Open Meetings Act – A companion resource list
If you missed our committee’s live CLE presentation on November 17, 2016, or were able to attend but want more information sources on the Open Meetings Act, we’re happy to help. Here are some informative links to online sources about the Open Meetings Act.
• The Open Meetings Act – 5 ILCS 120/1 et seq.
As government lawyers, we know the most important place to start is the statutory text of the law with which we are dealing. The Illinois General Assembly website hosts a version of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, including the Open Meetings Act:
• The Public Access Counselor
Substantial revisions to the Open Meetings Act became effective January 1, 2010. Among these changes was the establishment of the Public Access Counselor (PAC) within the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The Open Meetings Act authorizes the PAC to review state agency compliance with the state Freedom of Information Act, and to determine if public bodies have complied with the Open Meetings Act by issuing binding opinions. The PAC also provides a wealth of educational resources on the Open Meetings Act, including FAQs directed at both public bodies and members of the public. In addition, the PAC hosts electronic training on the Open Meetings Act for members of public bodies. A version of the training is also available for the general public.
Public training for Open Meetings Act:
Binding PAC opinions from 2010 to present:
Educational materials (FAQs, PAC Guide, and links to statutes):
• Attorney General Opinions Bureau
Prior to the creation of the PAC on January 1, 2010, the Illinois Attorney General handled Open Meetings Act questions and issues through its Opinions Bureau. A searchable database of Attorney General Opinion letters is available on the Attorney General website:
• Citizens’ Advocacy Center informational brochures
Non-governmental sources can also be helpful for quick reference and to understand how the public interacts with our agencies and the laws for which we are responsible. The Citizens’ Advocacy Center last revised its Open Meetings Act brochure in 2012 to include material on the PAC. Its website also has information on other state laws such as the Local Records Act and Freedom of Information Act. The list of brochures is here:
• Municipal Minute blog
Municipal Minute is a blog written by lawyers with the law firm Ancel Glink who specialize in representing local government clients. The posts cover a wide cross-section of local government issues, but always cover new amendments to the Open Meetings Act and also summarize any new binding PAC opinions that are released, usually with some helpful discussion of how other local government units might view the decision or apply it to their policies. The blog has a specific category for “Open Meetings” which can be selected on the left margin of the blog:
• Other ISBA resources
On February 13, 2015, the Education Law section of the ISBA presented a CLE on the Open Meetings Act and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. That program is available as a webcast through the ISBA’s online CLE library:
Other ISBA members have written about the Open Meetings Act in section newsletters in the past, including some of our committee members. A list of ISBA newsletter articles on the Open Meetings Act is here:
If you know of other great resources for information on the Open Meetings Act, let us know by contacting the author or one of the officers of the committee.