CAC conducted a survey of over 750 local government websites to audit compliance with public notice requirements. Survey results showed that despite the legal requirement to post public notices on websites, many government bodies do not comply. Only 73% posted notices of meetings, 57% posted meeting agendas, and 48% posted meeting minutes.
When HB261 was introduced in January 2015, recent articles cited the CAC survey to demonstrate why HB261 is a bad idea and should be defeated. The bill seeks to undermine current public notice requirements in Illinois by eliminating public notices from newspapers (and from PublicNoticeIllinois.com where every public notice published in newspapers around the state is posted). It would allow notices to be posted ONLY on government websites.
The proposed changes in HB261 would limit the public's access to information, and make it difficult, if not impossible, for local citizens to act as watchdogs over their tax dollars and to monitor the more than 7,000 public bodies in Illinois.
The bill is currently stalled in committee in the Illinois House -- Counties and Townships Committee -- after an initial vote. However, the bill's sponsor is promising to bring it up for another vote and is continuing to add co-sponsors.
It takes vigilance to protect transparency. CAC is doing the work necessary to keep Sunshine Laws strong in Illinois.
Articles that cite CAC survey:
Belleville News Democrat
Shining a light on government
State Journal-Register Editorial: Reasons for Sunshine Week abound at all levels of government
Bill eliminating local government notices in newpapers fails
The News Gazette
Quad-Cities Online Editorial: Illinois public notice bill terrible for state's taxpayers 2/22/15
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