New Illinois Laws in 2015
1) Referendum Required to Close Fire Facility - HB 4418 amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Effective January 1, 2015, cities or villages are now prohibited from closing its fire department without referendum approval.
2) Dissolution and Consolidation of Fire Protection Districts - HB 5856 amends the Fire Protection District Act to provide that the voters of a fire protection district may vote to simultaneously dissolve and consolidate the district into an adjoining fire protection district. This amendment is effective January 1, 2015.
3) Local Government-Recycling Bins - SB 3294 is effective January 1, 2015 and provides that a household goods recycling bin shall have a permanent written or printed label affixed to the bin and prominently displayed. The bill also provides other label requirements.
4) Voluminous Requests - HB 3796 provides a definition for "voluminous request" and allows the public to respond to a voluminous request in the same manner as when responding to a recurrent requester under the current law. It provides that a public body is not required to provide a copy or allow the public inspection of a public record that is published on the public body's website unless the requester does not have reasonable electronic access.
5) Local Records Destruction Penalty - Effective January 1, 2015, HB 4216 adds language from the Criminal Code to the Local Records Act. A similar change was made to the State Records Act. The legislation does not impose any new penalty that does not already exist under current law.
6) Local Government Audit Reports - HB 5503 amends the Counties Code and the Illinois Municipal Code and is effective January 1, 2015. The amendment provides that within 60 days of the close of an audit of the county's funds and accounts each fiscal year, the auditor shall provide a copy of any management letter and a copy of any audited financial statements to each member of the county board. The auditor must also present the information from the audit to the county board either in person or by a live phone or web connection during the meeting. If the county maintains an internet website, the county board shall post the information contained in the management letter or financial statements to its website.
7) Real Estate-Valuation Waiver - HB 5709, effective January 1, 2015, reduces the cost of obtaining right-of-way or temporary easements by allowing properly trained municipal employees to complete federal valuation waivers for right-of-way or temporary easements if the value of the parcel or easement is under $10,000 without hiring a licensed appraiser.
8) Resale Dealers Act - SB 1778 creates the Resale Dealers Act. This act is effective January 1, 2015 and imposes regulations on resale dealers. It authorizes counties or municipalities to impose stricter regulations than provided under state law. Every resale dealer will deliver a legible and exact copy form the resale dear's record book that lists each item of personal property and any other valuable items purchased during the preceding day to the local law enforcement each day. These lists include the exact time when the personal property or valuable items were received or purchased and a description of the person or persons that sold or left the property items in pledge. Law enforcement agencies are permitted to place a hold order on property in the possession of a resale dealer under certain circumstances, and the resale dealer shall be required to turn the property over to law enforcement.
9) Administrative Appeals - Effective January 1, 2015, SB 2829 amends the Code of Civil Procedure to provide that in a successful appeal under the Administrative Review Law of an adverse decision by a unit of local government, the court shall award the plaintiff all reasonable costs, including court costs and attorney's fees associated with the appeal. The bill provides that if the court finds the decision by the unit of local government was clearly erroneous or that the plaintiff's right to due process were abridged, the court may award the plaintiff all reasonable costs associated with eth entire case dating back to the inception of the administrative proceeding.
10) E-Mail Addresses for Elected Officials - HB 5623 amends the Local Records Act to provide that each unit of local government or school district other than Chicago that maintains an internet website other than a social media or social networking website shall post to its website for the current calendar year a mechanism, such as a single uniform email address, for members of the public to electronically communicate with elected officials of that unit of local government or school district. The bill requires the information to be easily accessible from the unit of local government's or school district's home page through a hyperlink. The bill limits home rule powers and is effective January 1, 2015.
11) Vehicle Impound Release Procedures for Counties - HB 4743 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to provide that counties may adopt administrative procedures for the release of impound vehicles. This amendment is effective January 1, 2015 despite the fact that municipalities already possess this authority. The bill also provides that counties and municipalities that do not wish to set up an administrative review of the hearing officer's decisions shall direct appeals to the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the county or municipality.