Government

Tuesday, December 10, 2019     As pretty much everyone in Illinois knows, January 1, 2020 is the first day that recreational cannabis will be legal in the state. Since the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was passed on June 25, 2019, a variety of concerns have been raised by municipalities, businesses, employers, and others regarding certain provisions of the Act, resulting in legislative discussions of a “trailer bill” to address some of these issues. We reported on this a couple of weeks ago here after both houses had approved it and it was sent to the Governor for his…
Monday, December 09, 2019     We don’t see a lot of FOIA court cases – most of our guidance on FOIA comes from PAC opinions, both binding and advisory. Recently, however, an Illinois appellate court addressed a FOIA dispute in MAP v. City of Crystal Lake (unreported opinion). In this case, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP) had filed a FOIA request with the City requesting attorney billing records and meeting minutes relating to a lawsuit involving the termination and subsequent reinstatement of police officers. The City provided the meeting minutes but denied the request for the attorney invoices…
  Tuesday, December 03, 2019     From Ancel Glink’s labor and employment law blog The Workplace Report with Ancel Glink: Last week the 3rd District Appellate Court affirmed the practice of a number of municipalities who limit their PSEBA recipients to only their “basic,” or lowest level, health insurance plan. In Esser v. City of Peoria, the plaintiff, a former police officer, had suffered a catastrophic injury as defined under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”). He received a duty disability and applied for and was ultimately found eligible for benefits under PSEBA, which states in pertinent part,…
  Monday, December 02, 2019     It’s December, which means there’s less than a month until the New Year and compliance with any new laws taking effective in 2020. We’ll be reporting on a few of these over the next few weeks, starting with changes to employment laws that affect local government employers. P.A. 101-0221 was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2019. The Act made numerous changes to various employment laws. We have summarized two of these changes that affect local governments below, both of which require affirmative action by July 1, 2020.  Elected Official Allegations of Sexual…
Tuesday, November 26, 2019     In a recent advisory (non-binding) PAC opinion, the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s office found in favor of a public body in a FOIA dispute involving a request for “internet logs.” 2019 PAC 58425 A requester had filed a FOIA request asking a township to provide copies of “internet activity logs” of the supervisor and board of trustees. After the township responded that it had no responsive records, the requester filed a request for review with the PAC. The township responded that it had contacted its IT consultant to search the township’s…
Monday, November 25, 2019       In Village of Campton Hills v. Comcast, the Illinois Appellate Court clarified the application of Section 5-1095 of the Counties Code and awarded five-year’s worth of franchise fees to the Village. The facts in this case occurred over a long period of time. Originally, the County and Comcast approved a cable franchise in 1988 that had a 15 year term. The franchise agreement covered unincorporated territory which included an area that later came within the boundaries of the Village. Once the original term expired, the County adopted a series of one year…
Friday, November 22, 2019     Yesterday we reported on a bill that would modify the state ethics statutes. The General Assembly also passed HRJ 93 to create a joint commission of the Illinois house and senate to review and make additional recommendations for changes to various state ethics statutes, including the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, the Lobbyist Registration Act, and the Public Officers Prohibited Political Activities Act. Because many of these state statutes also apply to local government officials and employees, this commission and its findings will be of great interest to…
  Thursday, November 21, 2019     Illinois SB 730 was just passed by the General Assembly and is now at the Governor’s office awaiting signature. The bill proposes a number of changes to the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, including one that would impact units of local government. If signed, the bill would establish a set date each year (on or before February 1st) by which the chief administrative officer of a unit of local government must file with the county clerk the names of those officers and employees who must file statements of economic interest with the local government unit…
  Wednesday, November 20, 2019     During last week’s veto session, the General Assembly approved a “trailer bill” making technical and other changes to the legislation passed earlier this year authorizing recreational cannabis in Illinois. While the trailer bill still awaits the Governor’s signature as of this writing, local governments should start thinking about how the bill may affect their responses to recreational cannabis. Cannabis Businesses Regulations On-Premises Consumption The trailer bill clarifies that municipalities may authorize on-premises consumption at a cannabis dispensary or at a “retail tobacco store” as defined in the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Many…
Tuesday, November 19, 2019     Last week, we reported on draft legislation to amend the new parking excise tax statute that would make it clear that municipalities and other units of government are exempt from the excise tax – an issue that many local governments had raised since the initial legislation was enacted. Unfortunately, the legislative “fix” has not yet been enacted and it’s getting closer and closer to the January 1st effective date of the parking tax. Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Revenue issued draft rules on implementation of the parking excise tax that may address some…
Monday, November 18, 2019     The PAC issued its 12th binding opinion last week finding a municipality in violation of OMA for not identifying the general subject matter of an ordinance that was voted on at a city council meeting agenda. PAC Op. 19-012. A complaint was filed with the PAC after an August 20, 2019 city council meeting where the council voted on an ordinance that increased permit application fees. The complainant argued that the agenda was not sufficiently descriptive to provide the public with advance notice of the general subject matter of the ordinance to be…
Friday, November 15, 2019     A number of new bills are being introduced in the Illinois General Assembly, including some intended to address major pieces of legislation passed earlier this year, including the recreational cannabis law and the leveling the playing field statute that imposed numerous new taxes on Illinois residents. We will report on those as they move forward. Other bills with less public profile are also being introduced, including one that would affect municipal authority. If passed, SB 2308 would prohibit municipalities and counties from requiring a permit for the installation of a battery-charged fence alarm or…
Thursday, November 14, 2019     You will recall that we reported previously (here and here) on the new state legislation that imposed a parking excise tax on parking garages and lots. That tax would range between 6% and 9%, depending on the parking fee. We raised a question as to whether the tax would apply to municipally-owned and operated commuter lots and garages. In our opinion, the language of the statute was not broad enough to apply to lots and garages operated by government entities. However, there appeared to be some confusion about that at the state…
Monday, November 11, 2019     We have been getting a number of questions from our local government clients about employment-related issues with the upcoming legalization of cannabis in Illinois. The Workplace Report with Ancel Glink (our sister blog on labor and employment issues) recently posted a very helpful “FAQ”  on this very issue, answering a number of these questions. You can read the blog post on that blog here or below. Don’t forget to visit The Workplace Report with Ancel Glink and subscribe! The unknown impact of adult-use cannabis and the workplace remains a rich source of discussion among…
Ancel Glink litigation partner Ellen Emery joins us for a meeting at the dog park to preview the 2019 Illinois Association of Park Districts Legal Symposium and significant court decisions affecting your district’s day-to-day operations. Later, we adjourn to closed session to talk about what local governments should know about the Open Meetings Act exception for discussing litigation. What questions do you have about discussing litigation in closed session? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com!  IAPD Legal Symposium, Nov. 14:  https://www.ilparks.org/page/legalsymposium
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…