Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New PAC Opinion: Public Body Cannot Require Advance Notice to Record Public Meeting

In an opinion released last week, the Illinois Attorney General determined that a public body violated the Open Meetings Act when it refused to allow an individual to record a public meeting because he failed to advise the public body in advance of his intention to record the meeting.

The county had adopted rules pursuant to Section 2.05 of the OMA requiring persons to notify, in advance, the county clerk of his or her intention to record a meeting.  The rationale behind the advance notice was to ensure that the individual could bring recording equipment through the security checkpoint at the county building.  The person had informed both a representative of the county board and of the sheriff's office of his intention to record the meeting.  The county refused to allow the individual to record the meeting, however, because he had not notified the county clerk in accordance with the county's rules. 

The individual filed a complaint with the PAC's office.  The PAC determined that although the OMA allows a public body to adopt reasonable rules concerning recording of meetings, the advance notification requirement in the county's rules was not "reasonable" because it placed a burden on people who want to record meetings and restricts their ability to do so. 

Although the PAC's binding opinions are limited to the circumstances surrounding the request for review - in this case, the application of the county's advance notice requirement to this individual - there is a bit of cautionary advice in the opinion as to how the PAC views advance notice rules in general.  For example, the opinion notes that it would be difficult to enforce and administer an advance notification requirement because many people carry cell phones capable of recording meetings.  The opinion further notes that any public body applying an advance notice requirement would have a "steep burden" to overcome in demonstrating that the requirement was reasonable, given the statutory right afforded to individuals to record public meetings.  Given the PAC's position, it will be very difficult for any public body to justify an advance notice requirement. 

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.