Madison Co., IL. (ECWd) -
The Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor finally issued a determination, taking 39 months to figure it out, confirming what we already knew; Madison County Board violated the Open Meetings Act on August 15, 2018, when it enforced its public comment policy of requiring a written 53-hour advance notice of a person's intent to speak at a county board meeting.
This is simply another determination in a long string of determinations related to public comment rules and how far in advance of a meeting a public body tried to force people to sign up. In Pecatonica Township, the AG determined former Supervisor Joe Musso violated the public's right to speak when requiring attendees to sign up 15 minutes in advance of a meeting (here, here, and here). The AG also published a Binding Opinion against McLean County Board for unreasonable advanced sign-up rules (here).
On August 18, 2018, Kirk Allen and I attended the Madison County board meeting (article here) to speak to the board. I signed up in advance and was permitted to speak, Kirk did not sign up in advance and was not permitted to speak. He filed a request for review with the AG's PAC office. This determination comes more than three years after the alleged violation - which is one reason people take it to the courts instead of to the AG. This should not have taken three years to figure out.
The Madison County Board has since amended its public comment policy; however, the new policy is still in violation of the Open Meetings Act and we suggest they amend it again.
Public comment rules are designed to enhance the public's right to speak, not to further restrict them.
Read the AG determination below: