Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB0175
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Full Text of HB0175  99th General Assembly


Sen. Dan Duffy

Filed: 5/28/2015





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 175 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
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 by
14a person utilizing reasonable diligence, the request for review
15may be made within 60 days of the discovery of the alleged
16violation. For the purposes of this subsection (a), "reasonable



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1diligence" means the exercise of due care to discover the
2violation given the information available to the person. The
3request for review must be in writing, must be signed by the
4requester, and must include a summary of the facts supporting
5the allegation. The changes made by this amendatory Act of the
699th General Assembly apply to violations occurring on or after
7the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General
9    (b) Upon receipt of a request for review, the Public Access
10Counselor shall determine whether further action is warranted.
11If the Public Access Counselor determines from the request for
12review that the alleged violation is unfounded, he or she shall
13so advise the requester and the public body and no further
14action shall be undertaken. In all other cases, the Public
15Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the request for review
16to the public body within 7 working days. The Public Access
17Counselor shall specify the records or other documents that the
18public body shall furnish to facilitate the review. Within 7
19working days after receipt of the request for review, the
20public body shall provide copies of the records requested and
21shall otherwise fully cooperate with the Public Access
22Counselor. If a public body fails to furnish specified records
23pursuant to this Section, or if otherwise necessary, the
24Attorney General may issue a subpoena to any person or public
25body having knowledge of or records pertaining to an alleged
26violation of this Act. For purposes of conducting a thorough



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1review, the Public Access Counselor has the same right to
2examine a verbatim recording of a meeting closed to the public
3or the minutes of a closed meeting as does a court in a civil
4action brought to enforce this Act.
5    (c) Within 7 working days after it receives a copy of a
6request for review and request for production of records from
7the Public Access Counselor, the public body may, but is not
8required to, answer the allegations of the request for review.
9The answer may take the form of a letter, brief, or memorandum.
10Upon request, the public body may also furnish the Public
11Access Counselor with a redacted copy of the answer excluding
12specific references to any matters at issue. The Public Access
13Counselor shall forward a copy of the answer or redacted
14answer, if furnished, to the person submitting the request for
15review. The requester may, but is not required to, respond in
16writing to the answer within 7 working days and shall provide a
17copy of the response to the public body.
18    (d) In addition to the request for review, and the answer
19and the response thereto, if any, a requester or a public body
20may furnish affidavits and records concerning any matter
21germane to the review.
22    (e) Unless the Public Access Counselor extends the time by
23no more than 21 business days by sending written notice to the
24requester and public body that includes a statement of the
25reasons for the extension in the notice, or decides to address
26the matter without the issuance of a binding opinion, the



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1Attorney General shall examine the issues and the records,
2shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and shall
3issue to the requester and the public body an opinion within 60
4days after initiating review. The opinion shall be binding upon
5both the requester and the public body, subject to
6administrative review under Section 7.5 of this Act.
7    In responding to any written request under this Section
83.5, the Attorney General may exercise his or her discretion
9and choose to resolve a request for review by mediation or by a
10means other than the issuance of a binding opinion. The
11decision not to issue a binding opinion shall not be
13    Upon receipt of a binding opinion concluding that a
14violation of this Act has occurred, the public body shall
15either take necessary action as soon as practical to comply
16with the directive of the opinion or shall initiate
17administrative review under Section 7.5. If the opinion
18concludes that no violation of the Act has occurred, the
19requester may initiate administrative review under Section
21    (f) If the requester files suit under Section 3 with
22respect to the same alleged violation that is the subject of a
23pending request for review, the requester shall notify the
24Public Access Counselor, and the Public Access Counselor shall
25take no further action with respect to the request for review
26and shall so notify the public body.



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1    (g) Records that are obtained by the Public Access
2Counselor from a public body for purposes of addressing a
3request for review under this Section 3.5 may not be disclosed
4to the public, including the requester, by the Public Access
5Counselor. Those records, while in the possession of the Public
6Access Counselor, shall be exempt from disclosure by the Public
7Access Counselor under the Freedom of Information Act.
8    (h) The Attorney General may also issue advisory opinions
9to public bodies regarding compliance with this Act. A review
10may be initiated upon receipt of a written request from the
11head of the public body or its attorney. The request must
12contain sufficient accurate facts from which a determination
13can be made. The Public Access Counselor may request additional
14information from the public body in order to facilitate the
15review. A public body that relies in good faith on an advisory
16opinion of the Attorney General in complying with the
17requirements of this Act is not liable for penalties under this
18Act, so long as the facts upon which the opinion is based have
19been fully and fairly disclosed to the Public Access Counselor.
20(Source: P.A. 96-542, eff. 1-1-10.)
21    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
22becoming law.".