HB 811 removes publication of government, school district and community college notices from newspapers and publishes on government entity’s web site. It is sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll and co-sponsored by Reps. Carol Ammons, Daniel Didech, Joseph Sosnowski, and Sam Yingling. This bill will have a detrimental impact more than 400 newspapers across Illinois that
HB 811 removes publication of government, school district and community college notices from newspapers and publishes on government entity’s web site. It is sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll and co-sponsored by Reps. Carol Ammons, Daniel Didech, Joseph Sosnowski, and Sam Yingling.
This bill will have a detrimental impact more than 400 newspapers across Illinois that currently publish these notices. The same exact bill was introduced by Rep. Joseph Sosnowski and defeated in 2017.
It removes the requirement to post the notices on PublicNoticeIllinois.com a website created in 2011 at no additional cost to the government.
With the digital reach of newspapers through their websites and PublicNoticeIllinois.com, notifying the public has never been more efficient, effective and impactful.
Posting notices to newspaper websites and the statewide site, PublicNoticeIllinois.com, are at no additional cost to government and is intended to provide even greater public access to these notices.
Who will ensure they do this? Public bodies are already required by law to post meeting notices, agendas and minutes to their own websites. Most fail to comply. Compliance to this statute ranges from a low of 53% for townships to a high of 96% for school districts. Of the over 7,000 units of government in Illinois less than half even have a website.*
In the midst of a pandemic we should not cut off access to Illinoisans – government should be providing further transparency of what they are doing.
Access continues to be an issue in Illinois. The best broadband coverage in Illinois is concentrated in northeastern counties, with comparatively less coverage in the southeast. Broadband access is lower among older adults, minorities, low income households and rural communities.**
A public notice is defined by the Public Notice Resource Center as being independent, accessible, verifiable and archivable.
Newspapers are independent, third party providers who have historically been entrusted with this responsibility and make sure notices are published as required by law. We are:
Accessible – the notices are published in print and on PublicNoticeIllinois.com
Verifiable – newspapers provide an independent certificate of publication and cannot be tampered with o Archivable – the notices are not altered and serve as a permanent record for the court
What is the real purpose of this bill? The cost to place public notices in newspapers represents hundredths of a per cent of a local government’s budget annually. This would significantly impact transparency of what government is doing and the public’s right to know.
Local governments know newspapers get the message out best. When they want to publicize issues of concern they go to their local newspaper to inform citizens. When they do not want anyone to know what they are doing they publish it on their website.
*Citizen Advocacy Center – Public Bodies Website Compliance Study 2018 **Pew Research Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet