The Governor has signed HB 2096 (Public Act 101-0632) effective immediately. After discussing the new changes with our attorney, TOI offers the following best practice interpretation of the new law specific to holding the ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.
If you intend to have the Annual Town Meeting in JULY 2020, you may do so. However, there is a process you are required to follow to do so. Townships are required to seek the written approval of your Local County Health Department, if having the meeting prior to the expiration of the current disaster proclamation. It is required that this be done in writing because of the social distancing requirements and records for the township.
If your intent is to follow the revised statutory requirements, you are required to hold the Annual Town Meeting on the Third Tuesday following the expiration of the disaster proclamation issued by Governor Pritzker. We will publish this date on the TOI website and Facebook page after the date is determined.
If you wanted to have the meeting in July 2020, TOI is recommending the following check list:
1. Place on a township board meeting agenda, the action item to approve holding the Annual Town Meeting on July 21, 2020 (Third Tuesday).
2. Post the regular township board meeting agenda 48 hours in advance of the scheduled regular township board meeting.
3. After approval, by the township board, contact your local health department and obtain the required written approval to hold the meeting on the specific date, location, and time (this must be AFTER 6:00 PM).
4. After approval by your local county health department, post the appropriate meeting notice. You are required to post the notice 15 days prior the scheduled meeting. Remember, publishing is only required in a newspaper IF you have a newspaper published in your township. You must post in 3 of the most public places in your township.
5. Hold the Annual Town Meeting and plan to accommodate the social distancing requirements provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. This link Restore Illinois Link provides valuable resources to implement Phase 3 of the Governors Restore Illinois from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Please contact the TOI office or your township attorney, if you have questions.
TOI has prepared (See next page) a few Frequently asked Questions for you in an effort to further explain these new optional and legal requirements concerning the Annual Town Meeting.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does the proclamation expire automatically if the state moves to phase three of the Governor’s plan?
Moving to phase three under the RESTORE ILLINOIS PLAN does not have any automatic effect on the proclamation. In fact, because the details of the plan were not placed into legislative action to become law, the guidelines required the Governor to extend executive orders. Bottom line – the existence of a proclamation is necessary for the plan to have any effect via executive orders and agency guide.
After the proclamation expires when may a TOWNSHIP schedule the Annual Town Meeting?
Townships may schedule the Annual Town Meeting the third TUESDAY AFTER the expiration of the Disaster Proclamation.
Can a township move forward under a proclamation and hold its Annual Town Meeting?
If a township determines voluntarily to have its annual town meeting under the current declaration, they are required to secure written approval by the county health department to hold the Annual Town Meeting during subsequent disaster proclamations that are currently in effect.
Is formal action required by the TOWNSHIP BOARD to reschedule the Annual Town Meeting that was scheduled for April 14th or April 21st under Passover guidelines? The legislation in HB 2096 permits (DOES NOT REQUIRE) a township board to postpone its annual meeting. The language of the law allows the board, rather than an individual officer or the township generally to postpone the meeting date. After an annual town meeting is postponed, then the timing of the meeting is controlled by the adopted statutory language of HB 2096.
If an Annual Town Meeting is rescheduled, is the township required to RE-POST the new meeting notices with the new date of the meeting?
Yes. The meeting posting requirements that govern the regular scheduled annual town meeting apply to all future dates established by the township to have the annual town meeting. The revised statute does not seem to offer any exception or authorization to rely on the initial publication. Remember that Townships are only required to publish the meeting date and time in a newspaper, IF one is PUBLISHED in the township. Posting in three places 15 days prior the scheduled date is required as well.
How long can a township wait to have its required Annual Town Meeting?
Although not expressly stated, it is implied that the township may wait until there is no longer a declaration in effect. This could possibly be a considerable length of tie depending upon the length of the pandemic.
Is official action needed by the Governor’s office to remove the order?
Like the disaster declaration, the executive orders automatically expire by operation of law. The duration of the executive orders is set by the disaster declaration.