Portions of proposal 93-17 were first brought to the attention of the ISBA in 2000 by the Local Government Section Council, seeking to codify the holding in Freedom Oil Co. v. Ill. Pollution Board on behalf of municipalities, units of local government and school districts. The Freedom Oil case basically held that a telephone conference meeting by a State Administrative agency does not violate the State's Open Meetings Act.
Proposal 93-17 now seeks to create the Electronic Attendance Act, which would authorize attendance at these types of meetings by any kind of electronic means, including teleconference and others. However, limitations are placed on the attendee's usage of these special means and include situations where the member is suffering from a personal illness or disability, family emergency and/or absence from the district for employment purposes or other business of the public body.
To date, the ISBA Board of Governors has postponed taking any action on the proposal, waiting for language to be made more consistent with past proposals. Several ISBA Committees have voiced their opinions on the proposal to the Board. The General Practice Committee opposed the initial proposal as they felt it violated the true purpose of the Open Meetings Act. The Environmental and Administrative Law Committees wanted the language removed that referred to including "State Agencies" as a covered body.
If any member has further comments or concerns, please bring these to the attention of the Board of Governors or Jim Covington, Director of Legislative Affairs for the ISBA.