Illinois (ECWd) -
All indications are pointing to a serious degradation of the rule of law in Illinois.
Illinois State statutes are found in nine separate categories, which you can find here. The first category is Government, which has fifteen subcategories. Clicking on subcategories gets you to hundreds of more subcategories of that statute. With hundreds and in some cases thousands of laws in each category, we conclude you can't know all the government laws, nor do you need to in Illinois because they don't seem to matter anymore, at least as it pertains to public officials complying with them.
Part of citizen engagement is to keep a close eye on the actions of our elected officials. We use laws on the books to hold them accountable, or so we thought.
Example #1 (Exposed in May of 2016)
Former LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne spent seized drug money outside the confines of law. After being called out on it in the media, we saw legislation pushed through the General Assembly and signed by the Governor that legalized the illegal spending. “The legislation, Towne said, is “a clarification and reassurance that what I was criticized for doing was fine all along.”
No, the passage of new legislation proved that what you were doing was in violation of the law and you had it changed to provide cover from potential prosecution. Had it been fine all along, there would have been no need for legislation.
DuPage County Election commission violated the law as it relates to publication timelines for ballot measures. Citizens stepped up and held them accountable to the law. So instead of following the law, legislators, literally at the last waking hour of the 99th General Assembly, ram a new bill through that matches the "special legislation" clause of our Constitution, which forbids such legislation. From the General Assembly, off to the Governor to sign with no regard to the fact that the General Assembly violated the Constitution as they did not reproduce and place on the desk of each member before final passage. (Illinois Constitution, Article IV, Section 8(d)).”
The Governor signed the bill into law yesterday. A law that was retroactive to the last election and only applies to the very violation committed by the DuPage Election Commission and does not apply to any future publication timeline requirements.
So one again, a bill to provide cover for those who violated it.
I would estimate for every article we publish there are at least 5 more we could publish as it relates to local government issues. Many of those non-published situations dealt with public officials who reached out to us for information and were wanting to ensure they were doing things right but did not want media attention even though it would have been positive for them striving to do things right.
In communication with local DuPage County Township officials, we discovered township trucks were being used to deliver mulch to private residents. I explained why we believed it was not legal for them to do that. Our position was met with great resistance..........up until they time they spoke with their association and attorneys who validated the information we told them.
Oh well. In spite of the fact using government vehicles to deliver government property to private residents violates Article VIII Section 1 (a), we once again find DuPage County legislators stepping in and actually creating a new law in an attempt to legalize what is not legal right now. It appears they think making a law saying townships can deliver mulch to private residents makes it OK. However, the passage of legislation that violates our Constitution is not legal in our opinion. Oh, I forgot, that didn't bother them on the Dupage Election Commission one time legislation, so why would I expect anything different in this case.
The government has no business competing with the local businesses who already sell and deliver the very goods the government is wanting to give away. The fact this legislation is being brought forward confirms they acknowledge it is not legal now, just as we pointed out.
As previously stated, public officials were caught violating the law and the answer was to run to their legislators to have laws changed to make their illegal acts, legal. I urge everyone to contact those sponsoring this bill and voice your concerns.
Local Government Debt Limitation Act implies there are debt limits. One only need read it to see the twilight zone we are living in. What good does it do to have a debt limitations law that can simply be modified when pressure is applied from those who could not manage what they have now? Remove all liquids from your mouth before reading further.
From the LGDLA: "The limitation prescribed in Section 1 of this Act shall not apply to any indebtedness of any school district for acquiring or improving a site or sites, constructing, extending, improving and equipping school buildings or establishing a working cash fund."
Not only do they pass special carve outs, they claim, in the law, the debt they have is not considered indebtedness for the purpose of any debt limitation. "The debt incurred on any bonds issued under this subsection shall not be considered indebtedness for purposes of any statutory debt limitation."
That is done so accountants can present financial reports that lead you to believe the school is below their debt limit all while they continue to go deeper in real debt. Debt is debt and hiding it this way does nothing towards fixing the financial mess this state is in.
On the flip side, we understand the need for some new laws and or amendments to those we have, however, as outlined above, all indications are laws don't matter in the State of Illinois when it comes to government officials breaking them. They do what they want and when caught violating them they simply change the law to make their illegal actions legal.
May we suggest a moving company?