Lead sponsor Cook County Comm. Larry Suffredin deferred his ordinance clarifying that all electronic communication by government officials, board or commission appointees and employees regarding government business must be through official government email accounts. Separately, elected officials and their staff (like commissioners) may use separate email accounts associated with their own offices, or personal email accounts, but must tell Board Secretary Matthew DeLeon those accounts are being used for government purposes.

During yesterday’s Committee on Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations, Suffredin implied some were confused about what the ordinance required. “This is a serious ordinance change, but it is not one that is tying our hands or changing state law,” he told fellow commissioners, citing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s and former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s court battles over Freedom of Information Act requests.

Commissioners were also briefed on county legislative priorities in Springfield by chief lobbyist for Cook County, Scott Cisek. “I bring news of Springfield and it is not necessarily all good news. I personally do not see a balanced budget until after the election in November,” he said, anticipating budgeting will continue via court order or piecemeal. “To say the situation is dire is an understatement.”

Pending legislative priorities:

  • SB2923 – Extending the tax sale deadline
  • SB2605 – Forest Preserve tax abatement bill
  • SB3292 – Changing probation for young drug offenders
  • HB2470 – Changing law regarding life without parole for juveniles
  • SB2925 – Allows other agencies to withhold licenses if the applicant owes the county money

Legislative priorities passed:

  • HB5598 – Codifies intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Revenue, including information sharing
  • SB384 – an exemption to the Open Meetings Act to allow discussion of topics that might fall under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (HIPAA)
  • SB 2767 – any tax or fee unpaid after an administrative hearing are considered debt due to the county
  • HB6291 – the county’s juvenile justice reform package preventing juveniles from being sent for certain drug crimes until their third offense and scales back mandatory probation for juveniles for certain drug crimes.

Successfully killed bills:

  • HB4348 – says a unit of local government may not impose any tax, fee, or other assessment other than the normal sales tax rate on guns, attachments, or ammunition
  • SB3332 – ends the exemption for concealed carry in the Forest Preserves

The committee also approved three appointments: Judith Hamill as the first female member of the Cook County Zoning Board of Appeals, Dale Niewiardowski as a Trustee of the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District, and Michael Sullivan as Commissioner of the Weller Creek Drainage District Board of Commissioners.