Latest from Municipal Minute

  Wednesday, April 17, 2019     Last Friday, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act (P.A. 101-003) barring local governments from establishing “right-to-work zones.” The new law takes effect immediately (April 12, 2019).  The Act provides that the state has exclusive authority to enact laws governing agreements between employers and unions that (i) spell out the extent to which workers can be compelled to belong to a union or and (ii) whether the employer will collect dues and fees on behalf of the union. The Act expressly prohibits any local government from enacting or enforcing any…
  Monday, April 15, 2019     Organizers of public gatherings on property open to the public have new responsibilities when it comes to posting notices under the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act. Effective January 1, 2019, P.A. 100-0671 amended several sections of the Human Trafficking Resource Center Notice Act which adds to the list of entities that are required to post the notice under the Act. Specifically, the new law now requires the organizer of a public gathering conducted on property open to the public that requires a permit from a unit of local government to post a notice…
  Friday, April 12, 2019     A candidate for trustee in the Village of Burnham filed 16 pages of nominating papers with 182 signatures.  34 signatures were required to qualify for the ballot.  An objector challenged the validity of the signatures and, after a hearing, the Village’s electoral board declared the papers invalid and struck the candidate’s name from the ballot.  The board found an “unmistakable pattern of fraud, false swearing, and disregard for the mandatory requirements of the Election Code.”  The board’s decision was based on finding that 105 of the 182 signatures were invalid because the signer was…
  Thursday, April 11, 2019     On April 7, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed P.A. 101-002 into law. This landmark legislation makes Illinois the 11th state to enact what has become known as “Tobacco 21 law.” The law takes effect on July 1, 2019. This legislation is not a novel concept to Illinois municipalities. Before its enactment, more than 30 Illinois municipalities had adopted ordinances to raise the local minimum legal sales age to 21.  The bill amends various state statutes regarding tobacco to raise the legal age to 21 for the purchase or sale of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products.…
Wednesday, April 10, 2019     Land use litigation arising out of the 2008 economic downturn continues to percolate through the courts as municipalities seek to complete long-delayed public improvements contracted for in annexation agreements. A recent court decision may help local governments looking to hold subsequent purchasers accountable for obligations entered into by bankrupt developers. In City of Yorkville v. Fidelity et al., an Illinois appellate court found two homebuilders liable for building public improvements a bankrupt developer had agreed to provide the City in a 2003 annexation agreement. Through various transactions, the Richardson Group (TRG) and William…
Ancel Glink’s Quorum Forum podcast is back with a new episode: Episode 22: Defending Malicious Prosecution Claims Prosecutions are on the agenda, as Aaron Bitterman joins us from Ancel Glink Defense E-News (emus?) with new and proposed rules affecting ordinance enforcement for local governments. Then, experienced litigator and former prosecutor Kathy Kunkle discusses ways local governments can avoid malicious prosecution claims.  You can access this episode here. This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is intended to provide timely general information of interest, but should not be considered a…
The concept of “notice” and how it complies with an individual’s constitutional due process rights is something local governments regularly encounter in their day to day work. Whether it involves a code violation, utility shut-offs, or a zoning hearing, proper timing and form of notice is essential and the failure to comply can result in the government being unable to enforce its ordinances. This issue arose recently in the City of Chicago with respect to its street cleaning ordinance resulting in a successful challenge to the imposition of a ticket and fine. On July 25, 2016, Todd Kooperman parked his…
Under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..”  A nonprofit organization brought suit against the United States Treasury claiming a longstanding tax code exemption for religious housing violated the Establishment Clause because it did not have a secular purpose and instead provided aid to a group of religious persons. Recently, a federal court rejected the nonprofit’s claim because the law applied equally to nonsecular institutions, did not involve a subsidy, required a level of fact-finding that did not excessively entangle the government in religion,…
A reminder to all of our new and existing readers that Ancel Glink maintains an active podcast called Quorum Forum where our attorneys discuss and debate a variety of local government legal issues. Shout out to Ancel Glink Partner Dan Bolin for all of his work creating the podcast and coordinating and editing each episode! You can access all of our episodes on our Quorum Forum website.   A link to each of our 21 episodes is below: Episode 21: Tiny Homes Episode 20: APA-CMS Bar Exam Planning Law Session Episode 19: Silver Tsunami Episode 18: Worker’s Compensation Episode 17:
Illinois House Bill 2206 is yet another bill introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that would take away important municipal powers. If passed, HB 2206 would only allow home inspections by a unit of local government under the following circumstances: A fire, medical, or police emergency; As otherwise permitted by Section 9 of the Fire Investigation Act; Voluntary consent of the owner or occupant of the property; A lawful warrant; or A court order. The bill would preempt home rule authority, and if passed, would restrict municipalities from enforcing ordinances that require rental inspections or inspections for transfer stamps and…
Another bill has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that would restrict municipal zoning authority in Illinois.  House Bill 3185 would amend the Illinois Zoning Enabling Act to prohibit municipalities (including home rule units) from enforcing any building or zoning ordinance against a development after a developer has taken any one of the following 5 “qualifying” steps to move the project forward with the municipality: 1.  Had a preliminary meeting with  municipal staff 2.  Applied for a building permit with the municipality 3.  Presented a development plan to the city council/village board 4.  Substantially invested resources into planning the…
As we have reported previously on Municipal Minute, President Trump was sued for blocking individuals from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The district court ruled that the President’s actions in blocking individuals from his Twitter account violated their First Amendment rights because (1) the President’s Twitter account was a “public forum” subject to the First Amendment and (2) the President’s blocking of these individuals was unlawful “viewpoint discrimination.”  The President appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which heard oral argument from both sides of the lawsuit last week.  You can listen to the oral argument…
Dwight, a village of 4,200 residents in Livingston County, recently approved an annexation agreement to allow for a 1,200-bed $20 million dollar federal immigration detention center to be built on 88 acres west of Interstate 55. If approved by the federal government, it would be built by Immigration Centers for America and become Illinois’ first privately operated detention center. The approval process was contentious as the activist group No ICE Dwight lobbied against approval of the agreement. Over 100 members of the public from 10 cities attended the council meeting and spoke against the proposed annexation agreement.  After approval of the…
Tuesday, March 26, 2019       The Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion last week finding an Illinois statute that prohibits people from carrying stun guns or tasers in public or in a vehicle unconstitutional. People v. Webb. Two individuals were arrested in DuPage County for carrying a stun gun. One had a stun gun in his jacket while in his vehicle and the other had a stun gun in his backpack in a forest preserve. They were both charged with unlawful use of a weapon in violation of an Illinois law. The case went to court, and…
  Monday, March 25, 2019     According to a news release issued by the Village, as well as a number of news articles, a Lake County Circuit Court judge ruled that the Village of Deerfield cannot enforce its ordinance banning assault weapons that it passed in 2018. We wrote about that ordinance, and the court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order against enforcement of that ordinance, here.  In passing the 2018 ordinance, the Village relied on authority granted by the Illinois legislature in 2013 when the state enacted legislation restricting municipal regulation of assault weapons. That legislation did, however,…
  Wednesday, March 20, 2019     It is rare that we see a FOIA challenge go to court in Illinois – most challenges or appeals of a FOIA decision by a public body make their way to the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor’s office (PAC).  Recently, an Illinois Appellate Court issued an opinion in a FOIA challenge and ruled in favor of the public body. Hosey v. City of Joliet A reporter filed a FOIA request with the City requesting copies of videotaped police interviews of several individuals. The City denied the request, citing various FOIA exemptions including personal privacy,…