A Potpourri of New Laws

by John E. Motylinski

In 2022, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly approved 410 bills for signature into law. The majority of these do not impact local governments, but here is a roundup of a few new laws that do.

A picture containing building, outdoor, stone

Description automatically generatedNew Committees for Studying Efficiency: In June 2022, Governor Pritzker signed the “Decennial Committees on Local Government Efficiency Act,” which requires all Illinois units of local government (except counties and municipalities) to form a committee to study “efficiency” once every ten years. Specifically, the committee must consider “the governmental unit’s governing statutes, ordinances, rules, procedures, powers, jurisdiction, shared services, intergovernmental agreements, and interrelationships with other governmental units and the State.” 50 ILCS 70/15. The committee must include: (1) the members of the locality’s governing board; (2) two residents appointed by the Board President; (3) the government’s officers (e.g., Village Administrator, Fire Chief, etc.); and (4) any other members as deemed appropriate. 50 ILCS 70/10(b). Once formed, the committee must meet a minimum of three times, which can be during the local government’s usual board meetings. The committee must be formed on or before June 10, 2023, and must file its report with the county within eighteen months.

The New Annexation Notice Requirements: Municipalities seeking to annex contiguous parcels under Section 7-1-1 of the Municipal Code often spend significant amounts on postage notifying the relevant election authorities, corporate authorities, and post office branches serving the territory. Effective January 1, 2023, Public Act 102-0969 now requires that such an annexing municipality also notify the Department of Transportation by registered or certified mail.

New Requirements for Levies Greater than $5 Million: Last year, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 102-0265, into law. This Act’s new requirements for taxing districts that have an aggregate property tax levy of more than $5,000,000 are starting to be felt this year. In particular, the new Act requires each taxing district to make a good faith effort to collect and electronically publish data from all vendors and subcontractors doing business with the taxing district as to:

  1. Whether the vendor or subcontractor is a minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned business, as defined in the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Act; and
  2. Whether the vendor or subcontractor holds any certifications for those categories or if they are self-certifying in which case; the taxing district shall publish whether the vendor qualifies as a small business under federal Small Business Administration standards.

Electronic publication of the aforementioned vendor information on a government’s website should be sufficient to fully comply with these new 2022 requirements.

No More Treasurer’s Bonds for Firefighter Pension Funds: Effective May 13, 2022, Public Act 102-0787 discontinued the requirement that the Treasurer of the Article 4 fund to be bonded (40 ILCS 5/4-130). Of course, pension funds should still consider securing insurance coverage for crime.

Attorneys’ Fees in Automatic Disconnection Cases: If a municipality with a fire department annexes territory belonging to a fire protection district, the at-issue parcels are automatically disconnected from the fire district. However, the Fire Protection District Act allows a five-year cooldown period wherein the municipality must pay to the district the taxes from the parcels on a decreasing scale. 70 ILCS 705/20. In May 2022, the General Assembly modified this provision to assist fire protection districts recover these fees. Under Public Act 102-0773, a fire protection district must make a written demand to a municipality for owed cooldown fees. If the municipality refuses or ignores the request, the fire protection district may file a lawsuit. And if it is successful in obtaining judicial relief, the municipality must also pay the fire protection district’s court costs and attorneys’ fees.