Pecatonica Township, IL. (ECWd) -
The Illinois Attorney General has issued another in a long and growing list of determinations stating that Supervisor Musso and the Pecatonica Township Board has violated state law by unlawfully restricting protected speech, many times with the Township's Attorney present at the meetings.
From the Determination:
- the Public Access Bureau concludes that the Pecatonica Township Board of Trustees (Board) violated the requirements of OMA in connection with its July 16, 2019, meeting by enforcing an unreasonable public comment rule to prohibit a member of the public from addressing the Board
- The Public Access Bureau has previously determined that the same rule at issue in this Request for Review-the Board's requirement that an individual wishing to speak at a Board meeting must sign up no later than 15 minutes before the start of the meeting-violates section 2.06(g) of OMA. Ill. Att'y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 51413, issued November 2, 2018; Ill. Att'y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 56533, issued May 20, 2019; Ill. Att'y Gen. PAC Req. Rev. Ltr. 61828, issued October 20, 2020
- As with the previous Requests for Review, this office concludes that the Board did not demonstrate that imposing its 15-minute advance sign up requirement was reasonably necessary to maintain order or to ensure that its meeting was conducted efficiently. Because the Board did not provide any new rationale that would warrant a different result here, it is unnecessary for this office to repeat the same analysis
- Under these circumstances, the Public Access Bureau concludes that the Board violated section 2.06(g) of OMA at its July 16, 2019, meeting when it prohibited Ms. Hamilton from addressing the Board
- This office again requests that the Board review and revise its ordinance regulating public comment accordingly
We believe it is time for the State's Attorney to start prosecuting these violations of law as the crimes they are. Musso has been given ample warnings and multiple determinations from the Attorney General, and at some point, he must pay the price for his willful violations.