The Legislation Subcommittee completed its second full legislative session in June. We believe that one of the most concrete ways that the Committee on Government Lawyers can have a measurable impact on the policies and programs of the ISBA is through the work of an active Legislation Subcommittee. Our hope is that by demonstrating this impact, we will give government lawyers another reason for giving serious consideration to membership and participation in the activities of the Committee on Government Lawyers and the ISBA.
From its inception, the Committee on Government Lawyers concluded that we should limit our activity to commenting only on bills that we believe merited our special attention, rather than attempting to comment upon everything that the ISBA's Department of Legislative Affairs sent us. We also discussed the topics or areas of legislation that we wanted the DLA to bring to our attention.
During the session that was just completed, the subcommittee reviewed 14 bills at the request of the Department of Legislative Affairs. The full committee concluded that it should offer specific commentary on 13 of those bills, with the following results: the committee issued statements of support for six bills; issued statements in opposition to three bills; and concluded that it should not take any position on four bills.
At the time that this article was written, three of the bills on which the committee took a position had passed the legislature and were awaiting action by the Governor. They were as follows: HB 549, which the Committee supported, amends the Counties Code to increase the compensation for public defenders; HB 1029, which the Committee supported, revised the definition of "news media" in several statutes (such as the Freedom of Information Act, the State Records Act, and the Local Records Act) to include news services and periodicals issued in an electronic format as well as in print, and television networks. Finally, the Committee opposed HB 3078, which also amends the FOIA by specifying that a public body's agreement settling litigation, other than litigation brought by a prisoner, is a public record.
The following are bills which have been signed by the Governor and enacted, and which may be of interest to government lawyers:
Public Act 92-0017 (HB 779)
Amends the Associate Judges Act to provide that the minimum number of associate judges authorized for any circuit with a population of at least 173,000 (instead of any circuit with a population of at least 173,000 but not more than 177,000) shall be five. Effective June 28, 2001.
Public Act 92-0019 (HB 1623)
Amends the Attorney General Act concerning legal fees in land claim disputes. Requires the Attorney General to determine that the authorization to pay fees is in the public interest and that the legal representation can be conducted efficiently and reasonably to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and costs. Provides that fees may not be paid for persons, units of local government, or school districts that have legal representation available through a title insurer. Provides that fees may not exceed $100,000 in fiscal year 2001 and $100,000 in fiscal year 2002 (instead of $100,000 total.) Requires the Attorney General to submit a report to the General Assembly by March 15, 2002, concerning the payment of fees. Effective June 30, 2001.
Public Act 92-0021 (HB 2563)
Amends the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Act to change the membership of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority from 18 to 20 members by adding the State Appellate Defender and an additional member of the general public to the Authority. Effective July 1, 2001.
Public Act 92-0022 (HB 2900)
Among other things, amends the Attorney General Act to authorize the Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all legal proceedings on matters relating to telecommunications when necessary to protect the rights of Illinois citizens. Amends the Public Utilities Act to provide that the Public Utilities Act is not intended to limit the power of state's attorneys and the Attorney General under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Authorizes the Commerce Commission to seek a court order to stop violations by telecommunications carriers. Authorizes the Commission to assess civil penalties on telecommunications carriers. Authorizes penalties of up to 0.00875% of a carrier's gross intrastate annual telecommunications revenue. Establishes a procedure for recovery of civil penalties by the Commission. Prohibits telecommunications carriers from unreasonably refusing access to operation support systems to other carriers and from failing to provide unbundled services as required by the Illinois Commerce Commission or the Federal Communications Commission. Establishes competitive market requirements for carriers that offer both competitive and noncompetitive services. Establishes procedures for the authorization and verification of a subscriber's change in telecommunications carrier. Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to prohibit a telecommunications carrier from offering products or services to be billed on a telephone bill except in compliance with the Public Utilities Act. Effective June 30, 2001.
Public Act 92-0032 (SB 610)
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Defines the term "personally identifying information" to mean information that identifies an individual, including his or her photograph, social security number, driver identification number, name, address, telephone number, and medical or disability information. Provides that the Secretary of State may limit the sale of certain vehicle or driver data to entities that purchase a minimum number of records. Provides that this information shall not contain personally identifying information unless it is used for one of certain specified purposes. Provides that registration lists purchased from the Secretary of State by sheriffs and chiefs of police may be used for governmental purposes only. Limits the sale of registration lists to sheriffs and chiefs of police. Effective July 1, 2001.
Public Act 92-0054 (HB 513)
Amends the State Employee Article of the Pension Code. Changes the method of calculating interest when purchasing service credit for certain periods of military service. Effective July 12, 2001.
Public Acts 92-0055 and 92-0059
(HB 857 and SB 194)
Amends the Controlled Substance and Cannabis Nuisance Act to provide that the state's attorney may file a complaint to have property abated as a public nuisance after 60 days have elapsed since the owner or owner's agent has failed to comply with recommendations of the state's attorney to abate the nuisance after appearing before the state's attorney. Effective July 12, 2001.
Public Act 92-0058 (SB 138)
Creates the Drug Court Treatment Act. Permits the chief judge of each judicial circuit to establish a drug court program. Contains provisions concerning eligibility for the program, assessment of defendants, and operation of the program. Provides that the program shall include a regimen of graduated requirements and rewards and sanctions, including but not limited to: fines, fees, costs, restitution, incarceration, individual and group therapy, drug analysis testing, close monitoring for a minimum of 30 days and supervision of progress, educational or vocational counseling as appropriate, and other requirements necessary to fulfill the drug court program. Sets forth dispositional options for defendants who successfully complete the program and those who fail to do so. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0064 (SB 376)
Amends the School Code to allow a school district to adopt a policy providing that if a student is suspended or expelled for any reason from any public or private school in this or any other state, the student must complete the entire term of the suspension or expulsion before being admitted into the school district. Provides that this policy may allow placement of the student in an alternative school program, if available, for the remainder of the suspension or expulsion. Effective July 12, 2001.
Public Act 92-0068 (SB 542)
Creates the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act. Requires an employer to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. Requires an employer to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. Effective July 12, 2001.
Public Act 92-0081 (SB 1049)
Amends the Criminal Code of 1961 to provide that if a person is charged with criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, or predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and the victim requests it, the prosecuting attorney must seek a court order requiring that the defendant be tested for all sexually transmissible diseases (instead of just HIV.) Effective July 12, 2001.
Public Act 92-0091 (SB 464)
Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that the hearsay exception for the admissibility of out of court statements by eligible adults (those 60 years or older who reside in a domestic living situation, who are, or alleged to be, abused, neglected or financially exploited by another individual and who have been diagnosed by a physician to suffer from any form of dementia, developmental disability or other form of mental incapacity or any physical infirmity) applies to certain crimes, including physical abuse of the eligible adult. Effective July 18, 2001.
Public Act 92-0095 (SB 787)
Creates the Local Government Disaster Service Volunteer Act. Provides that local governments, by ordinance, may agree to compensate employees who are certified disaster volunteers for up to 20 working days per 12-month period when the employees are providing disaster services related to a disaster in Illinois and certain other requirements are met. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0097 (SB 1048)
Amends the Probate Act of 1975. Provides that a sale of a decedent's real estate may be conducted by means of the Internet or any other electronic medium as approved by the court. Provides that the notice required to be given by means of the Internet or other electronic medium must include a statement that public access to the Internet is available at public libraries. Provides that any notice required to be given by means of the Internet or other electronic medium is in addition to any other notice required in connection with a public sale of a decedent's real estate. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0101 (HB 289)
Amends the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act to provide that a person whose multiple offices or positions each require a statement of economic interests need file only one statement with the Secretary of State, for offices and positions required to file with the Secretary of State, or one statement with a county clerk, for offices and positions required to file with that county clerk. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public act 92-0102 (HB 904)
Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that municipalities have the power to acquire real and personal property, wherever located, and rights in real and personal property, by gift, grant, and legacy and to use that property for purposes authorized by the Code. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0109 (HB 3069)
Amends the Counties Code, the Illinois Municipal Code, the Code County Forest Preserve District Act, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Act, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, the School Code, the Housing Authorities Act, and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Allows a county with a population of 3,000,000 or more, a municipality with a population of 500,000 or more, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, the Chicago Park District, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Board of Education, and a housing authority of a municipality with a population of 500,000 or more to deduct debts owed to another of those entities from the wages of its employees, where the municipality, the county, the Cook County Forest Preserve District, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Board of Education, or a housing authority certifies that the employee has received notice of a wage deduction order and has been afforded an opportunity for a hearing to object to the order. Effective July 20, 2001.
Public Act 92-0114 (HB 3576)
Amends the Clerks of Courts Act. Provides that, in counties having a population of 180,000 inhabitants or less, the circuit clerk may charge, in addition to the amount already owed, a fee of $25 for each check delivered to the circuit clerk that is not honored on two occasions by the financial institution upon which it is drawn because of insufficient funds in the account, because the account is closed, because there is no account, or because a stop payment has been placed on the check.
Further amends the Clerks of Courts Act to provide that counties having one or more state correctional institutions shall, in addition to compensation from the county board, receive a minimum reimbursement from the state treasury in the amount of $2,500 for administrative assistance (rather than $10,000 for one employee) to perform services in connection with the state correctional institution. Counties whose state correctional institution inmate population exceeds 250 shall receive reimbursement in the amount of $2,500 per 250 inmates.
Amends the Local Government Acceptance of Credit Cards Act. Provides that a local governmental entity may impose fees on credit card transactions that are greater than the amounts specified in the Act if (i) the fee imposed by the local governmental entity is no greater than a fee charged by the financial institution or service provider accepting and processing credit card payments on behalf of the local governmental entity; (ii) the financial institution or service provider accepting and processing the credit card payments was selected by competitive bid and, when applicable, in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Procurement Code; and (iii) the local governmental entity fully discloses the amount of the fee to the cardholder. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0116 (SB 195)
Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Changes the provision under which a defendant whose identity was mistaken and who was not named in the original action may be made a defendant to the cause of action without the application of the statute of limitations. Requires that the defendant must have received notice of the commencement of the action within the limitation period and that he or she would not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits and knew or should have known that but for a mistake concerning the identity of the party the action would have been brought against him or her. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0129 (SB 1109)
Amends the Election Code. Deletes provisions requiring persons circulating petitions for nomination and petitions for public questions to be a registered voter. Provides that persons circulating those petitions must be 18 years of age or older and citizens of the United States. Requires petitions to include a circulator's statement that certifies certain information. Deletes provisions allowing the circulation of certain petitions for nomination during the 45 days preceding the last day for filing those petitions for the 1994 general primary election. Effective July 20, 2001.
Public Act 92-0137 (HB 2161)
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the state's attorney must notify the Secretary of State of the charges pending against any person younger than 18 years of age who has been charged with a violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code or the Criminal Code of 1961 arising out of an accident in which the person was involved as a driver and that caused the death of or serious injury to another person. Provides that the state's attorney must notify the Secretary on a form prescribed by the Secretary. Provides that upon receiving that notice, the Secretary may deny any driver's license to any person younger than 18 years of age against whom the charges are pending. Provides that the state's attorney must notify the Secretary of the disposition of the case of any person who has been denied a driver's license under the new provision. Provides that the Secretary must adopt rules for implementing the new provision. Effective July 24, 2001.
Public Act 92-0141 (HB 3054)
Amends the Vital Records Act. Allows the State Registrar of Vital Records to implement an electronic reporting system for death registrations. Provides that, in addition to any other fees charged by the local registrar or county clerk, the local registrar or county clerk must charge a $2 fee for each certified copy of a death certificate. Provides that the $2 fee must be transmitted to the State Registrar and deposited into the Death Certificate Surcharge Fund. Provides that moneys in the Death Certificate Surcharge Fund may be used to train deputy coroners, forensic pathologists, and police officers for homicide investigations and for implementing an electronic reporting system for death registrations. Effective July 24, 2001.
Public Act 92-0152 (HB 10)
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Permits the use of a single-sided headset or earpiece with a cellular or other mobile telephone. Effective July 25, 2001.
Public Act 92-0162 (SB 686)
Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 and the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. Provides for service of a short form notification of an order of protection instead of service of a copy of the order on the respondent. Effective January 1, 2002.
Public Act 92-0171 (SB 98)
Amends the Child Passenger Protection Act. Provides that every person transporting a child four years of age or older but under the age of 16 (instead of six) shall be responsible for securing the child in a child restraint system or seat belts. Effective January 1, 2002.
We expect to again be busy and active when the General Assembly reconvenes this fall and more so during the next spring session. Our experience and ambitions are meaningless, however, if you are not reading, listening, responding and assisting in these efforts. We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities which the Legislation Subcommittee, as well as the other subcommittees of the Government Lawyers Committee, offers by being vocal in your opinions, advice and encouragement. We look forward to serving you and the interests of government lawyers in the months and years to come.