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There has been a surge in prosecutions against citizens for recording public officials while those officials are performing public duties. The charge is a Class 1 felony for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping statute. 

You know the drill--a motorist is pulled over for a traffic stop, records the officer, the officer  gets mad and arrests the motorist for violating the officer's right to privacy under the eavesdropping law. There is usually no underlying arrest against the motorist. Or, a homeowner records an arrest from his or her bedroom window and is arrested for a Class 1 felony for doing this.

Earlier this year a downstate auto mechanic in Robinson, Illinois was charged in a five-count information for allegedly recording these public officials while they were  conducting public business in a public place: the judge, the chief of police, a police officer, a circuit clerk, and the city attorney.

Earlier this week Judge David K. Frankland filed an opinion in this Crawford County case dismissing the charges because this part of the Eavesdropping statute violated substantive due process and the First Amendment. His opinion is a crisp, clear, and concise defense of the First Amendment and due process. Click here to read it

William A. Sunderman of Charleston, Illinois represented the defendant pro bono.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: Funding for legal services, Rules on Medicaid eligibility under Deficit Reduction Act and Senate Bill 1694 on medical records for veto session.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers: The proposed rules affecting Medicaid eligibility proposed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to implement the federal Deficit Reduction Act; Public Act 97-578 requiring more and retroactive registration by sex offenders; Senate Bill 1040 that implements the federal Adam Walsh act for registration of sex offenders and Advance Directives' forms in English and Spanish on the Department of Public Health webpage.

The Illinois Department of Public Health's website has a page dedicated to advance directives that has a Spanish option as well. You may find that page here.

Melinda Bentley, ISBA First Assistant Counsel & Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs, reviews three bills of significance signed by Gov. Quinn in the last week. She takes a look at Transfer on Death Instrument (PA 97-555), FOIA and "Recurrent Requesters" (PA 97-579) and Maintenance and Life Insurance (PA 97-608).

A new law in effect limits the number of petitions for judicial candidates. Public Act 97-81 states as follows:  

“A candidate in a judicial election may file petitions for nomination for only one vacancy in a subcircuit and only one vacancy in a circuit in any one filing period, and if petitions for nomination have been filed for the same person for 2 or more vacancies in the same circuit or subcircuit in the same filing period, his or her name shall be certified only for the first vacancy for which the petitions for nomination were filed.”  

The State Board of Elections will accept for filing and process only one petition for a circuit vacancy and/or only one petition for a subcircuit vacancy in any filing period.  PA 97-81 did not change existing law regarding candidates filing for other multiple incompatible offices.  

Please refer to the judicial candidate filing and multiple office filing information in the State Board of Elections’ 2012 Candidate’s Guide ( for further guidance.  The 2012 Candidate’s Guide contains important information as to these topics and the State Board of Elections’ policies on judicial filings.  The State Board of Elections’ policy on judicial filings can be seen here.

Public Act 97-555 (Bradley, D-Marion; Wilhelmi, D-Joliet) creates the Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer on Death Instrument Act. It allows an owner of real estate to transfer residential property on his or her death. The definition of "residential property" is borrowed from the Disclosure Act and the Mortgage Foreclosure Act.

The act requires that the owner (1) sign in front of a notary and two credible witnesses and (2) have the same mental capacity to execute a TODI as is required to make a will. This new Act will take effect January 1, 2012.

You may review the text of this Act here. 

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation of interest to ISBA members in his weekly ISBA Statehouse Review. This week he looks at Adoption forms (PA 97-493), the Illinois Personal Information Act (PA 97-483), Insurers must arbitrate small subrogation damages (PA 97-513), Cook County landlord and tenants (PA 97-470) and Jurors removed PA (97-436).

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation on DNA from registered sex offenders and some arrestees (PA 97-383), juvenile justice (PA 97-362), Open Meetings Act-audits (PA 97-318), FOIA and park districts (97-385), FOIA and "personally identifiable information" (PA-97-342) and Mortgage Foreclosure Article (97-329).

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reports from Springfield on two family law bills recently signed into law: (PA 97-189)-Penalty for False reporting of child abuse or neglect enhanced to a Class 4 felony and (PA 97-186)-two changes affecting past-due child support.