The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Government Lawyers
Attorney General issues opinions
Under section 4 of the Attorney General Act (15 ILCS 205/4 (West 2000)), the Attorney General is authorized, upon request, to give written legal opinions to state officers and state's attorneys on matters relating to their official duties. The following is a summary official opinions 02-008 through 02-010 and informal opinions I-02-037 through I-02-047 that may be of interest to the government bar. (See, "Attorney General issues opinions" ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers newsletter, August 2002, Vol. 4, No. 1, for a summary official opinions 02-006 through 02-007 and informal opinions I-02-012 through I-02-036).
Copies of an opinion may be requested by contacting the Opinions Bureau in the Attorney General's Springfield office at (217) 782-9070. Copies official opinions may also be found on the Internet at <http://www.ag.state.il.us/opinions/opinions.html>.
Opinion No. 02-008, issued August 15, 2002: Filling a vacancy in a newly created position on the Teachers' Retirement System Board. Because Public Act 91-941, effective February 6, 2001, which created a second annuitant position on the Teachers' Retirement System Board, became effective after the last date upon which nominating petitions could have been filed for an election held on May 1, 2001, as provided by statute, and because no alternative or special election provisions are provided in the Public Act or in the Pension Code, a vacancy existed in the newly created office for the four-year term beginning July 15, 2001, and the board properly filled the vacancy by appointing a qualified person to the vacant position for the term ending July 15, 2005. 40 ILCS 5/16-165 (West 2000).
Opinion No. 02-009, issued August 28, 2002: State Board of Elections' voter registration database not exempt from disclosure under Freedom of Information Act. Subsection 7(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act exempts from inspection and copying public records that are "specifically prohibited from disclosure by Federal or State law * * *." The State Board of Elections' voter registration database is not specifically prohibited from disclosure under either Federal or State law. Therefore, the voter registration database is not exempt from disclosure under subsection 7(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(a) (West 2001 Supp.), as amended by Public Acts 92-0645, effective July 7, 2002 and 92-0651, effective July 7, 2002.
Opinion No. 02-010, issued September 4, 2002: Issuance of a driver's license to a foreign citizen ineligible for a social security number. Section 6-106 of the Illinois Vehicle Code authorizes the Secretary of State to issue a driver's license to a foreign citizen using a Federal tax number, in lieu of a social security number: (1) where an applicant is prohibited by bona fide religious convictions from applying for a social security number; or (2) where an applicant is "exempt" from applying for a social security number. The Social Security Act contains no exemptions from applying for social security numbers. Therefore, the General Assembly intended to authorize the Secretary of State to issue a driver's license to a foreign citizen who is ineligible for a social security number under federal law, and to use a federal tax number or other distinctive number in lieu thereof. 625 ILCS 5/6-106 (West 2000), as amended by Public Act 92-117, effective January 1, 2002; 42 U.S.C. ' 405.
Informal Opinion No. I-02-038, issued June 28, 2002: Representation and indemnification of members of metropolitan enforcement groups. Members of a Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad who have been appointed as inspectors by the Director of the Department of State Police are considered "state employees" for purposes of representation and indemnification pursuant to the State Employee Indemnification Act. 5 ILCS 350/1 (West 2000).
Informal Opinion No. I-02-039, issued July 12, 2002: Authority to set salaries for assistant state's attorneys. The county board is without authority to require that the state's attorney set salaries for his or her assistants within specific ranges established by the board. Likewise, the board is without authority to set salaries for assistant state's attorneys by separate line items in the annual budget. 55 ILCS 5/3-9006, 4-2003 (West 2000).
Informal Opinion No. I-02-043, issued August 14, 2002: Circuit clerk's preparation of orders pursuant to general order of chief judge. Section 1 of the Circuit Court Clerk Regulation Act prohibits a circuit court clerk or deputy clerk from preparing or drafting any document which is to be filed or recorded in the court in which he or she is clerk or deputy clerk, except such documents as such clerks are "by law required" to draft or prepare. A general order by the chief judge of the circuit court directing the clerk to prepare specific orders would be considered "by law required." Therefore, a circuit clerk and his or her deputies would not be prohibited by section 1 of the Circuit Court Clerk Regulation Act from preparing orders for a judge's signature pursuant to a validly entered general order of the chief judge of the circuit court. 705 ILCS 110/1 (West 2000).
Informal Opinion No. I-02-045, issued September 18, 2002: Application of the University Credit and Retail Sales Act to community college districts. Section 1 of the University Credit and Retail Sales Act indicates that its provisions extend to "state universities of higher learning." A community college district does not constitute a "state institution of higher learning," but rather is a unit of local government. Consequently, a community college district is not subject to the provisions of the University Credit and Retail Sales Act. 110 ILCS 115/1 (West 2000).
Informal Opinion No. I-02-046, issued September 18, 2002: County board member or spouse employed by county officer. The employment of a county board member by a county officer will violate section 3 of the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act, unless it meets one of the de minimus exceptions in the statute. A marital relationship between a county board member and an employee of a county officer or between a county board member and a county officer does not create a per se violation of section 3 of that Act. 50 ILCS 105/3 (West 2000).
Informal Opinion No. I-02-047, issued September 23, 2002: Transfer of property from Forest Preserve District to a Community College District. A forest preserve district may transfer to a community college district, upon such terms as the corporate authorities of each unit of local government may agree, property obtained by the forest preserve district by condemnation. 50 ILCS 605/2 (West 2000).