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Wednesday, November 06, 2019     We previously reported on a case that made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court involving a challenge to the City of Chicago’s food truck ordinance. As we reported in the past, the operator of a cupcake food truck had challenged the ordinance on various grounds, including that the ordinance treated food trucks less favorably than traditional restaurants by prohibiting food trucks from locating within 200 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant with limited exceptions. The trial and appellate courts had rejected the food truck’s claims, and the Illinois Supreme Court also upheld…
  Tuesday, November 05, 2019     In yet another installment in a never-ending saga of “be careful what you post on social media,” a 23-year old employee of a stone company claims he was fired after posting the following meme on his Facebook page: As you can see from one of the comments and then the employee’s response, the employee seemed surprised that the posting might create an issue with his job as in his view, he simply “shared a funny meme” while off-duty. But, as we have seen through other examples of similar social media postings, not all personal…
  Monday, November 04, 2019     Last week, the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s office issued two new binding FOIA opinions.  In PAC Op. 19-010, the PAC found a city in violation of FOIA for denying a request for body camera recordings. relating to an attempted arrest. The city had released other records relating to the incident, but withheld the body camera recordings, citing the Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act and the FOIA exemptions that protect records when there is an open criminal investigation. The county states attorney also supported the city’s withholding of the recordings.…
  Friday, November 01, 2019     You may recall that we reported on a new excise tax enacted by the Illinois General Assembly that would impose a state tax on the use of parking facilities. As we noted in our post, the Act applies to any “person” who operates a parking area or parking garage as defined by the Act. The definition of person does not reference municipalities or other units of local government, so it seemed that the tax would  not apply to municipal parking garages and lots. As we noted in our previous report, we reached out to…
Thursday, October 31, 2019       On October 29, 2019, legislation was filed (Senate Bill 616, Senate Amd. #1) to implement the consolidation of the Downstate Police and Fire Pension Funds created by Articles 3 and 4 of the Pension Code. While this is only the initial draft of the legislation, the most meaningful takeaways from the bill are summarized below. In reviewing the changes, it is important to recognize that this bill is designed only to convert the local pension investment model into one more similar to IMRF.  As a result, there are certain compromises that…
  Thursday, October 31, 2019     On October 29, 2019, legislation was filed (Senate Bill 616, Senate Amd. #1) to implement the consolidation of the Downstate Police and Fire Pension Funds created by Articles 3 and 4 of the Pension Code. While this is only the initial draft of the legislation, the most meaningful takeaways from the bill are summarized below. In reviewing the changes, it is important to recognize that this bill is designed only to convert the local pension investment model into one more similar to IMRF.  As a result, there are certain compromises that make this only…
  Wednesday, October 23, 2019     In the recent PAC Opinion 19-007, the PAC found a public body in violation of FOIA when it refused to hand over manganese reports of a business entity in response to a FOIA request.  The FOIA request came in response to a city ordinance requiring all manganese-bearing materials operators provide the city with quarterly reports concerning the amount of material being handled at their facilities. The city refused to hand over the manganese reports of the private entity, claiming that the reports contain sensitive business information that fell under section 7(1)(g) of FOIA’s…
  Thursday, October 17, 2019     In a decision that could be of interest to municipalities seeking to combat the growing drug epidemic, a federal court in Pennsylvania recently ruled that safehouses do not violate the Controlled Substances Act when they provide facilities where drugs are used under monitored, sterile conditions. U.S. v. Safehouse. Safehouse, a nonprofit directed at fighting drug addiction and overdose, sought to open an “Overdose Prevention Site” to offer a variety of services aimed at preventing the spread of disease, administering medical care, and encouraging drug users to enter treatment. Specifically, the Safehouse facility plans…
  Tuesday, October 15, 2019     In Briggs v. Potter County, a federal court of appeals addressed a political retaliation claim involving correctional officers at a county jail in Pennsylvania after a contentious primary election that involved their boss, the chief deputy sheriff. Hunt and Briggs—both correctional officers at the jail—ran against Drake, the incumbent Chief Deputy Sheriff. Drake had recently retired from the Pennsylvania State Police and was appointed as Chief Deputy Sheriff, which was how the last three sheriffs were elected. As the primary campaign progressed, Hunt and Briggs were publicly outspoken about this method of electing sheriffs.…
  Monday, October 14, 2019     Recreational marijuana is coming to Illinois on January 1, 2020, and local governments have a lot of questions about implementation of the new law and how it will impact communities. At this year’s Illinois-APA conference in Evanston, Ancel Glink attorneys participated in a Q&A with Illinois planners about recreational marijuana. That Q&A is now available as a “special meeting” on Quorum Forum Podcast Episode 30, which you can access here. Do you have questions about recreational cannabis? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com.…
  Friday, October 11, 2019     The City of West Bend, Wisconsin owns and operates a public park that includes a man-made swimming pond. The pond is divided into 3 zones, including a children’s play area, a diving area, and a general swimming area. Six year old Swannie Her was at the park with her family when she left the children’s play area of the pond to enter the diving area. She was found unresponsive at the bottom of the pond, and later died. Shortly thereafter, her family sued the City in federal court, claiming among other things that the…
  Thursday, October 10, 2019     Last Thursday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a class action suit brought against the City of Santa Monica that challenged the City’s short-term rental ordinance on the basis of the dormant Commerce Clause. Rosenblatt v. City of Santa Monica. The City’s ordinance prohibits property rentals of 30 days or less but has an exception for rentals where a primary resident remains on the property. A resident and homeowner in Santa Monica who rents out her house on Airbnb filed a lawsuit against the City claiming that the ordinance directly and indirectly…
  Wednesday, October 09, 2019     The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority owns the Mohegan Sun Arena, a large event space in Pennsylvania. The publicly-owned arena hosts athletic and other entertainment events. The arena’s “protest policy” allows people to express their views, subject to several limitations. These include (1) requiring protesters to stand in designated areas on the concourse, (2) prohibiting protesters from using profanity or vulgarity, and (3) prohibiting any artificial voice amplification.  An animal rights activist and organization protesting a circus event sued the Authority contenting that the protest policy violated the First Amendment. The district court agreed,…
  Tuesday, October 08, 2019     The City of Chicago, like many other Illinois home rule municipalities, imposes a real estate transfer tax on the transfer of real property in the City. A group of residents recently challenged the City’s imposition of that tax on transfers to and from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, arguing that the tax was preempted by federal law that expressly exempts governmental entities from state and local taxation. The City defended its tax, arguing that these organizations were not “governmental bodies” so they were not exempt from taxation. In a recent ruling, the Appellate Court…
  Monday, October 07, 2019     The City of Chicago has enacted a 9% “amusement tax” which it imposes on a wide variety of “amusements” in the City of Chicago. In 2015, the City issued Ruling 5, which expanded the scope of the amusement tax to include amusements that are delivered electronically to patrons in the City, which include the privilege of watching electronically delivered television shows, movies, or videos; the privilege of listening to electronically delivered music; and the privilege of participating in games, online or otherwise.  A group of Chicago residents challenged the constitutionality of the amusement tax…
  Friday, October 04, 2019     The latest Quorum Forum podcast was recorded live from Kitty O’Shea’s at the 2019 Illinois Municipal League Conference! State Rep. Chris Welch and Kurt Asprooth join us to discuss sports betting and gaming, while Keri-Lyn Krafthefer discusses government transparency and watchdog groups. Finally, Matt DiCianni takes a look at the future of local government websites.  You can access Episode 29 here. What interesting things did you learn at IML this year? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com!  This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is…