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May 25, 2024

Laws are moving targets in Illinois –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On February 18, 2017

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.

Example #2 (Exposed in January 2017 here, here, and here)

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.

Example #3

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.

Example #4

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.”

The School Code has debt limitations but instead of enforcing those limits, legislators routinely pass special carve outs to allow them to go even deeper in debt with no consideration related to the ability or inability of the school board to be able to manage more debt. One only need to look at Lincoln-Way District 210, who is one of those recipients of a special carve out.   They have managed to rack up a half a billion in debt under leadership that now faces multiple investigations to include an investigation by the FBI. (Pick a story on D210 here)

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?



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  • JL Vette
    Posted at 11:39h, 18 February Reply

    Jails and prisons are filled with detainees who would love for laws to be flipped retroactively.

  • D. Ross
    Posted at 11:50h, 18 February Reply

    Ex post facto ethics rules and laws for public officials are commonplace in DuPage County. It’s a joke.

    Adding insult to injury, our tax dollars are used to pay for attorneys and lobbyists to make these changes.

    I’m watching for last-minute amendment to a bill changing the Illinois Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act that will make it legal for county board members to also serve as public guardians and public administrators…retroactive, of course.

    Today a felony, tomorrow a pat on the back.

  • Rich
    Posted at 12:22h, 18 February Reply

    Board members and administrators of one of the affected government bodies in DuPage should be nervous spending funds like drunken sailors.

    SB 3319 can still be challenged. It is one thing for the bill to be approved of by uninformed, distracted Illinois lawmakers on the last day of session. It’s quite another for its flimsy legality to hold up in the high courts.

  • Mark Misiorowski
    Posted at 13:26h, 18 February Reply

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Your article does an excellent job of highlighting how the Illinois Combine protects other members of the Combine…

    Illinois, rotten to the core!!!

    Maybe that is why third party ratings companies like S&P and Fitch are now downgrading bond ratings across all units of Illinois govt.

    Yep, time to move.

    • Rich
      Posted at 13:40h, 18 February Reply

      Exactly, Mark. I anticipate DuPage moving down another notch within the next year or so.

  • Mike
    Posted at 13:31h, 18 February Reply

    The most egregious moving target laws in Illinois were the result of pension legislation, even though in most cases the pensions system aplicable to the new law was already underfunded.

  • JL Vette
    Posted at 13:57h, 18 February Reply

    Forgive me for stating the obvious here. Wouldn’t it had been much easier to have just followed the law in the first place?

    How hard is it for a election department to maintain an office calendar with important dates noted?

    It all seems so stupid.

  • Mark Misiorowski
    Posted at 14:05h, 18 February Reply

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    Your article does an excellent job of highlighting how the Illinois Combine protects other members of the Combine.
    Illinois, rotten to the core and rotten throughout!!!

    Seems to me that the bond rating companies, such as S&P and Fitch, share your concern about Illinois’ penchant for reckless and unprincipled government conduct. Maybe that explains why bonds across our state have been lowered so drastically (with some bonds lowered all the way into junk bond status).

    New State Motto for traditional license plates: “We make the laws up as we go” Or the new vanity license plate: “Don’t Worry, We’ve Got Your Back.”

    Please issue that new vanity plate to our General Assembly…thanks

  • Warren J. Le Fever
    Posted at 15:32h, 18 February Reply

    Kirk: Your statement,”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” applies to down all levels of local government as well as we have seen personally many times. Any wonder this country has so many problems? any so many people are fed up?

  • G. Barraclough
    Posted at 18:29h, 18 February Reply

    Look for the following to be passed by the 100th Illinois General Assembly and signed by the governor:

    The crime of official misconduct, (720 ILCS 5/33-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 33-3)
    Sec. 33-3. Official misconduct, committed by any member or employee of the State of Illinois General Assembly, the Executive department, the Judicial department, any official or employee of any political subdivision of the State of Illinois and any official or member of AFSCME, SEIU and the Illinois Teachers Union under this subsection shall not be considered a violation of Illinois law for purposes of prosecution and statute of limitation.

  • Rich
    Posted at 19:54h, 18 February Reply

    Laws passed to make government accountable fall by the wayside when the people in government do not want to be accountable. The rule of law has been replaced by the rule of convenience. Illinois led all states in population loss last year, so we now have 50,000 fewer people to help pay for all this folly. Laws written in disappearing ink do not help this situation.

  • Dennis Finegan
    Posted at 02:20h, 19 February Reply

    Aw f***, why bother anymore? I wrote the guv informing him that what he was about to sign was against the Constitution. Guess that doc isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Maybe Lisa would like to get involved, but that might take away a favor owed to daddy.

    I’d move out of state, any state, but the house is paid for and we’re on fixed incomes. Can’t afford to stay; can’t afford to move.

    I’ll keep plodding along, as the legislature does, except I’ll follow the rule of law.

  • Madison Black
    Posted at 07:43h, 20 February Reply

    Appears that Governor signed this bill into law. Big mistake. It would be wonderful if someone would challenge the
    Constitutionality of this newly signed bill, now a Public Act. And as for DuPage County, they should know better and abide by the law. Of course that can also be said of Illinois’ General Assembly. Now, every county that makes
    a mistake in properly following the law can bring their mistake to Springfield for a fix.

  • D. Ross
    Posted at 12:46h, 20 February Reply

    HB 3319 – the bill to reverse DuPage’s oopsy – has Dan Cronin’s fingerprints all over it. Without the reversal, the liability had the potential to become enormous.

    Well, guess what? It ain’t over.

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