Local Editorials

Our View: A step closer to Open Meetings Act reform

The Northwest Herald Editorial Board offers this week’s thumbs up and thumbs down:

Thumbs up: To House Bill 175 passing unanimously in the state House and moving to the Senate. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, and state Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, are spearheading the legislation, which closes a loophole in the Illinois Open Meetings Act and will allow people to report a possible violation of the act within 60 days of its discovery, rather than 60 days from the date of the meeting.

Thumbs up: To the Oakwood Hills Power Plant Opposition Group for donating the remaining $10,000 it had earmarked for a presumed legal battle that never happened fighting the proposed power plant; $5,000 will go to the village government, and the remaining $5,000 will go to Prairie Grove School District 46. The money will go to positive causes, and it’s nice to see the group use the money raised in a responsible way.

Thumbs down: To Hillary Clinton and any public officials who attempt to use private email instead of official accounts to conduct public business. Public records laws are in place for a reason. Those who attempt to go outside of those laws to keep the way they conduct public business to themselves are doing the public they are supposed to serve a great disservice.

Thumbs up: To a proposal to eliminate tuition breaks for children of employees at public universities. The bill, filed by state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, would phase out the 50 percent tuition waivers, which cost state universities nearly $10 million a year. It is a perk universities simply cannot afford to continue to offer.

Thumbs down: To February. Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel said the statewide average temperature last month was 18.6 degrees – 12.3 degrees below average. February snowfall was above average, too. Western and northern Illinois had between 15 and 20 inches of snow. Angel said that’s 8 to 12 inches above averages in many places. Don’t look now, however, there are 50s in the forecast next week. Bring on spring.

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