Effingham Co. (ECWd) –
The Village of Montrose, Illinois has a recent history of intimidating people wanting to attend village meetings.
- April 2020: Village attempts to keep people from attending the meeting. There were only 8 people in the meeting room, and they refused another person access. The Effingham County Sheriff’s Department was called, and a Deputy talked to the board and told them the law required they permit people to attend open public meetings.
- May 2020: Village refuses to permit public comment. Village held an illegal meeting by changing the date on the posted agenda 30 minutes prior to the meeting so that it would actually match when the meeting was to be held. They insulted a person who attended and a board member said “my attorney said you don’t have to let them say a damn word.” The village president also called the person attending “stupid” and a trustee insulted his wife.
- June 2020: The Village placed a note on the front doors of village hall referencing video recording village meetings. the note stated that in order to video record a meeting you must:
- Sign a letter attesting that you will:
- Agree not to video anything prior to the meeting starting
- Agree not to edit the video
- Agree not to cut the video
- Agree that video must be shown in its entirety
- Agree that otherwise, video recording is not allowed
The Village of Montrose has a meeting this evening, June 1, 2020, at 6:30 p.m.
We find it hard to believe any public official would think this is a good idea.
These video recording restrictions violate the Open Meetings Act, section 2.05, Recording meetings.
These restrictions are also a “prior restraint” on publication, which offends the First Amendment.
Merely minutes prior to our filing of a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, the Village attorney called our attorney and stated that he never gave Montrose officials any advice for any such video recording restrictions.
In the letter below, Montrose will not “at this time” enforce those restrictions.2020.06.01 Ltr from Atty Payne (ECW - Montrose)