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*** UPDATED x5 *** Amendment introduced to allow remote legislating

Saturday, May 23, 2020

* House Amendment 5 to SB2135 added some new language today

In times of pestilence or an emergency resulting from the effects of enemy attack or threatened enemy attack, members may participate remotely and cast votes in sessions, by joint proclamation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, and committees of either the House of Representatives or Senate may participate remotely pursuant to the rules of the chamber. The House of Representatives and the Senate shall adopt rules for remote participation.

The rules of the chamber may require that a quorum of the members is physically present at the location of the session or the committee meeting. As used in this Section, “participate remotely” means simultaneous, interactive participation in session or committee meeting by members not physically present, through means of communication technologies designed to accommodate and facilitate such simultaneous, interactive participation and where members of the public may view such meetings or sessions. This subsection (b) is inoperative on and after June 1, 2022.

Interesting that the rules “may” mandate a physical quorum.

[Hat tip: Amanda Vinicky]

*** UPDATE 1 *** After what seemed like days of debate, the full bill fell short and is now on Postponed Consideration…


Five Black Caucus members (Ammons, Buckner, Flowers, Meyers-Martin, Tarver) three Downstaters (Ammons, Bristow, Yednock) and suburbanite Stava-Murray.

Rep. Lamont Robinson voted “Present.” Rep. Delia Ramirez did not vote. All other Democratic non-voters have excused absences.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The bill has been amended to remove just about everything except keeping some zoological parks open without charging the public.

*** UPDATE 3 *** I gotta slow down. The bill was amended, but everything is still in it and the zoo stuff has been changed.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Argh!!! The FOIA language has been removed. Remote voting and everything else is still in. I may have a small glass of red wine.

*** UPDATE 5 *** OK, I’m gonna walk away from my computer for five minutes. Remote voting is OUT. Oy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Flapdoodle - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    “Interesting that the rules “may” mandate a physical quorum.”

    This follows a provision in the OMA allowing individual members of public bodies to attend meetings remotely under circumstances so long as there is a physical quorum at the meeting place. The provision was suspended early on in the pandemic. Why in the world would anyone include something like this in a measure intended to enable remote participation during a crisis? Seems to defeat the purpose and could easily be manipulated to prevent meetings from occurring.

  2. - Anon221 - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    “As used in this Section, “participate remotely” means simultaneous, interactive participation in session or committee meeting by members not physically present, through means of communication technologies designed to accommodate and facilitate such simultaneous, interactive participation and where members of the public may view such meetings or sessions. This subsection (b) is inoperative on and after June 1, 2022.”

    I glad it has a sunset date ( some snap), but how many of the legislators have been on a large to very large Zoom or WebX lately? I can easily see public participation, especially in committee meetings being trod right over. This is happening throughout the state right now with county and municipal meetings . If the state legislature intends to go down this road, be aware of the consequences. It might be better to enshrine in the proposed legislation what business can legally be done under such a system. Otherwise, the lobsters are going to be trying to work the system to their clients best interests in a manner that could completely shut out the citizens of the State.

  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 4:09 pm:

    I like the term pestilence. Does that also cover locusts, boils and other Biblical plagues?

  4. - Rich Hill - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==I like the term pestilence.==

    Was this provision to keep Darren Bailey off the floor?

  5. - Watcher of the Skies - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    So to be clear, SB 2135 will allow any unit of government to ignore FOIAs sent in early March until July without any penalty. If they violate requests in bad faith, even if they did so earlier than the law, they’ll be shielded from any penalty. In fact, they will be condoned.

  6. - Watcher of the Skies - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    Excuse me, late June, depending when the governor actually signs this. If it’s before June 1, the responses will be due late June.

  7. - FOIA is important - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 6:18 pm:

    Right on @Watcher of the Skies at 4:42 pm. This bill cannot pass as is. We need more transparency, not less. Public has already had so much less access to info during pandemic. Public meetings aren’t happening severely hindering public oversight of executive branch actions. Minimal legislative session with significant restrictions on public access including the press, which has created severe challenges for public voice in government decision-making.

    Simultaneously, important public business is underway:
    -government spending - the legislature is going to cede significant spending discretion to Governor this budget year. Also, hazard pay is in effect (as it should be), but shouldn’t we know how much that’s costing? Overtime costs?
    - government entering in contracts - some purchases may be necessary and urgent, while other procurements may sidestep regular oversight processes
    - government surveillance - in response to staffing shortages, police departments elect alternative surveillance that goes unchecked
    - data collection - health information is being aggregated and tracking is being used in unprecedented way for govt doing “contact tracing” for COVID, which may or may not protect privacy adequately or present prospective issues for 4th amendment violation.

    During a time of pandemic, we rightly accept balance of individual liberties in interest of collective good. It’s not in the interest of individuals or the collective when to cut the public out and is contrary to the FOIA statutory mandate itself:
    Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest. 5 ILCS 140/1

  8. - Hog Man - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 6:50 pm:

    I appreciate Mary Flowers

  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 7:10 pm:

    ****ty bill. Get something real together, please.

  10. - Just Me 2 - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 8:31 pm:

    This is another example of a bill cooked up in a mad scientist’s laboratory, and people are rushing it through without fixing mistakes. Rushed bills are always bad bills.

  11. - Just Another Anon - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 8:40 pm:

    This bill is a minefield for local governments to use to meet electronically. It demands verification but doesn’t say what that means. It requires a roll call vote for all votes, including procedural votes such as a motion to combine agenda items. All this will do is ensure that the public access counselor and local governments will need to spend more time and money to clear up what the general assembly intended.Many aspects of this bill are poorly reasoned at best, and outright malicious at worst. Make it simple, make it easy. Provide that public comment shall be read into the record after being submitted a reasonable time before the meeting. Provide that meetings must be streamed or conducted via telephone and that the ability to listen/observe must be provided to the public. Boom. Simple, easy, and transparent.

  12. - Newhere - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 8:57 pm:

    Isn’t it a page and line amendment?

  13. - Helm - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 9:19 pm:

    I think House Amendment #5 is still the gut & replace language with Amendments 6 through 9 being page and line amendments but my eyes are getting a bit buggy so apologies for any oversights.

  14. - Helm - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 9:35 pm:

    Is it just remote voting for ILGA that has been removed or remote voting for all units of local government ?

    Will the Chicago City Council, County Board, etc., start having to meet in person after the expiration of the Governor’s Disaster Declaration ?

  15. - @misterjayem - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 9:36 pm:


    You okay, Rich?

    – MrJM

  16. - Bruce( no not him) - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 9:46 pm:

    Small glass? Go for the bottle.

  17. - Glengarry - Saturday, May 23, 20 @ 11:57 pm:

    Rich, go for the hard stuff. Tequila is my friend.

  18. - Rich Miller - Sunday, May 24, 20 @ 12:20 am:

    ===go for the hard stuff.===

    Sticking with a little red wine.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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