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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

Monday, December 30, 2019

Law Imposes February 1st Deadline for List of Names for Filing of Economic Interest Statements

On December 20, 2019, the Illinois Governor signed into law P.A. 101-617 enacting various changes to state ethics laws. Most of the changes affect state employees rather than local government employees, but there is one provision that local governments should be aware of.

Specifically, the new law imposes a deadline for units of local government to file the list of persons who have to file statements of economic interest with the county. Now, the chief administrative officer of the unit of local government must file the list of names with the county by February 1st of each year. So, village and city clerks and others who handle this duty for their unit of local government each year should make sure they calendar the new deadline. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

New Year, New Laws 2020 Edition

As always, there are numerous new laws that take effect in January of each year. We don't report on all of them (none of us have time for that!) but we do try to keep you informed of some of the new legislation that may affect local governments, especially those that require you to take some action.  Here's a summary of just a few of the new laws taking effect in 2020.

Equitable Restrooms Act, P.A. 101-0165
We reported on this legislation previously here.  Effective January 1, 2020, all single-occupancy restrooms in any "public building" or "place of public accommodation" must be identified as all-gender and must be marked with exterior signage that does not indicate any specific gender. Local governments should make sure that their single-occupancy restrooms are appropriately signed.

Raffles and Poker Runs Act, P.A. 101-0109
As part of the Illinois legislature's expansion of gambling and gaming in the state, the legislature also expanded laws relating to raffles and poker runs. Local governments should review their current raffles regulations to ensure they are consistent with the new state law.

Leveling the Playing Field for Illinois Retail Act, P.A. 101­0031
Some provisions of this new law took effect in June and others will take effect on January 1, 2020. Changes include an expansion of video gaming (more terminals allowed, higher bets and winnings, etc), changes to sales taxes, and the imposition of the parking excise tax that we have reported on previously. 

Human Trafficking Notices, P.A. 100-0671
Changes to the human trafficking notices law added new requirements to post notices at special events that are permitted by units of local government. More important to local governments, the law now places the enforcement obligation on the local government rather than state agencies.

Cannabis Regulation & Tax Act, P.A. 101-0027
Much has been said about the new recreational cannabis law taking effect in January, 2020, and it's likely that municipalities have already enacted zoning regulations to either regulate or opt-out of cannabis businesses. Don't forget to make sure your personnel policies are up-dated to address employment-related changes and that your police departments are ready to deal with the new expungement requirements.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Homeowner's Lawsuit Against City Relating to Neighbor's Home Properly Dismissed

Ryan (a homeowner in the City) sued the City of Chicago asking a court for a "writ of mandamus" to order the City to direct a home builder to move a newly constructed home immediately adjacent to Ryan's home approximately 2.5 inches in order to comply with the required two-foot setback. After the circuit court had dismissed the case, Ryan appealed. The appellate court agreed that the case should be dismissed in Ryan v. City of Chicago, 2019 IL App (1st) 181777.

A home builder had purchased 2 lots to construct 2 single family homes. On one of those lots immediately adjacent to the plaintiff's home, the home builder mistakenly staked out the foundation within the required two-foot setback. By the time the builder realized the mistake, the walls and roof were already constructed. Although the new homeowners applied for and obtained a 2.5 inch setback variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the setback encroachment, Ryan nevertheless filed a lawsuit seeking a mandamus order so the home would have to be moved.

On appeal, the appellate court first determined that Ryan erred in citing 65 ILCS 5/11-13-15 as a basis for her mandamus lawsuit against the City. That statute (commonly referred to as the Adjoining Landowner Act) expressly states that it does not authorize any lawsuit against a municipality relating to enforcement of zoning regulations. 

Second, the appellate court held that because a municipal official has broad discretion in enforcing municipal ordinances, courts will not issue a writ of mandamus that would, in effect, substitute for that judgment. Here, the City had no clear duty to perform the acts that Ryan was requesting (revocation of the building permit for the new home and requiring the home builder to move a newly constructed home), which were within the City officials' discretion. 

Finally, the appellate court made it clear that there is no legal support for Ryan's argument that the City is obligated to enforce its ordinances. Instead, the court stated that enforcement of City ordinances is within the City's authority and discretion, but is not a mandatory duty that would entitle Ryan to relief. 

This ruling provides good guidance on a municipality's discretion in enforcing its zoning and building ordinances.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Pension Board Did Not Abuse Discretion in Denying City's Petition to Intervene

An Illinois appellate court recently upheld a Pension Board's denial of a City's petition to intervene in a disability hearing in City of Peoria v. Firefighters Pension Fund, 2019 IL App (3d) 190069.

A City firefighter applied for a line of duty disability pension from the Firefighters' Pension fund. He alleged that he was injured during a training exercise at the City's fire training academy. The Pension Fund scheduled a hearing on the application, and the City filed a petition to intervene claiming it had an interest in the proceeding because a line of duty disability pension would impact the firefighter's claims and the City's liability under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA). The Pension Board denied the City's petition to intervene, and then voted to award a line of duty disability pension to the firefighter by a 3-2 vote.

The City subsequently petitioned the Pension Board for permission to supplement the medical record, which was granted. The Pension Board heard additional evidence, including supplemental medical opinions, and voted a second time to grant the line of duty pension.

The City then filed a lawsuit in administrative review to challenge the Pension Board's decision. After the City's case was dismissed, the City then appealed.

On appeal, the appellate court first determined that the Pension Board has discretion to determine whether to allow the City to intervene in its proceedings, and that the City's interest in overseeing the expenditure of pension funds does not mandate the City's participation in the Pension Board's hearing process. In this case, the court did not find any abuse of discretion by the Pension Board in denying the City's petition to intervene.

Second, the appellate court acknowledged that although there were contrary opinions submitted in the proceeding, there was sufficient evidence to support the Pension Board's decision to award the line of duty pension.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cannabis Act Amendments Signed by Governor

As pretty much everyone in Illinois knows, January 1, 2020 is the first day that recreational cannabis will be legal in the state. Since the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was passed on June 25, 2019, a variety of concerns have been raised by municipalities, businesses, employers, and others regarding certain provisions of the Act, resulting in legislative discussions of a "trailer bill" to address some of these issues. We reported on this a couple of weeks ago here after both houses had approved it and it was sent to the Governor for his signature. 

Last week, the Governor signed P.A. 101-0593 approving changes to the Cannabis Act. While certainly not an exhaustive list of the extensive changes to the Act, we have summarized some of the amendments that affect local governments below:

Municipal and County Taxes

As amended, the Act will now allow municipalities and counties that enact a local sales tax on cannabis dispensaries to file their ordinance or resolution with the Department of Revenue by April 1, 2020 to begin collecting taxes as early as July 1, 2020. The initial Act wouldn't have allowed tax collection until September 1, 2020.  


The amended Act clarifies that the locational restrictions placed on the advertising of cannabis business establishments near certain sensitive uses do not apply to the exterior business signs of a cannabis business establishment that display only the name of the business.

On-Premises Consumption

As amended, the Act will clarify that on-site consumption of cannabis can only take place in a licensed dispensary or a retail tobacco store. Local governments are not authorized to expand on-site consumption beyond these two types of businesses but can establish restrictions or ban on-site consumption.

Public Safety Employees

The amended Act now states that the Act does not prevent public employers from prohibiting or taking disciplinary action against law enforcement officers or firefighters for consumption, possession, sales, purchase, or delivery of cannabis while on or off duty, unless otherwise provided by local policy or collective bargaining agreement.  

Employer Drug Policies

As amended, the Act clarifies that an employer may subject an employee to "reasonable and nondiscriminatory random drug tests" and can withdraw a job offer due to a failure of a drug test.

Cannabis Paraphernalia

As amended, the Act provides that the possession and use of cannabis paraphernalia is legal in connection with lawful cannabis use.


The trailer bill also makes certain changes to the expungement provisions of the Act, requiring courts to provide certificates of disposition to individuals after automatic expungement, among other changes.

Monday, December 9, 2019

FOIA Case Moot Because Records Provided to Requester

We don't see a lot of FOIA court cases - most of our guidance on FOIA comes from PAC opinions, both binding and advisory. Recently, however, an Illinois appellate court addressed a FOIA dispute in MAP v. City of Crystal Lake (unreported opinion).

In this case, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP) had filed a FOIA request with the City requesting attorney billing records and meeting minutes relating to a lawsuit involving the termination and subsequent reinstatement of police officers. The City provided the meeting minutes but denied the request for the attorney invoices and closed session meeting minutes. MAP filed a lawsuit challenging the City's denial of its FOIA request. While the lawsuit was ongoing, the City provided 136 pages of redacted attorney billing records to MAP. Both parties then filed motions for summary judgment. The circuit court ruled in favor of the City, and MAP appealed.

The appellate court did not rule on the merits of the FOIA request or response, instead finding the case moot because the City had already provided the requested records to MAP, which ended the dispute in this case. The appellate court also ruled that MAP forfeited any challenge to the City's redaction of the records or for the award of attorneys fees as a prevailing party because MAP failed to raise these issues in its motion for summary judgment. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Quorum Forum Podcast Episode 32: Holiday Special! New Laws for 2020

We have a new Quorum Forum Podcast episode for your listening pleasure: Quorum Forum Episode 32 - Holiday Special! New Laws for 2020

It's a Quorum Forum podcast holiday special! Ancel Glink attorneys are telling Santa what local governments need to know for the holidays and beyond. Christy Michaelson discusses maintaining city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, while Aaron Bitterman talks recent tort immunity cases. Finally, Mark Heinle reviews new laws affecting local governments and employers in the new year, on topics ranging from sexual harassment to the minimum wage. 

What do you think local governments need to know for the new year? Email us at podcast@ancelglink.com!

This podcast is provided as a service to our public and private sector clients and friends. It is intended to provide timely general information of interest, but should not be considered a substitute for legal advice. Read our full disclaimer: ancelglink.com/disclaimers

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Court Finds PSEBA Recipients Only Eligible For "Basic" Health Coverage

From Ancel Glink's labor and employment law blog The Workplace Report with Ancel Glink:

Last week the 3rd District Appellate Court affirmed the practice of a number of municipalities who limit their PSEBA recipients to only their “basic,” or lowest level, health insurance plan.

In Esser v. City of Peoria, the plaintiff, a former police officer, had suffered a catastrophic injury as defined under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”). He received a duty disability and applied for and was ultimately found eligible for benefits under PSEBA, which states in pertinent part, that an employer is required to pay the entire premium amount for “basic” health coverage for public safety employees who qualify under the Act.

The City had two health insurance plans from which employees could choose – a low deductible, and more expensive plan, and a high deductible, less costly plan. Previous to the plaintiff’s injury and a subsequent application for benefits under the Act, the City had approved an ordinance identifying its high deductible health insurance plan as its “basic” plan for purposes of the Act.

After the plaintiff was determined to be eligible for benefits pursuant to the Act, the City sent him a letter, notifying him that he was eligible for the high deductible plan at no cost per the Act, or he could choose the low deductible plan and pay the difference in premium between the two. He filed suit for declaratory judgment, asking the court to determine that he was eligible for the low deductible plan pursuant to the Act.

The appeals court held that the language of the act clearly states that the City’s (and any public employer’s) obligation is to pay the entire premium amount for “basic” health insurance, not the health insurance of the employee’s choice, or the most expensive health insurance, or any plan with more favorable coverage as might become available. Also, the City had previously identified the high deductible plan as being the “basic” plan for the City, and the one that was available at no cost to PSEBA recipients. Rules of statutory interpretation, the court concluded, required that the plain meaning of the language applied and that the plaintiff would be eligible for the designated high deductible plan identified by the City as its “basic” plan.

Public employers who have not yet passed ordinances identifying their “basic” health insurance plan for PSEBA recipients should consider doing so now, consistent with the decision in this case. Additionally, public employers should note that PSEBA recipients are not automatically eligible at no cost for the most expensive health insurance plan, or even the plan that they were on previously. In fact, it appears that the court in Esser has confirmed the practice of switching PSEBA recipients to an employer’s “basic” plan once the employee is determined to be eligible for benefits.

Post Originally Authored by Margaret Kostopulos, Ancel Glink


Monday, December 2, 2019

New Government Employer Requirements

It's December, which means there's less than a month until the New Year and compliance with any new laws taking effective in 2020. We'll be reporting on a few of these over the next few weeks, starting with changes to employment laws that affect local government employers.

P.A. 101-0221 was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2019. The Act made numerous changes to various employment laws. We have summarized two of these changes that affect local governments below, both of which require affirmative action by July 1, 2020. 

Elected Official Allegations of Sexual Harassment Against Another Elected Official

The Act amended the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to require local governments to adopt an ordinance or resolution to amend their sexual harassment policies to provide a mechanism for reporting and independent review of allegations of sexual harassment made by an elected official against another elected official. Local governments have six months from the effective date of the Act to amend their sexual harassment policies (so, the amendment should be adopted by July 1, 2020). 

Employer Disclosure of Adverse Harassment or Discrimination Judgments or Rulings

The Act establishes new reporting disclosure requirements for employers. Government employers are expressly included in this statute. Beginning July 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, an employer that has had an adverse judgment or administrative ruling in the previous calendar year must disclose the following to the Department of Human Rights:
  1. the total number of adverse judgments or administrative rulings during the previous year;
  2. whether any equitable relief was ordered against the employer in that judgment or ruling;
  3. how many judgments or rulings fall into the following categories: (a) sexual harassment; (b) discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex; (c) discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin; (d) discrimination or harassment on the basis of religion; (e) discrimination or harassment on the basis of age; (f) discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability; (g) discrimination or harassment on the basis of military status or unfavorable discharge;  (h) discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender identity; (i) discrimination or harassment on the basis of any other characteristic protected under the Act.
If DHS is investigating a charge, it can also request information about settlements that relate to any category listed above. 

The disclosures should not include the victim's name, and any annual reporting by DHS based on the information provided by employers will not disclose individual employers' reports.