Legislative Update -- May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

Media Literacy
HB 234 Media Literacy, which passed the House on April 20, passed the Senate this week and will head to Governor Pritzker's desk in the next month to sign into law. ILA and AISLE supported this legislation, which amends the School Code as follows: Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, requires every public high school to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on media literacy; sets forth what topics the unit of instruction shall include. Provides that the State Board of Education shall determine how to prepare and make available instructional resources and professional learning opportunities for educators that may be used for the development of the unit of instruction.

Open Meetings Act & the Reopening of the State
We know there are questions about changes to the Open Meetings Act under this past year's disaster proclamations and what the requirements will be for in-person versus virtual board meeting quorums as the state's reopening approaches.

There are three (two are nearly identical) bills addressing the ability for boards to utilize a virtual rather than in-person quorum: HB 2830, which would explicitly disallow virtual quorums (did not advance), and SB 482/SB 2246, which would explicitly remove the disaster proclamation requirement for the use of virtual quorums (neither advanced). None of the three will pass during this legislative session; therefore, it would seem that current law prevails: Virtual quorums are permissible while the state is under a disaster proclamation, but not otherwise. 

Disaster orders are typically 30 days in length and the current one was issued April 30, so it is scheduled to end May 30 unless the Governor renews it. This means there is a bit of a gray area between the expiration of the proclamation on May 30 and the start of Phase 5, the full reopening, on June 11. It looks, though, like the Bridge Phase already would allow a meeting in person the size of a library board meeting to take place, so without the disaster proclamation, chances are an in-person quorum would be required during that time. It's possible the Governor could renew the disaster proclamation through June 11, and if he does, he'd need to do it by May 30.

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