July 2, 2016 · 3 Comments
SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –
Jeanne Ives was the Chief Sponsor in the House, along with Sponsor Peter Breen and others, with Michael Connelly as Chief Sponsor in the Senate. It passed both houses unanimously, with comments of disbelief that elected officials were being denied access when they were already supposed to have access to these records. Warren LeFever, from Marshall, Illinois provided first-hand testimony in both the House and Senate Committees explaining obstacles placed in his path by Mayor Sanders when he attempted to listen to closed session recordings.
Synopsis: Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Reinserts the provisions of the bill as engrossed with the following changes: allows access to the verbatim recordings and minutes of closed meetings to duly elected officials or appointed officials filling a vacancy of an elected office in a public body; provides that access shall 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; provides that no verbatim recordings or minutes of closed meetings shall be recorded or removed from the public body’s main office or official storage location, except by vote of the public body or by court order; and provides that nothing in the subsections concerning verbatim recordings and minutes of closed meetings is intended to limit the Public Access Counselor’s access to records necessary to address a request for administrative review.
Full text, Section 2.06 of the Open Meetings Act:
This Bill added text to Sections 2.06(e) and 2.06(f). (read text here)
Two instances that we know of where certain public officials thought they could keep records from duly elected officials are the City of Marshall where Mayor Sanders thought he could keep Alderman Warren LeFever from access to closed session recordings and even from attending certain closed sessions. We don’t think Sanders is done contesting this one yet and suspect he will come up with another lame, unlawful excuse to try and prevent access by LeFever.
Another instance was in U-46 School District where the majority of the school board thought they could prevent an elected board member from reviewing closed session recordings. U46 even went so far as placing destruction of those recordings on the agenda prior to the Bill becoming law, and had it not been for a Temporary Restraining Order filed by the board member, those recordings would have been destroyed.
After the TRO was ordered and a lawsuit filed, other elected officials came forward from all levels of government and from every corner of the state saying they were having similar problems and appreciated the fact the Bill was submitted.
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