Local Government Lowdown

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

Change To The Open Meetings Act Exemption Regarding Employment The Governor recently signed an amendment to the Open Meetings Act into law effective immediately. 5 ILCS 120/2(c). The law had allowed public bodies to go into closed session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees.  The amendment now extends that not only to employees of a public body but also those specific individuals who serve as independent contractors in a park, recreational or educational setting or specific volunteers of the public body.  Boards should be reminded that this exemption does not permit generic discussions…
The Tort Immunity Act is a useful tool for all public entities. Plaintiff attorneys who do not understand its impact often fail to understand that mere negligence is insufficient under the Act. Willful and wanton conduct is the standard for liability in most instances. The following case demonstrates that calling something willful and wanton does not make it so. Samantha Biancorosso, a sixth-grade student at Troy Community Consolidated School District No. 30C, was injured during cheerleading practice while attempting a stunt. The stunt involved Samantha, acting as a “flyer,” standing above the squad while other cheerleaders acted as a base,…
The Illinois statute found at 105 ILCS 5/10-20.19c imposes certain requirements on Illinois school districts regarding recycled paper and paper products and solid waste management (“School Recycled Paper and Solid Waste Reduction Law”), with an apparently significant deadline approaching in mid-2020. Section (a-5) of the statute provides that: Each school district must periodically review its procurement procedures and specifications regarding the purchase of products and supplies; Those procedures and specifications must be modified to require the school district to seek out products and supplies that contain recycled materials and to ensure that purchased product and supplies are reusable, durable or…
The Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (EPA) already prohibits employers from paying unequal wages to men and women for doing the same or substantially similar work. (820 ILCS 112/1 et seq.) It also prohibits employers from paying African American employees less than other employees under the same circumstances. On September 29, 2019, Illinois will join a short list of progressive states when a recent amendment to the EPA goes into effect to prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. (Public Act 101-0177.) Broad Prohibitions In The New EPA It will prohibit all Illinois employers from: Using…
In a surprisingly cutting-edge move, the State of Illinois has enacted the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act.  Public Act 101-260 becomes effective January 1, 2020. An employer seeking to record video interviews and use artificial intelligence to analyze job applicant videos must, before the interview, 1) notify each applicant that artificial intelligence may be used to analyze the applicant’s video interview and consider the applicant’s fitness for the position; and 2) provide the applicant with information of how the artificial intelligence works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants; and 3) obtain consent from the applicant to so evaluated.…
The Illinois legislature recently passed Senate Bill 0075 – a sweeping piece of legislation expected to significantly alter the employment landscape for Illinois employers in 2020. This massive bill, over 195 pages in length, creates the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act aimed at protecting both public and private sector employees from unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The bill was sent to Governor J.B. Pritzker on June 10, 2019, for his approval/signature. If the Governor signs the bill into law, the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act becomes effective on January 1, 2020. This article highlights some of the new obligations for…
On June 26, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill (HB) 1438, legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state of Illinois. The “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act” will go into effect on January 1, 2020. You can hang it on your office wall as surely as you hung that Jimi Hendrix poster on your bedroom wall back in the ‘70s. Soon adults age 21 years and older may legally possess and consume cannabis, cannabis concentrate, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in cannabis-infused products.  While debate still rages over whether the new law will fix the old budget problems without creating new social ones  its advocates predict a booming business generating up to $700 million in annual tax revenue for the state, while its detractors doubt the numbers and fret the consequences – most expect recreational marijuana use will quickly blossom in the great state of Illinois.  Meanwhile, Illinois employers – still grappling with the…
In Nieves v. Bartlett, the United States Supreme Court denied permitting an arrestee, Russell Bartlett, a cause of action for retaliatory arrest against the two arresting police officers.  Nieves v. Bartlett, 587 U.S. _____, No. 17-1174 (2019).  Bartlett was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest by Sgt. Nieves and Trooper Weight during Paxson, Alaska’s annual “Arctic Man” festival.  The arresting officers stated Bartlett was “highly intoxicated,” yelling and being aggressive at the time of his arrest. “Arctic Man” being, according to the Supreme Court, an annual event known for extreme sports and extreme intoxication attracting some 10,000 people.   At 1:30…
Dorothy Crawley was a tenured teacher at Wells Preparatory Elementary School.  After receiving an anonymous tip that she had used sick days to take a Caribbean cruise, the Chicago School Board investigated and then filed charges against her alleging that, among other things, she made false representations in her employment record, violated Board policy prohibiting the use of sick days for personal time and engaged in conduct unbecoming of a school employee. The Board recommended immediate dismissal for cause. At a hearing on the charges, Ms. Crawley first admitted that she knew about the sick leave policy but claimed she…
The Illinois appellate court in The People of the State of Illinois v. Rory John Swenson, 2019 IL App (2d) 160960 (February 28, 2019), affirmed a trial court’s disorderly-conduct conviction of Rory John Swenson (“Defendant”) for charges stemming from his fifteen-minute phone conversation with an employee at Keith Country Day School (the “School”). Defendant spoke with the School’s director of advancement, Monica Krysztopa, because he was interested in enrolling his second-grade son. Krysztopa testified that during their phone conversation, Defendant made several disturbing comments about shooting children which left her “very shook up.” The School went into a “soft lockdown”…
Often when police departments are looking for qualified candidates, many times applicants are certified out of state police officers. Thus, the question is, how does a municipality proceed with such a candidate? The municipality may have the candidate complete the Illinois Law Enforcement Basic Training Course or, another option is to request a conditional waiver of Illinois Basic Law Enforcement Training if the officer meets the conditions as set out by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB). The following are the requirements for such a waiver: Summary of Conditions: Candidates must first be hired by a law…
The Third District Appellate Court recently confronted the following question: is an injury suffered during a simulated emergency the same as a genuine emergency under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, 820 ILCS 320/10 (the “Act”)? The answer – it depends. During a field simulation for mandatory riot training, a Peoria police officer slipped and fell on icy pavement, injuring her head. According to the officer, she treated the simulation as a “real life” emergency, as instructed, and continued with the riot training. Later seeking medical treatment, it was determined that she suffered a career-ending “catastrophic injury”. The Act…
The Illinois Municipal Code requires the all municipalities to publish the municipality’s zoning map each year no later than March 31st.  65 ILCS 5/11-13-19.  This specific requirement is set forth below: Except as otherwise provided in this section, the corporate authorities shall cause to be published no later than March 31 of each year a map clearly showing the existing zoning uses, divisions, restrictions, regulations and classifications of such municipality for the preceding calendar year. The first map published in 1960 shall reflect all zoning uses, divisions, restrictions, regulations and classifications in effect on and prior to December 31, 1959. If…
A recent Illinois appellate court decision, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Inc. v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 2018 IL App. (1st) 171846 (December 3, 2018), is instructive on the procedural requirements that a public body must follow in order to properly deny a FOIA request as unduly burdensome under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq. (the “Act”). In Shriver v. Board of Education, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Inc. (“Shriver”) submitted three separate FOIA requests to The Board of Education of the City of Chicago (the…
On December 18, 2018, the Federal Commission on School Safety (“Commission”) released its 180-page Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety (“Report”) that identifies 93 best practices and policies for improving school safety across the nation.  Approximately nine months ago, the Trump Administration created the Commission in the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and tasked it with producing research-based recommendations to prevent such future tragedies.  Members of the Commission included representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human…
Tressler LLP is happy to welcome Christine Walczak as a new associate in our Local Government Practice Group. She counsels municipalities, park districts, school districts and other governmental entities on various matters, including: legislative policy, zoning and land use, real estate transactions, licensing, personnel policies and compliance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA). She has experience drafting and negotiating real estate contracts, leases, permits, licenses, vendor contracts, easements and intergovernmental agreements. Christine also has experience counseling private corporations in general corporate matters, contract review and negotiations. “I am thrilled to join Tressler LLP’s…