The 93rd Illinois General Assembly adjourned on May 31, 2003, and will return for the fall veto session in mid-November. The following is a summary of the status of several pieces of legislation that passed both Houses of the General Assembly that may be of general interest to government lawyers.
HB 469--Amends the State Lawsuit Immunity Act. Provides that a worker, former worker, or prospective worker of the State who is aggrieved by any conduct or action of the State that would constitute a violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and certain related acts, may bring a civil action against the State; related provisions. Passed both Houses on May 16, 2003. Sent to the Governor on June 13, 2003.
HB 539 (Public Act 93-0043)--Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Provides that the exemption conditioned upon the reasonable expectation of public loss or private gain does not extend to requests made by the news media when the requested information is not otherwise exempt and the only purpose of the request is to access and disseminate information regarding the public's health, safety, welfare and legal rights. Passed both Houses on May 9, 2003. Sent to the Governor on June 6, 2003. Approved by the Governor on June 30, 2003. Effective July 1, 2003.
SB 690--Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Permits a court to award costs, as well as fees, to a prevailing party who sought disclosure. If, however, a court finds that the fundamental purpose of the request was to further the commercial interests of the requestor, a court may award reasonable attorney fees and costs if the court finds that the record or records in question were of clearly significant interest to the general public and that the public body lacked any reasonable basis in law for withholding the record. Passed both Houses on May 29, 2003. Sent to the Governor on June 27, 2003.
SB 1530--Amends the Procurement Code. Creates a five-year ban against bids from and contracts with businesses with personnel convicted of felonies under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act or Securities Law. Specifies that managerial agents are the agents whose convictions are considered for purposes of the prohibition. Requires that bids and contracts certify that the business is not barred by the ban and permits a State agency to void a contract if the certification is false. Passed both Houses on May 30, 2003. Sent to the Governor on June 27, 2003.
SB 1872--Creates the Whistleblower Act. Provides that an employer may not: make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation; retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation; or retaliate against an employee for refusing to participate in an activity that would result in a violation of a State or federal law, rule, or regulation. Passed both Houses on May 22, 2003. Sent to the Governor on June 20, 2003.
For other articles summarizing pieces of legislation considered in the spring by the 93rd General Assembly, see "Legislative Update" ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers newsletter, February 2003, Vol. 4, No. 4 (<http://www.isba.org/sections/governmentlawyers/2-03b.htm#gen12>) and "Legislative Update" ISBA Standing Committee on Government Lawyers newsletter, May 2003, Vol. 4, No. 5 (<http://www.isba.org/sections/governmentlawyers/5-03b.htm#gen10>).