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In 2018, Lucy Parsons Labs (LPL) submitted a FOIA request to the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office  seeking a copy of the City’s 150 page “action plan” regarding the City’s public response to the verdict in the highly publicized murder trial of a former CPD officer. The City denied the entire action plan, citing FOIA exemption 7(1)(v), which exempts: “[v]ulnerability assessments, security measures, and response policies or plans that are designed to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks upon a community’s population or systems, facilities, or installations, the destruction or contamination of which would constitute a clear and present…
Yesterday, we reported on a number of bills introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to amend FOIA. Today, we summarize some of the bills that propose amendments to the Open Meetings Act (OMA). HB 1765 – If approved, this would amend the OMA to prohibit law enforcement agencies from conducting background checks on speakers at meetings of public bodies except to provide security to protect public officials and others in attendance. HB 2818 – If approved, this would expand the definition of “public body” under the OMA to include governing bodies formed by intergovernmental agreements (IGA). HB 2819 – If…
There has been a lot of bill activity in the Illinois General Assembly’s 102nd Session. Today, we are reporting on some of the bills that, if approved, would amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). HB 2815 – If approved, this would amend FOIA to provide that all elected and appointed officials of a public body (including members of the General Assembly) are entitled to access all records of the public body, unless the records are exempt from release under sections 7 or 7.5 of FOIA, without having to file a FOIA request. HB 2816 – If approved, this would…
In 2015, Charles Green submitted a FOIA request to the Chicago Police Department seeking all closed complaint register files (CRs) for all Chicago police officers. After CPD failed to respond to the request, Green filed a lawsuit seeking an order directing CPD to release the requested files. However, the requester’s lawsuit was continued, because an injunction entered by another court prohibited CPD from releasing any CR files that were older than four years from the date of any FOIA request. That injunction was later vacated in 2016. In 2020, the circuit court ruled in favor of the requester and ordered…
The Governor approved the first Public Act of the 102nd General Assembly last week in P.A. 102-001. This new law amends various provisions of the Election Code, including the following: The State Board of Elections is authorized to release federal funds under the Help America Vote Act to local election authorities maintain secure collection sites for mail-in ballots. Election authorities are authorized to establish curb-side voting during early voting and on election day. Election authorities are required to accept any vote by mail ballot, including those with insufficient or no postage.  Election authorities that maintain collection sites for mail-in…
Over the past few years, we have kept readers informed about cases involving elected officials and their use of social media. You may recall the case in Virginia where a court of appeals determined that a county commissioner’s blocking of users from her Facebook page was a First Amendment violation. The most talked about case involving an elected official’s use of social media, however, was the case filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute against then-President Trump alleging that his blocking of users who criticized him on Twitter was a violation of the First Amendment. That case made its way…
In 2018, a requestor submitted a FOIA request to the Chicago Board of Education seeking documents related to the requestor’s racial discrimination claims made between 1999 and 2005. After identifying approximately 28,000 pages of records that would need to be reviewed for potential exemptions, the Board asked the requestor to narrow his request, which is permitted by FOIA. When the requestor refused, the Board denied the FOIA request as unduly burdensome. The requester sued, and the circuit court ruled in favor of the Board. The requestor then appealed. In Greer v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago,…
Ancel Glink has just released Episode 51 of its Quorum Forum Podcast today: “Parliamentary Procedures for Newly Elected Officials” just in time for next week’s municipal elections. More information below: Episode 51: Parliamentary Procedures for Newly Elected Officials Newly-elected and not-so-newly elected officials are preparing for business after the local government elections. That’s why Ancel Glink’s Steve Mahrt and Eugene Bolotnikov joined the Illinois Association of County Board Members to review parliamentary procedures and other helpful tips for orderly local government meetings.  If you prefer video to audio, you can watch the training on YouTube here. What strategies does…
The Illinois General Assembly recently introduced HB 3509, called the Food Truck Freedom Act. If passed, the bill would prohibit municipalities from requiring food truck businesses to obtain multiple licenses from the municipality regardless of how many trucks the business operates in that municipality. The bill would also require municipalities to recognize reciprocal business licenses issued to food truck businesses by different municipalities or local health departments. Additionally, the bill would prohibit municipalities or local health departments from imposing additional license qualification requirements on food truck businesses before issuing licenses. For initial business licenses, the bill would allow municipalities…
Earlier this week, the House Committee on Housing advanced a bill that would allow units of local government to implement measures regarding rent control, including imposing caps on rent prices. If passed, HB 0116 would repeal the Rent Control Preemption Act, which currently prohibits every municipality from regulating or controlling the amount of rent charged for leasing private residential or commercial properties. Please stay tuned for more updates about this bill. Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink…
An Appellate Court recently upheld a municipality’s water billing ordinance in Souza v. City of West Chicago. In 2011, West Chicago contracted with Water Resources, Inc. to replace residential water meters and update meter equipment. After some customers experienced years of deficient, inaccurate, and/or missing water meter readings, the City terminated its contract with Water Resources in 2016.  In 2019, two individuals filed a class action lawsuit against the City and Water Resources alleging that the City engaged in unlawful billing practices by charging customers for water and sewer services outside of the 12-month period prescribed by the water-utility…
An Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled in favor of the school district in a residency case, finding that a student was not a legal resident of the district. Gwozdz v. Board of Education of Park Ridge-Niles School District No. 64. During the 2017-18 school year, parents enrolled their daughter as a seventh-grade student at a middle school located within the school district. The parents submitted documents identifying the student’s place of residence at a one-bedroom apartment in the district. According to the court opinion, the district became suspicious of the student’s residency during the verification process because the family listed…
An Appellate Court recently interpreted the “deliberative process” (sometimes known as the draft document) exception in section 7(1)(f) of the Freedom of Information Act in Fisher v. Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In this case, the court found that a public body (in this case, the Attorney General) did not violate FOIA in denying a request for certain records it claimed were exempt under that exception. In 2012, the Attorney General (AG) filed a lawsuit against several Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) manufacturers, alleging they conspired to fix prices on certain products resulting in overcharges to Illinois consumers. Ultimately,…
In Buchanan v. Jones, an Appellate Court upheld the constitutionality of a 2019 state statute as applied to a 2016 referendum that limited the terms of office for individuals elected to the office of village president. On November 8, 2016, a majority of voters in a municipality who voted in the general election approved the following referendum: Shall the terms of office of those persons elected to the office of Village President in the Village of Broadview, at the April 4, 2017 consolidated election, and each election for said office thereafter, be limited such that no person shall be…
In 2015, an inmate filed two substantially identical FOIA requests with the Chicago Police Department asking the CPD to release records regarding the murder of an individual for which the inmate was prosecuted and convicted. After CPD initially failed to respond to both requests, the inmate sued CPD alleging that CPD had violated FOIA by failing to respond to his requests. After the trial court conducted an in camera inspection of the records produced to the plaintiff and confirmed that CPD conducted a reasonably diligent search for responsive records, the court ruled in CPD’s favor, finding that the inmate’s lawsuit…
We previously reported on a lawsuit filed by the Beloved Church in Lena, Illinois to challenge Governor Pritzker’s executive order that previously restricted places of worship to 10 in-person attendees. The district court had denied injunctive relief, finding that the Governor’s executive order furthered the government’s interest in protecting people from the pandemic and there were alternative methods for worship. The Church appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which issued an opinion recently affirming the district court but on different grounds. Cassell and Beloved Church v. Snyders. The Court of Appeals noted that much had changed since…