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Tuesday, February 18, 2020     Two binding PAC opinions in the span of one week! Last week we reported on PAC 20-001 that found a public body in violation of the OMA for failing to timely approve meeting minutes. Today, we report on PAC 20-002 in which the PAC found a public body in violation of FOIA for failing to respond to a FOIA request and to the PAC’s request for review. Nothing groundbreaking or new here – public bodies are obligated to respond to FOIA requests.…
Friday, February 14, 2020     You may have read about this story in the news recently. Last week, a number of news agencies reported that the Burlington, Vermont Police Chief was forced to resign from her position for creating and using fake Facebook accounts. What is interesting about this story is that the Chief’s predecessor had also resigned from office last December after admitting he had created a fake Twitter account that appeared to focus on a blogger who was critical of the police department. After the current Chief was promoted to replace the outgoing Chief, she also admitted…
  Thursday, February 13, 2020     Recorded live at the Chicago Children’s Museum, Ancel Glink attorneys join the Quorum Forum podcast to cover highlights from the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference! Podcasting from the top of a fire truck, Adam Simon covers park district finance, and regulating cannabis use and other controversial activities in parks. Then, Matt DiCianni discusses what cannabis means for parks employees, while Ashton Tunk talks about recent changes to the Freedom of Information Act.  Download the Cannabis Response Checklist for Parks Register for the Feb. 26 APA-CMS Bar Exam Planning Law Session: This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients…
Wednesday, February 12, 2020     The Illinois Public Access Counselor (PAC) just issued its first binding opinion of 2020. In PAC 20-001, the PAC found a public body in violation of the Open Meetings Act for failing to approve its meeting minutes in the time limits required by that statute. The public body had scheduled approval of its meeting minutes from 3 meetings in September at its November 12, 2019 meeting. A request for review was filed with the PAC claiming that the meeting minutes were not approved in the time period required by state statute. The PAC…
  Tuesday, February 11, 2020     Last Wednesday, an Illinois House committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that bans the use of red-light cameras in municipalities in the Chicago and St. Louis area. A similar bill was also introduced in the Illinois Senate that would include home rule municipalities in the ban. HB0322, if passed, would prohibit non-home rule units of government in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair, and Will from enacting or enforcing red light camera ordinances. Although it still needs to pass a full vote in the House and be…
Monday, February 10, 2020     As our readers know, the Illinois General Assembly previously enacted legislation to provide certain protections for small cell wireless providers to install their facilities. Those protections included restrictions on municipal control over the installation of these facilities. Most Illinois municipalities subsequently enacted ordinances to implement the statutory limitations and procedures on the approval process and standards for small cell wireless facilities. Recently, a bill was introduced in the Illinois House that would allow property owners to sign and submit a petition to the municipality demanding that the municipality hold a hearing prior to the…
Friday, February 07, 2020     In 2007, in conjunction with an IDOT right of way project, a municipality relocated a fire hyrdrant on private property. In 2011, the property owner contacted the municipality demanding $2500 for an easement to allow the hydrant to maintain on his property. The municipality countered with a $500 offer, which was rejected. Three years later, the property owner filed a lawsuit against the municipality. The court ruled in favor of the municipality, finding that the property owner filed his lawsuit too late. On appeal, the appellate court agreed with the ruling in favor of…
Thursday, February 06, 2020     The Illinois courts don’t often hear “takings” cases, which are usually brought in federal court. In a takings case, a property owner claims that his or her property rights have been “taken” by the government without just compensation in violation of their constitutional rights. That’s the claim property owners made against an Illinois municipality that operates an airport following an airport expansion project. Jackiewicz v. Village of Bolingbrook. A group of property owners who live near Clow International Airport brought a lawsuit against the Village of Bolingbrook, the owner and operator of the…
  Wednesday, January 29, 2020     There have been so many new bills introduced in the Illinois General Assembly recently that we can hardly keep track of them all. But, we thought our library readers might be interested in a new bill that, if passed, would amend the Library Records Confidentiality Act to expand the information that is prohibited from release beyond registration and circulation records to also protect from release “personal identifiable information” of a patron. That information would include a patron’s name, address, IP address, social security number, phone number, or email address.  SB 2523.…
Wednesday, January 22, 2020     The Village of Orion filed a nuisance action against a Village resident after sending notice to the resident alleging a violation of the Village Code provisions prohibiting more than three cats on a property. The notice came after the state had charged the resident with harboring more than 70 cats on her property. The Village asked the court to issue an order to abate the nuisance and require the resident to comply with the Village Code. The trial court dismissed the case, holding that the Village did not have authority to bring a nuisance…
  Tuesday, January 21, 2020     In Coldwater v. Village of Elwood, an appellate court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against the Village claiming that the Village’s annexation of property was invalid because the legal description included with the annexation ordinance was incorrect. The plaintiff had filed a lawsuit to nullify a corrected version of the annexation ordinance. The Village filed a motion to dismiss, claiming the lawsuit was filed too late because it was not within the one year statute of limitations in the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-1-46). The trial court agreed, and dismissed the…
The recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois was tied to the imposition of a number of new taxes imposed at the state, county, and municipal level. A recent bill, if passed, would also authorize library districts to impose their own 1% tax on the sale of recreational cannabis. HB 4135.   If a library district imposes such a tax, the bill mandates that any applicable tax imposed by the county in which the library district is located be reduced by 1% and that all municipalities in the county in which the library district is located must also reduce their…
Wednesday, January 15, 2020     Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Rushton v. Department of Corrections, 2019 IL 124552, that a settlement agreement between a private healthcare provider who contracted with the state to provide medical services to prison inmates and the estate of an inmate who died is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. A journalist for the Illinois Times filed a FOIA request with the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) seeking settlement agreements involving the death of a former inmate at Taylorville Correctional Center, including those that involved private entities who were charged…
  Tuesday, January 14, 2020     There are inevitably a few bills introduced in the Illinois legislature each year that are bound to raise an eyebrow or two. Last week, HB 4065 was introduced in the Illinois House that would create the Public Official Body Camera Act.  If passed, the new law would require all public officials (elected and appointed) in the state to wear body cameras whenever officials are engaged in official duties. The recordings would be exempt from FOIA but would not be exempt from use in legislative, administrative, or other proceedings. Incredibly, the bill contains no exceptions to when…
Monday, January 13, 2020     Chicago received a lump of coal days before Christmas as the Illinois Supreme Court invalidated a 2016 city-wide tax on “other tobacco products” (such as e-cigarettes) in Iwan Ries & CO. v. City of Chicago. The Illinois Municipal Code allows not preempt a home rule municipality to impose a tax on the number of units of cigarettes or tobacco products (provided, however, that a home rule municipality that has not imposed a tax based on the number of units of cigarettes or of units of cigarettes or tobacco products before July 1, 1993, shall…
  Friday, January 10, 2020     The owner of land filed an application with the Village seeking zoning variances to allow the subdivision of their property (consisting of 37,969.42 square feet in area) into 3 lots. The variances were needed because the newly created lots did not comply with the 60 foot lot width requirement and would not have street frontage. The ZBA held a public hearing on the proposed variances and recommended 4 to 2 in favor of the variances. The Village Board, however, denied the requested variances by a vote of 5 to 1. The owner then filed…