Legislation Introduced to Regulate Migrant Busing Within Illinois


On April 17, 2024, Representative Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) filed HA#2 to HB 588 to create the Regulation of Intercity Buses Act.

The amendment proposes to "protect the health and safety of people traveling on intercity buses by regulating when and where carriers, operators and bus drivers can load and unload passengers." The amendment is permissive in nature and would afford counties and municipalities with an additional measure of control over where and when migrants are bussed into their jurisdictions. 

Ultimately, the amendment would provide that designated transportation officials in counties and municipalities have the option to identify one or more landing zones where intracity buses are permitted to load and unload passengers. These landing zones must be posted on the website of the county or municipality (if it has one) and in the primary office of the county or municipality. Each landing zone must provide lawful access to a heated and sheltered premise from November 1 through April 30.

The amendment would also establish designated days and hours for loading or unloading passengers at the landing zones. The designated days and hours for loading or unloading passengers would be between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on eligible weekdays (any weekday other than a State holiday). The designated transportation official may shorten the designated days and hours to a minimum of a 5-hour time period between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, each eligible weekday. 

Designated transportation officials would be required to comply with specified posting requirements involving the county or municipal website and primary office when changing landing zones or shortening the number of days or hours that passengers can be loaded or unloaded from buses. In each case, 7-days notice must be provided in advance of a change. 

For instances when a county or municipality does not identify a landing zone, an intercity bus could not load or unload passengers outside the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm each eligible weekday at a location where passengers do not have immediate and lawful access to a heated and sheltered premise from November 1 through April 30.

Under the amendment, non-home rule counties and municipalities would be allowed to adopt ordinances to regulate the operations of intercity buses pertaining to the loading or unloading of passengers in a manner more restrictive than what is provided under the Act. The amendment specifies what such ordinances can include. Home rule counties (Cook) and municipalities are not permitted to regulate intercity buses in a manner less restrictive than the Act.

The proposed amendment includes penalties and a civil cause for of action for the offense of unlawfully operating an intercity bus that loads or unloads passengers in a county or municipality in violation of the Act. The Act can be enforced by state and local law enforcement. The Attorney General would also be permitted to investigate alleged or suspected violations of the Act.

ISACo supports HA#2 to HB 588 based on it being a permissive grant of authority for counties to more proactively establish the locations and times that migrants can be transported into their jurisdictions by bus.