts that Public Act 83 -- 1102 took effect on January 5, 1984, whereas the defendant asserts that July 1, 1984, is the Act's effective date.
The constitutional provisions relating to the effective dates of laws are found in section 10 of article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. Article IV, section 10, directs the General Assembly to "provide by law for a uniform effective date for laws passed prior to July 1 of a calendar year." (Emphasis added.) Section 10 further provides that bills " passed after June 30 shall not become effective prior to July 1 of the next calendar year unless the General Assembly by the vote of three-fifths of the members elected to each house provides for an earlier effective date." (Emphasis added.) The purpose of determining the effective date of an act according to the date of passage is to afford the public adequate notice of the contents of the enactment. City of Springfield v. Allphin (1978), 74 Ill. 2d 117, 130.
In response to the constitutional mandate contained in article IV, section 10, the General Assembly enacted "An Act in relation to the effective date of laws" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 1, par. 1201 et seq.). As amended, sections 1(a) and 2 of that act provide in pertinent part as follows:
"§ 1. (a) A bill passed prior to July 1 of a calendar year that does not provide for an effective date in the terms of the bill shall become effective on January 1 of the following year, or upon its becoming law, whichever is later." ...