ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of July 14, 2016
ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Open Meetings Act Public Act 99-515, FOIA House Bill 4715, Counties Code House Bill 4603, Creates the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act House Bill 4379 and Statewide Relocation Towing Licensure Commission Senate Bill 2261.
More information on each bill is available below the video.
Open Meetings Act. Public Act 99-515 (Ives, R-Wheaton; Connelly, R-Naperville) requires public bodies to give access to verbatim recordings and minutes of closed meetings to officials filling vacancies of elected officials in public bodies. Access is to be granted in the public body’s main office or official storage location in the presence of a records secretary, an administrative official of the public body, or any elected official of the public body. These records may not be recorded or removed from official storage unless the pubic body votes otherwise or so ordered by the courts. Effective June 20, 2016.
FOIA. House Bill 4715 (Bryant, R-Mt. Vernon; Radogno, R-Lemont) provides that a requester that files an action seeking to enforce a binding opinion will have a rebuttable presumption that the public body willfully and intentionally failed to comply with this Act if: the attorney general issues a binding opinion under § 9.5 and the public body does not file for administrative review nor comply with it within 35 days after the binding opinion is served on the public body. This presumption may be rebutted by the public body showing that it is making a good-faith effort to comply with the binding opinion, but the compliance was not possible within the 35-day time frame. This section applies to binding opinions of the attorney general requested or issued on or after January 1, 2017.
It also allows the court to impose an additional penalty of up to $1,000 for each day the violation continues if: the public body fails to comply with the court’s order after 30 days; the court’s order is not appealed or stayed; and the court does not grant the public body additional time to comply with a court order to disclose public records. Changes apply to actions filed on or after January 1, 2017.
Drop date, August 26, 2106; effective January 1, 2017.
Counties Code. House Bill 4603 (Tom Bennett, R-Pontiac; Barickman, R-Bloomington) amends the Counties Code to clarify that “all questions” or “ordinances” also includes any resolutions and motions that arise during meetings. It also allows a county at any properly noticed public meeting to take a single or omnibus vote by unanimous consent on any two or more questions, ordinances, resolutions, or motions. The bill states that this is declarative of existing law. It also requires public defenders in counties under one million population to prepare and file monthly or quarterly written reports as determined by the county board.
Drop date, August 26, 2016; effective immediately.
Creates the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act. House Bill 4379 (McSweeney, R-Cary; Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park) requires that school districts, community colleges, and non-home rule units of local government regulate travel, meal, and lodging expenses of officers and employees and members of their governing boards. Prohibits reimbursing entertainment expenses. The ordinance or resolution must include: (1) the types of official business for which travel, meal, and lodging expenses are allowable; (2) maximum allowable reimbursement for those expenses; and (3) a standardized form for submission of those expenses. Requires that the governing board or corporate authority must approve by a roll call vote at an open meeting any expenses of a member of the governing board and expenses of officers and employees over the maximum amount. The submitted documents are public records under the FOIA Act.
Drop date, August 16, 2016; effective January 1, 2017.
Statewide Relocation Towing Licensure Commission. Senate Bill 2261 (Haine, D-Alton; Zalewski, D-Chicago) clarifies that a county or municipality may assess an administrative fee for impounding vehicles only for violations listed in the current Vehicle Code. If the administrative hearing officer finds that a county or municipality exceeded its authority to impound a vehicle under the Vehicle Code, the county or municipality is liable to the car’s owner for the storage fees and reasonable attorney’s fees. Makes other changes.
Drop date, July 30, 2016; effective immediately.