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August 9, 2022

Village of Montrose backtracks on video taping “policy” –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 1, 2020

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)

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4 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 17:26h, 01 June

    Limiting public attendance to a public meeting….. they must have something to hide

  • Aaron
    Posted at 08:27h, 02 June

    “At this time” ??

  • MJ
    Posted at 16:32h, 02 June

    This is one of the worse boards I have watched. They need to be held accountable. Apparently the lawyer and the board doesn’t think so though. How dumb can they be.

  • R Hamilton
    Posted at 11:21h, 04 June

    You should watch some Pecatonica township meeting videos. They have an ordinance that says you can only video record meetings from a designated 4 foot by 4 foot square. At one meeting there were 3 people were sitting in that 4×4 foot square.

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