The Oakwood Hills-inspired Open Meetings Act reform measure passed the House unanimously Sunday, sending the bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.
Extending the window of time people have to report possible violations of the act to the attorney general’s public access counselor, House Bill 175 was approved by the House in a 112-0 vote. The vote ratified an amendment that clarifies that the new time limit cannot be applied to meetings that took place before the law goes into effect.
The bill returned to the House on Sunday for a concurrence vote after the Senate voted 57-0 Friday.
As part of the Open Meetings Act, the bill moves to extend the reporting time for alleged violations to within 60 days of discovery, rather than 60 days from the date of the meeting in question.
It was filed by State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, in response to a potentially illegal and private July 2013 meeting of the Oakwood Hills Village Board, during which members discussed a potential monetary windfall that would come from building a $450 million power plant.
That discussion wasn’t a matter of public knowledge, however, until a year later when it was discovered by the attorney hired by residents opposed to the since-abandoned project.
A complaint could not be filed because the window of allotted time since the actual meeting, under current law, had passed.
The reform passed the House in March after which it was carried to the Senate by Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington.
It was then sent to a subcommittee in April, but again moved forward in this final week of session.