Local Government Lowdown

Get insights and analysis on all the latest Illinois government legal news from Tressler’s local attorneys.

We are pleased to invite you to our upcoming virtual Tressler Talk: Reconsidering Student Discipline and the Role of Restorative Justice Practices Thursday, August 5, 20211:00-2:00pm CT Join us for this complimentary webinar to learn about the history of student discipline in the school setting, the current state of student discipline and expectations for the 2021-2022 school year, including the role of restorative practices.This presentation will combine the legal insight of Tressler education attorneys Elizabeth Wagman, Kathleen Gibbons and Darcy Proctor with the renowned restorative justice experience of Dr. Robert Spicer. Participants will come away from this engaging presentation understanding…
In a decision earlier last week, in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a student cheerleader’s off-campus F-bombs about her school is protected speech under the First Amendment. The speech involved a series of F-bombs issued in 2017 on Snapchat by Brandi Levy, then a 14-year-old cheerleader, who failed to make the varsity cheer team at her Pennsylvania School. In response, Levy posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird to the camera, along with a message that said, “F***the school, F***cheer, F***everything.” The posts were made on Levy’s personal cell…
On June 11, 2021, the State of Illinois officially moved into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan. This means that all businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, seated spectator events and more can resume operating at full capacity. Additionally, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no longer an outdoor mask requirement and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) guidance that has been governing business operations throughout the pandemic is discontinued, allowing businesses to return to their normal business practices. Per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Phase 5 Guidance for Businesses and
Before an election, some municipalities will supply a packet of information to prospective candidates indicating the number of signatures required by law to be placed on a ballot. However, can a prospective candidate rely on the number of required signatures provided by the municipality? The answer is… no! A controversy arose out of the Village of Glendale Heights where the Village Clerk distributed candidate packets with the wrong information in them.  The Clerk had reviewed the State Board of Elections Candidate’s Guide and apparently misinterpreted the filing requirements regarding the number of signatures for a petition. 10 ILCS 5/10-3 of the…
In Greer v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 200429, the appellate court found that reviewing 28,000 pages of records responsive to a FOIA request was not unduly burdensome. On October 12, 2018, Tyrone Greer (“Greer”) submitted a FOIA request to the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (“Board”) seeking records related to racial discrimination claims he made between 1999 and 2005. There were approximately 28,000 pages of records responsive to Greer’s request that would need to be reviewed for potential exemptions. The Board asked Greer to narrow his request, but Greer…
The Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 420/4A-101 et seq., requires certain local government officials and employees to file a verified written statement of economic interests (“Statement of Economic Interests”) on or before May 1st of each year. In most cases, the Statement of Economic Interests must be filed with the County Clerk of the county in which the principal office of the unit of government with which the person is associated is located. If you are required to file a Statement of Economic Interests, then you should have received notice from your County Clerk’s office. If a Statement of Economic Interests is…
On March 23, 2021, the Governor signed legislation into effect amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to prohibit employers from barring applicants with conviction records from employment opportunities. Employers are now required to participate in an interactive process with the applicant/employee to determine whether there is a substantial relationship or unreasonable risk between the conviction noted in the records and the employment opportunity. The amendment provides employees the right to receive written notice of the employer’s determination with an explanation of the decision. Additionally, the employee/applicant is now provided an opportunity to respond with information on mitigating measures that may impact the…
Last week, a Federal Judge dismissed Section 1983 civil rights violation claims against Evanston Township High School district officials. The dismissed claims include violations of due process, equal protection and Title IX. Claims alleging that administrators failed to supervise security guards, resulting in sexual abuse by security guards, were allowed to stand. The suit, filed on behalf of a former student and her mother, alleges that the district’s employees had a “code of silence” that allowed security guards to commit acts of sexual violence against female high school students. Aside from the security guards, defendants include the district’s superintendent and…
On March 4, 2021, the PAC issued a binding opinion finding a City Council in violation of the Open Meetings Act when it went into closed session under the “probable or imminent litigation” exception, Section 2(c)(11) of the OMA and the exact wording is as follows: (11) Litigation, when an action against, affecting or on behalf of the particular public body has been filed and is pending before a court or administrative tribunal, or when the public body finds that an action is probable or imminent, in which case the basis for the finding shall be recorded and entered into the…
Does your school district provide special education services to students 18 to 21? If so, it is important that you keep a close eye on HB-0040. This bill was recently introduced into the House of Representatives and proposes to amend the Children with Disabilities Article of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/14-1.02). The current statutory language affords a student with a disability the right to continue to receive special education services from their school district until the day before their 22nd birthday. The new amendment will expand this timeline and allow a student who turns 22 during the school year…
A recent ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a $44.7 million verdict against the City of Chicago after a Jury found the City liable for one of its officer’s actions while off duty. In First Midwest Bank as Guardian v. City of Chicago, the Plaintiff, a shooting victim, sued the City of Chicago after he was shot during an argument by his friend, a Chicago police officer. Plaintiff claimed that the City failed to have an “early warning system” that identified officers who might commit misconduct, failed to adequately investigate and discipline officers who engage in misconduct…
In Hickey v. Protective Life Corp., No. 20-1076, 2021 WL 525088, (7th Cir. Feb. 12, 2021), the 7th Circuit affirmed the district court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendant-employer in the plaintiff-employee’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case in which he alleged that his performance reviews were negatively impacted by his taking an FMLA leave in violation of 29 C.F.R. §825.220(c) (stating that “employers cannot use the taking of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions or disciplinary actions”), and upon his return from leave, he was not restored “to an…
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…
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.…
The First District Appellate Court recently affirmed a Cook County decision that reinforces the immunities granted to municipalities under the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act (EMS Act). Section 3.150(a) of the EMS Act provides immunity from civil liability for acts or omissions committed by any certified, licensed, or authorized person, agency, or governmental body who in good faith provides emergency or non-emergency medical services in the normal course of conducting its duties or in an emergency unless these acts or omissions constitute willful and wanton misconduct. Amanda Gary died 10 days after she received initial treatment from Calumet City…
On January 11, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided the Federal Register with its final rules aimed at updating the conciliation process. Conciliation is a voluntary process aimed at resolving employment discrimination charges in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Currently, less than half of the charges where the EEOC determines claims of discrimination to be founded utilize conciliation.  Failure to participate in conciliation can lead to the EEOC pursuing litigation against the employer/respondent. The revisions to the conciliation procedures aim to create a more transparent process that will afford the respondent/employer with more information as to the EEOC determination. The…