BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Telecommunications companies may soon be able to lawfully trample on property owners’ rights thanks to S.B. 2237, a bill which would allow telecommunications companies to install their cable and equipment in road rights-of-way without negotiating an easement with the landowner.
“Currently, telecommunications companies are required to negotiate an easement with the landowner if they own the land in the right-of-way,” said Mark Gebhards, executive director, Governmental Affairs and Commodities, Illinois Farm Bureau. “This bill would allow the telecommunications companies to access that land without an easement in most cases.”
What’s more, the legislation doesn’t make it easy for landowners to ensure that repairs to damages made during installation, like damages made to drain tile, are made appropriately and in a timely fashion, Gebhards added.
“Any bill that does not include a process for providing fair compensation is just wrong,” Gebhards said. “Landowners still own the land included in the right-of-way, so allowing telecommunications companies to install without fair compensation is unconstitutional taking of property.”
The legislation has passed the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee and may soon be called for a full Senate vote. Illinois Farm Bureau is asking farmers and landowners to call their state senators now through Thursday, April 14 to urge them to vote “no” on S.B. 2237.
Landowners who wish to contact their state senators in opposition to S.B. 2237 can obtain contact information on the Illinois Farm Bureau Legislative Action Center at www.ilfb.org/5138, or visit the Illinois General Assembly website at www.ilga.gov. Landowners also may call their senators’ Springfield offices at 877-422-8424 and ask
the phone operator to transfer them to their respective state senators.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of more than 82,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.