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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

More New Bills Introduced That Would Affect Local Governments

The Illinois General Assembly is busy introducing hundreds of new bills, a few of which we have already reported on.  A few more that may be of interest to local governments are summarized below:

Gardening and Zoning

HB 1612 would amend the Municipal Code and Counties Code to expressly ban municipalities from prohibiting a private homeowner from gardening on his or her own property. The bill includes a home-rule preemption. The bill does not provide any guidance as to what constitutes "gardening" so presumably municipalities and counties can still regulate gardening on residential properties, including establishing restrictions on the scope and location of gardening activities so long as the regulation does not constitute an outright prohibition.

Open Meetings Act

SB 196 would amend the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to go into closed session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific independent contractors or volunteers. Currently, that exception is limited to the discussion of employees or legal counsel of the public body.

Employee Expenses

HB 1621 would prohibit municipalities and counties from using funds received from the LGDF for travel, lodging, or dining expenses. This bill is similar to a number of bills that were introduced last session but were not approved.

Electronic Publication of Notices

SB 189 would amend various provisions of state law to allow municipalities and other units of local government to publish notice on their own websites rather than in local newspapers. Similar bills have been introduced over the past few years but have not been enacted.


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