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Illinois Governor Issues Executive Order Temporarily Relaxing Portions of the Open Meetings Act; Attorney General Offers Guidance

April 2, 2020

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has issued Executive Order 2020-07, which suspends the requirement of the Open Meetings Act that members of a public body be physically present at meetings of the public body, and the limitations of the Open Meetings Act as to when members of a public body may participate in meetings of the public body remotely. 

The Executive Order, issued pursuant to the authority granted the Governor under Section 7 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, also encourages public bodies to postpone consideration of public business when possible, and encourages them to provide, video, audio and/or telephonic access to meetings to ensure members of the public may monitor the meeting, and to update the public bodies’ web sites and social media feeds to keep the public fully apprised of modifications to their meeting schedules or the format of meetings.

Under the terms of the Emergency Act, the provisions of the Executive Order will expire on April 30, 2020.  However, the Governor would be allowed under the Emergency Act to issue new, similar executive orders, each lasting for a period of up to 30 days.

In addition, the Public Access Counselor, a position with the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, issued Guidance as to the Executive Order.  The Guidance includes the following advice:

Postponing or Cancelling Public Meetings

Physical Presence of Members to Make a Quorum

Open and Convenient Meetings

Public Comment

This is part of a series of our COVID-19 alerts providing clients with practical advice on measures they can take to navigate through these challenging times. If you have any questions about this Executive Order, please contact your Miller Canfield attorney or any of the authors of this alert.

This information is based on the facts and guidance available at the time of publication, and may be subject to change.