Nauvoo operates under the “Home Rule” form of government.

In Illinois, home rule is the State constitutional authority of local governments to self-govern provided the General Assembly did not explicitly limit that power or maintain the exclusive exercise of authority in a specific area. Home rule municipalities “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”without specific statutory authority. Prior to July 1, 1971 – the effective date of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 – Illinois municipalities were limited in their authority to regulate by what was commonly referred to as Dillon’s Rule.

Dillon’s Rule provides that municipalities possess only those powers expressly granted, powers incident to those expressly granted, and powers indispensable to the accomplishment of the declared objects and purposes of the municipal corporation. Non-home rule municipalities are still required to operate under Dillon’s Rule but with some additional authority offered by Section 7, of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.

However, home rule municipalities have the power to self-govern in areas that are uniquely local in nature. Therefore, home rule municipalities in Illinois have the ability to regulate on any subject that is of local concern provided the regulation thereof is not limited or prohibited by federal or state statute or constitutional provision. In Illinois, the only exceptions to self-governance are:

  1. If the General Assembly explicitly limits or prohibits the exercise of authority in a specific area;
  2. To incur debt payable from ad valorem property tax receipts maturing more than 40 years from the time it is incurred;
  3. To define and provide for the punishment of a felony;
  4. Providing for imprisonment of over six months, unless otherwise authorized by statute;
  5. Licensing for revenue;
  6. Imposing taxes measured by income, earnings, or upon occupations, unless otherwise authorized by law;
  7. Providing for officers, their manner of selection and terms of office, except as approved by referendum or otherwise authorized by law; or
  8. Anything that may violate the provisions of the federal or state constitutions