Illinois Open Meetings Act bill to be debated

A bill inspired by the Oakwood Hills power plant debacle to make it easier to report Illinois Open Meetings Act violations will likely get a minor tweak to help its odds of passage.

House Bill 175, filed last month by Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, seeks to allow people to report a violation of the act within 60 days of its discovery. Current law limits the reporting period to 60 days from the date of the meeting in question, meaning that violations discovered after that date cannot be reported to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.


Ruling requires Champaign to turn over records, denies lawyer pay

From  An Illinois appellate court has sided with The News-Gazette and ruled that the city of Champaign turn over to reporter Patrick Wade copies of electronic communications sent and received by city council members during council meetings and study sessions in May, June and July 2011.

But the same three-member court overturned a ruling by Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt that The News-Gazette's attorney was entitled to $7,500 in attorney fees and costs from the city.



State FOIA Friday for August 9, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week.

While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.



Springfield (Ill.) loses FOIA lawsuit again

From NewsRadio WTAX:  A man suing the city for the release of internal police files has won — again.

Calvin Christian sued the city to release internal affairs files regarding a 2011 request. Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt ruled the city could not keep secret police documents, other than to redact names, birthdates, social security numbers and other personal information. Video interviews, the judge ruled, must be transcribed and redacted accordingly.


llinois Press Association opposes public records exemption in concealed carry bill

From  The Illinois Press Association has come out in opposition to concealed-carry legislation the General Assembly approved last week on the grounds that a newly created licensing review board’s exemption from the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings acts is unwarranted.

“The rationale is simple. There should not be secret government,” said Don Craven, attorney for the association.


Open government groups urge Illinois court to grant records access

Press release from Student Press Law Center (SPLC):

The Student Press Law Center (“SPLC”) and other open-government groups are urging the Illinois Appellate Court to grant journalists access to records of a university’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against coaches and a settlement paid to resolve those claims.


Transparency bills on the way to Illinois governor

From Northwest Herald:

Two bills aimed at improving Illinois residents’ right to know – both of which were fought by local government lobbyists – are on their way to Gov. Pat Quinn.

The General Assembly last week passed a bill requiring adding municipal, county and township employee salaries to the searchable state database and a bill aimed at improving meeting agendas.


Trustee alleges mayor violated Open Meetings Act


Lake Zurich Mayor Suzanne Branding has come under fire from Trustee Rich Sustich, who alleges she violated the Open Meetings Act. The complaint is the most recent event in a string of Lake Zurich officials being questioned for violating the law since 2009.


Experts say DeKalb aldermen did not violate Open Meetings Act at township meeting

From Daily Chronicle:

When a majority of a quorum of DeKalb City Council members meet to discuss public business, proper notification is required to avoid an Open Meetings Act violation. Although five of the seven council members – a majority of a quorum – participated in the DeKalb Township annual meeting Tuesday, they did not violate the act, law experts said.