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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2004

Governor signs bill requiring minutes to be kept in closed public hearings
New law part of Governor’s efforts to ensure accountability in state government

CHICAGO - Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation that will require minutes to be kept in all meetings of public bodies.  House Bill 4247 is the Governor’s latest action that reflects his ongoing commitment to restoring ethics and integrity to Illinois government. 
 
House Bill 4247 amends the Open Meetings Act, mandating that written minutes must be kept for all closed meetings of public bodies (in addition to meetings open to the public). It also requires each public body review minutes of its own meetings no fewer than two times per year.  This bill does not change the definition of “public body” or “meeting,” so all agencies, boards, and commissions currently required to hold open meetings will still continue to do so.
 
“This law demonstrates our commitment to making state government more transparent, more accessible, and more accountable to the people of Illinois,” said Gov. Blagojevich. 
 
HB 4247 also specifies that verbatim records from closed meetings will only be accessible by a court order, and that court inspections for criminal proceedings must be reviewed by judges in chambers, not in open court.  Chief sponsors of this legislation were Rep. William B. Black (R-Danville) and Sen. Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson (D-Chicago Heights).
 
In August 2003, Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 1586, requiring all closed meetings to be recorded on audio or videotape.
 
HB 4247 is effective January 1st, 2005.


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