Illinois considering website transparency requirement for local government

House Bill 5522, a bill that has passed the House and is currently being considered in the Senate, could require all Illinois local governments (cities, counties and townships, special districts and school districts) with a budget over $1M to have a website, and post fourteen different types of transparency-related information to the site. If the bill passes in its current form, agencies won’t be eligible for reimbursement from the state.

In addition to the specific requirements of this bill, agencies will of course still need to comply with existing regulations like Section 508 compliance and agenda posting deadlines. (Learn more about Illinois requirements on the Illinois Policy site.)

There is some good news, however: another bill, House Bill 6092, could save local governments money by allowing them to post required notices on their websites instead of in the newspaper.

Transparency in government is a good thing, but not when it wastes taxpayer dollars or places an undue financial or time burden on the agencies that are required to comply with mandates. That's why Streamline was created–to making having a website affordable, and to make it easy to maintain the content that helps agencies stay in compliance.

We host free webinars on Streamline Website Builder–feel free to sign up for one, or contact us to learn more. 

synopsis of HB 5522 as introduced:

Amends the Open Meetings Act. Requires a unit of local government or school district with an operating budget of $1 million or more to maintain an Internet website and post to that website, for the current calendar or fiscal year, the following information: (1) information about elected and appointed officials; (2) notice of and materials prepared for meetings; (3) procedures for requesting information from the unit of local government or school district; (4) annual budget; (5) ordinances; (6) procedures to apply for building permits and zoning variances; (7) financial reports and audits; (8) information concerning employee compensation; (9) contracts with lobbying firms; (10) taxes and fees imposed by the unit of local government or school district; (11) rules governing the award of contracts; (12) bids and contracts worth $25,000 or more; (13) a debt disclosure report; and (14) public notices. Provides that any citizen who is a resident of the unit of local government or school district may bring a mandamus or injunction action to compel the unit of local government or school district to comply with the Internet posting requirements. Limits home rule powers. Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Provides for a statutory exemption for any electronic copy of a record or information maintained on specified websites. Amends the Department of Central Management Services Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois to make conforming changes. Amends the Notice By Publication Act. Provides that whenever an officer of a court, unit of local government, or school district is required to provide notice by publication in a newspaper, publishing website address to the document will be sufficient. Effective immediately.