Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB0175
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of HB0175  99th General Assembly




HB0175 EngrossedLRB099 02871 HLH 22879 b

1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Open Meetings Act is amended by changing
5Section 3.5 as follows:
6    (5 ILCS 120/3.5)
7    Sec. 3.5. Public Access Counselor; opinions.
8    (a) A person who believes that a violation of this Act by a
9public body has occurred may file a request for review with the
10Public Access Counselor established in the Office of the
11Attorney General not later than 60 days after the alleged
12violation. If facts concerning the violation are not discovered
13within the 60-day period, but are discovered at a later date,
14not exceeding 2 years after the alleged violation, by a person
15utilizing reasonable diligence, the request for review may be
16made within 60 days of the discovery of the alleged violation.
17The request for review must be in writing, must be signed by
18the requester, and must include a summary of the facts
19supporting the allegation.
20    (b) Upon receipt of a request for review, the Public Access
21Counselor shall determine whether further action is warranted.
22If the Public Access Counselor determines from the request for
23review that the alleged violation is unfounded, he or she shall



HB0175 Engrossed- 2 -LRB099 02871 HLH 22879 b

1so advise the requester and the public body and no further
2action shall be undertaken. In all other cases, the Public
3Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the request for review
4to the public body within 7 working days. The Public Access
5Counselor shall specify the records or other documents that the
6public body shall furnish to facilitate the review. Within 7
7working days after receipt of the request for review, the
8public body shall provide copies of the records requested and
9shall otherwise fully cooperate with the Public Access
10Counselor. If a public body fails to furnish specified records
11pursuant to this Section, or if otherwise necessary, the
12Attorney General may issue a subpoena to any person or public
13body having knowledge of or records pertaining to an alleged
14violation of this Act. For purposes of conducting a thorough
15review, the Public Access Counselor has the same right to
16examine a verbatim recording of a meeting closed to the public
17or the minutes of a closed meeting as does a court in a civil
18action brought to enforce this Act.
19    (c) Within 7 working days after it receives a copy of a
20request for review and request for production of records from
21the Public Access Counselor, the public body may, but is not
22required to, answer the allegations of the request for review.
23The answer may take the form of a letter, brief, or memorandum.
24Upon request, the public body may also furnish the Public
25Access Counselor with a redacted copy of the answer excluding
26specific references to any matters at issue. The Public Access



HB0175 Engrossed- 3 -LRB099 02871 HLH 22879 b

1Counselor shall forward a copy of the answer or redacted
2answer, if furnished, to the person submitting the request for
3review. The requester may, but is not required to, respond in
4writing to the answer within 7 working days and shall provide a
5copy of the response to the public body.
6    (d) In addition to the request for review, and the answer
7and the response thereto, if any, a requester or a public body
8may furnish affidavits and records concerning any matter
9germane to the review.
10    (e) Unless the Public Access Counselor extends the time by
11no more than 21 business days by sending written notice to the
12requester and public body that includes a statement of the
13reasons for the extension in the notice, or decides to address
14the matter without the issuance of a binding opinion, the
15Attorney General shall examine the issues and the records,
16shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and shall
17issue to the requester and the public body an opinion within 60
18days after initiating review. The opinion shall be binding upon
19both the requester and the public body, subject to
20administrative review under Section 7.5 of this Act.
21    In responding to any written request under this Section
223.5, the Attorney General may exercise his or her discretion
23and choose to resolve a request for review by mediation or by a
24means other than the issuance of a binding opinion. The
25decision not to issue a binding opinion shall not be



HB0175 Engrossed- 4 -LRB099 02871 HLH 22879 b

1    Upon receipt of a binding opinion concluding that a
2violation of this Act has occurred, the public body shall
3either take necessary action as soon as practical to comply
4with the directive of the opinion or shall initiate
5administrative review under Section 7.5. If the opinion
6concludes that no violation of the Act has occurred, the
7requester may initiate administrative review under Section
9    (f) If the requester files suit under Section 3 with
10respect to the same alleged violation that is the subject of a
11pending request for review, the requester shall notify the
12Public Access Counselor, and the Public Access Counselor shall
13take no further action with respect to the request for review
14and shall so notify the public body.
15    (g) Records that are obtained by the Public Access
16Counselor from a public body for purposes of addressing a
17request for review under this Section 3.5 may not be disclosed
18to the public, including the requester, by the Public Access
19Counselor. Those records, while in the possession of the Public
20Access Counselor, shall be exempt from disclosure by the Public
21Access Counselor under the Freedom of Information Act.
22    (h) The Attorney General may also issue advisory opinions
23to public bodies regarding compliance with this Act. A review
24may be initiated upon receipt of a written request from the
25head of the public body or its attorney. The request must
26contain sufficient accurate facts from which a determination



HB0175 Engrossed- 5 -LRB099 02871 HLH 22879 b

1can be made. The Public Access Counselor may request additional
2information from the public body in order to facilitate the
3review. A public body that relies in good faith on an advisory
4opinion of the Attorney General in complying with the
5requirements of this Act is not liable for penalties under this
6Act, so long as the facts upon which the opinion is based have
7been fully and fairly disclosed to the Public Access Counselor.
8(Source: P.A. 96-542, eff. 1-1-10.)
9    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
10becoming law.