Government

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a jury verdict against the City of Chicago awarding $44.7 million in damages relating to a shooting by an off duty police officer. First Midwest Bank as Guardian v. City of Chicago. A Chicago police officer shot his friend during an argument when the two had been drinking. The friend suffered traumatic brain and other injuries. The friend sued the City of Chicago seeking damages for the shooting, arguing that the City was responsible for the officer’s conduct. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the City’s failure to have an “early warning system”…
Is your Board of Fire and Police Commissioners in compliance with the law in regard to party affiliations? The Illinois Municipal Code 65 ILCS 5/10 2.1 3, states in part that “No more than two members of the board shall belong to the same political party existing in such municipality at the time of such appointments as defined in 10-2 of the Election Code. If only one or no political party exists in such municipality at the time of such appointments, then state or national political party affiliations shall be considered in making appointments. Party affiliation shall be determined by affidavit…
In a rare binding PAC opinion in favor of a public body, the PAC found that a police department properly withhold records relating to alleged sexual offenses against a minor in PAC Op. 21-002. In October 2020, a reporter submitted a FOIA request to a police department seeking records about complaints or allegations involving a named person and a church from 2018 through 2020. The records concerned alleged sexual offenses perpetrated by an adult against a minor. The Department denied the request in its entirety citing FOIA exemptions 7(1)(a), 7(1)(b) and 7(1)(c). After the requestor appealed the denial to…
Election season is upon us again. Public entities should be aware of the legal restrictions on political signage: Electioneering outside the 100 foot campaign free zone is permitted “Electioneering” is conduct that urges a vote for or against a party, candidate, or issue or engaging in political discussion within 100 feet of a polling place. 10 ILCS 5/7-41(c), 5/17-29. Electioneering may take the form of either verbal communication or nonverbal communication – displaying signs, wearing campaign buttons, or distributing campaign literature. Sections 7-41 and 17-29 identify that the 100-foot zone runs from each entrance to the voting room itself, not the entire building.…
Yesterday, we reported on a few bills introduced in the Illinois General Assembly relating to local government liability and immunities. Today, we wanted to mention a few recently introduced bills that relate to local government zoning and land use authority. Many of these will look familiar as they or similar bills have been introduced in previous legislative sessions but were not ultimately enacted. HB 812 – Prohibiting Municipal Regulation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) If passed, this bill would prohibit local governments (including municipalities) from banning accessory dwelling units, sometimes referred to as granny flats, in-law suites, coach houses, and…
A number of bills were recently introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that could impact local governments. We wanted you to be aware of these so you can monitor their progress through the legislature. Eliminate Immunity for the Failure to Diagnose HB 454 would eliminate protections for local governments and public employees from liability caused by the failure to diagnose mental or physical illness. Codify the Public Duty Rule SB 95 would codify the public duty rule and restore protections for local governments and public employees. Readers will remember that the Illinois Supreme Court eliminated the public duty rule (which…
Each holiday season, an Indiana county allows private groups to set up a lighted Christmas display on the front lawn of its historic courthouse, typically consisting of a nativity scene, Santa Claus in his sleigh, reindeer, carolers and large candy-striped poles. Woodring, a county resident, sued the county to take down the nativity scene, arguing that the nativity scene violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause because it conveyed the county’s endorsement of a religious message. In response, the county agued that the nativity scene was part of its secular celebration of a public holiday. The district court sided with Woodring…
Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum Podcast just released Episode 49: Not in My Park! Regulating Park Activities. A summary of this episode is below: Park agencies manage many acres of public space where sometimes controversial activities take place. What authority does your organization have to regulate protests, public art, and more, while respecting the individual rights of park patrons? Find out as Adam Simon and Dan Bolin discuss during “Not in My Park!” proudly presented by Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights 2021 Virtual Conference! What controversial activities are impacting your parks? Email us at…
In 2018, the City of DeKalb approved a Preliminary Development Incentive Agreement (PDA) with a developer regarding potential financing for the redevelopment of property in the City. The PDA provided that if the developer met certain contingencies specified in the PDA, the City would provide an approximate $2,500,000 Development Incentive in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funding. The PDA imposed certain conditions and obligations on both parties before the agreement was final and prior to funds being distributed to the developer.  After conducting due diligence into the developer, the City Manager recommended that the City terminate the PDA, and the City…
Last week, the Cook County Board adopted an ordinance to enact landlord-tenant regulations in Cook County. Although the ordinance itself does not expressly regulate the conduct of municipalities within Cook County, the ordinance will still be of interest to municipalities because the scope of these new regulations are not limited to the unincorporated areas of Cook County. The approved ordinance, most of which goes into effect in June, includes among other provisions, the following: Provisions mirroring statutory restrictions that prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants who file complaints with government agencies or from evicting tenants without following the proper eviction…
Park agencies manage many acres of public space where sometimes controversial activities take place. What authority does your organization have to regulate protests, public art, and more, while respecting the individual rights of park patrons? Find out as Adam Simon and Dan Bolin discuss during “Not in my Park!” proudly presented by Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights 2021 Virtual Conference! What controversial activities are impacting your parks? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com! Quorum Forum · 49: Not in my Park! Regulating Controversial Park Activities
As new COVID cases continue to decline, Illinois has loosened and, in some cases, lifted the “tier” mitigation measures that were imposed in November. As of today, most of the State’s regions are now in Phase 4, with no additional tier restrictions (Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 are in Phase 4). Regions 8 and 9 (Lake, McHenry, Kane, and DuPage counties) are still in Tier 1, while Region 4 (St. Louis area) is in Tier 2. You can keep up on these changes by visiting the IDPH website here. Note that on February 2nd, the…
A number of bills were introduced last week that will likely be of interest to local governments. One of those bills deals with the “recall” of elected officials. Illinois HB 340 proposes to create the “Local Government Elected Officials Act” to provide a process for “recalling” (i.e., removing from office) elected local government officials who were elected during a consolidated election. Similar bills have been introduced in past legislative sessions but have never made it out of committee. Under this bill, a resident within the jurisdiction that the elected official represents would be allowed to file petitions with the local…
Last week, the United States Supreme Court held that the City of Chicago did not violate the automatic stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code when the City refused to return impounded vehicles to debtors. City of Chicago v. Fulton Under the Bankruptcy Code, when a debtor files a bankruptcy petition, that action creates an automatic stay that prohibits “any act to obtain possession of property of the [debtor’s] estate or to exercise control over” the debtor’s property. This provision is intended to protect the debtor’s assets and halts all collection activity while the bankruptcy proceeding moves forward. Like many other…
In September 2020, a requestor submitted a FOIA request seeking subpoenas received by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from federal agencies and search warrants served on CPD in August 2020. CPD denied the request as unduly burdensome, and subsequently offered the requestor an opportunity to submit a new FOIA request. After the requester’s attempts to confer with CPD to reduce the request to manageable proportions were ignored, the requestor appealed the denial of his FOIA request with the PAC. In PAC Op. 21-001, the first binding opinion of 2021, the PAC concluded that the CPD violated FOIA by improperly…
Earlier this month, a federal district court judge issued a ruling that will likely be of interest to municipalities that regulate or restrict solicitation on streets within their jurisdiction. Dumiak v. Village of Downers Grove. In 2019, after two individuals had been cited for soliciting money on Village streets, they filed a lawsuit against the Village of Downers Grove and various Village, State, and County officials to challenge the constitutionality of the ordinance that prohibited their activities. The Village had enacted an ordinance based on authorization in state statute, specifically 625 ILCS 5/11-1006. That statute prohibits persons from standing…