State bill targets agenda details from meetings
By Susan Frick Carlman email@example.com May 19, 2012 3:36PM
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:07PM
A proposal making its way through the General Assembly would make it easier for people to decide if they want to have a voice in government decision making.
Introduced by Glen Ellyn Republican Rep. Sandra Pihos and cosponsored by Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, House Bill 4687 would require posted meeting agendas to include enough information “to give the public reasonable notice of the items that will be considered or will be the subject of final action at the meeting,” the bill’s synopsis reads on the state website.
Dillard noted that the point of mandated meeting notices is to encourage public involvement and boost transparency.
“We find that sometimes the agendas for these meetings can be vague, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the public to understand the purpose of the meeting. ... House Bill 4687 underscores that there is an expectation that all notices required under the Open Meetings Act are sufficiently descriptive, to the extent you could reasonably expect that a layperson would understand what is going to happen at the meeting,” Dillard said in a press release.
Also in the proposed legislation is a requirement that a copy of the notice and agenda remain on public view for the 48 hours leading up to the meeting. The bill has passed the state Senate and is awaiting final endorsement from the House.
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, who has made governmental transparency a cornerstone of his 18-month term, applauded the measure.
“Upon the recent review of the county’s boards and commissions, we found that there needs to be a standard set for all government agencies to abide by,” Cronin said in an email. “House Bill 4687 will help in my own initiatives to make DuPage County boards and commissions’ information easily accessible and more transparent.”