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updated: 6/7/2016 6:33 PM

Bill spurred by U-46 spat would affect school boards statewide

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  • Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican state representative, backed open meeting legislation to allow elected officials access to records from before their tenure.

    Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican state representative, backed open meeting legislation to allow elected officials access to records from before their tenure.

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com

Even though an Elgin-area spat over open meetings has been resolved, supporters say legislation sitting on Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk could help give officials across the state access to confidential meeting records.

Rauner's office says he's reviewing a plan that would give local elected officials access to records about closed sessions that happened before their tenures.

The Elgin Area School District U-46 board voted unanimously on Monday night to allow all board members to listen to recordings from a closed session held in January 2014.

But the dispute over those records led state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, to sponsor legislation on the state level to make those records available.

"The movement to greater transparency and certainly access by elected officials to important information will continue as voters and taxpayers look to hold their elected officials accountable for a myriad of decisions," Ives said at the U-46 board meeting on Monday night.

She said many lawmakers assumed officials already had this kind of access to records and were eager to support legislation that clarified that. The Illinois House and Senate approved the open meetings measure in the final days of the spring session with no opposition.

U-46 board member Jeannette Ward, who was elected in May 2015, said she had asked to listen to the 2014 recordings several times.

"I am grateful that board members across the state will soon have access to information that they should have had all along," Ward said.

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