Government

Yesterday we reported on three bills that propose to amend FOIA. Today, we report on 2 other bills that affect local government meetings. HB 5013: A bill was recently introduced that would amend the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that municipalities cannot prohibit persons from addressing individual city council members, municipal officials, or municipal staff members at public meetings. The legislation would allow municipalities to impose regulations on when persons can speak at a meeting. As you know, the Open Meetings Act already requires public bodies (including municipalities) to provide an opportunity for persons to address public officials at…
We have seen a number of bills introduced in the Illinois house that propose various amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Below is a summary of three of these bills: HB 5020: HB 5020, if passed, would amend FOIA to require public bodies to take all reasonable steps to provide requested records in a format that is “readable” by the requester. That includes making the record available in any format that is available to the public body. As you know, FOIA already requires public bodies to provide requested records in the electronic format specified by the requester,…
A bill was introduced earlier this month that would require all public bodies in Illinois to audio record all of their meetings and retain those recordings for a period of a year. The Open Meetings Act already requires public bodies to take minutes of all meetings. The OMA also requires public bodies to record its closed or executive sessions and retain those recordings for 18 months. Finally, the OMA authorizes members of the public to record open meetings. This bill, if passed, would impose the additional requirement that public bodies audio record all open meetings. HB 4580. Municipal Minute…
  Tuesday, February 25, 2020     Yesterday, we reported on a bill that, if passed, would require public bodies to post a list of government employees, consultants, and contractors who are paid $1,000 or more in a year. A companion bill was introduced on the same day that would also require public bodies to post on their websites a list of all entities who are paid more than $3,000 for products or services in a year, and that information would have to be updated monthly. If the public body has no website, then the vendor information would have to be…
Monday, February 24, 2020     As noted previously, there are a lot of bills being introduced in the Illinois General Assembly and we can’t possibly report on all of them. But, a bill that will be of interest to all local government units was introduced last week that would expand requirements for posting of employee compensation. As we all know, state law currently requires units of local government to post the “total compensation” of any government employee who makes $75,000 per year or more. This new bill would not amend that requirement, but would add an entirely new provision…
  Friday, February 21, 2020     On January 31, 2020, a Kane County judge denied a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the City of Aurora for ordering a group of 19 register child sexual offenders residing at Wayside Cross Ministries to vacate the property. In 2019, the group had filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Aurora (later refiled in state court) for trying to force the group to vacate their residence—less than 500 feet from a public park. The group argued the city violated their right to freedom of speech and the freedom of religion by enforcing an…
  Friday, February 21, 2020     Please note this post was modified on 2/25/2020 On January 31, 2020, a Kane County judge ruled in favor of the City of Aurora in denying a temporary restraining order (TRO) requested by Wayside Cross Ministries regarding the City’s enforcement of a state statute that prohibits a “registered child sex offender may not reside within 500 feet of a “playground, child care institution, day care center, part day child care facility, day care home, group day care home, or a facility providing programs or services exclusively directed toward persons under 18 years of age.”  In…
On the last day of 2019, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) released its last binding opinion of the year. In PAC Opinion 19-013, the PAC found the City of Bunker Hill in violation of Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for not providing an audiotape of an apparent gathering of public officials – a meeting of the Committee of the Whole which did not have a quorum but where City business was discussed. The PAC addressed the issue of whether the City violated FOIA by failing to provide a copy of the requested recording of the City’ s September 11,…
As we get closer to the March primary in Illinois, we are starting to see a few more election-related cases. One of these cases related to a challenge to a candidate’s petitions to be included on the ballot for the office of circuit court judge in Cook County that was decided last week. Oberholtzer v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, et al. Caroline Patricia Jamieson filed nominating papers to run as a candidate for the office of circuit court judge. An objection was filed against her nominating papers on the basis that the candidate failed to disclose on her nominating…
  Wednesday, February 19, 2020     In Shehadeh v. Downey, 2020 IL App (3d) 170158-U, a requester filed several FOIA requests with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), seeking a variety of records relating to the requester’s imprisonment at the Jerome Combs Detention Center (JCDC). He requested his inmate file, emails and text messages from both personal and work phones of KCSO employees, video footage of the correctional facility, and the internet search engine queries performed by KCSO staff. He later filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff and other KCSO employees under FOIA claiming the Sheriff refused one of…
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…