Public Access Laws

News & Analysis as of

IL Supreme Court Interprets OMA Requirement for Public Recital Prior to Final Action

The Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed the decisions of the lower courts, which had overturned a Public Access Counselor opinion, in Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. the Attorney General of...more

Emerging Trends Newsletter - Q4

The Volcker Rule Under the Trump Administration - The so-called Volcker Rule—named after Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board—was part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection...more

The Final Four Binding PAC Opinions of 2016 Remind School Districts of FOIA and OMA Requirements

In the final days of the year, the Illinois Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued four binding opinions that reiterate the requirements of both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Below is a...more

Google Maps App Now Tells Users If Locations Are Accessible, But Is It Accurate and Reliable?

Seyfarth Synopsis: Google Maps now provides information on accessibility, but the information may not be particularly reliable or useful to gauge accessibility....more

Village of Asharoken Opts Out of Federal Beach Project

Asharoken, N.Y. January 10, 2017–Swayed by public opinion and perceived elitism, the Incorporated Village of Asharoken (“Asharoken”) opted out of a federal beach nourishment plan implemented by the Army Corp of Engineers...more

Commercial Lease Alert: New Access Law Disclosure Requirements In Leases Effective January 1, 2017

Under current California law, commercial real property owners are required to state in every lease agreement whether the property leased has undergone inspection by a Certified Access Specialist (“CASp”) and, if so, whether...more

Police Arrest Videos Not Considered Confidential

The California Supreme Court recently denied considering an appellate court ruling from a case in Eureka that police arrest videos cannot be considered confidential officer personnel records and therefore kept from public...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - December 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Trump picks Perry for top U.S. energy job - Reuters - Dec 15 - President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday named former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the U.S. Department...more

Battle Between Arizona Attorney General And Serial Lawsuit Filer Heats Up

Seyfarth Synopsis: A disability advocacy group behind approximately 1,700 Arizona access lawsuits breaks new ground by filing suit against the Arizona Attorney General, in an unusual counter-attack to the AG’s motion to...more

Who Owns a Noise – Should Data Collected in a Public Space by a Private Company be Generally Accessible to the Public?

While law enforcement have access to new technology owned by third parties that assist them with protecting the public, questions arise as to who should own the data gathered by that technology. Sometimes, it is the...more

PAC FOIA Opinions Address “Unduly Burdensome” factor, Personal Privacy Exemption and Public Records

In three separate opinions rendered in November, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) of the Illinois Attorney General provided guidance regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the definition of “unduly burdensome,”...more

GAO Calls for Easier Public Access to SNF Expenditure Data

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report highlighting concerns with the public accessibility and reliability of skilled nursing facility (SNF) expenditure data collected by CMS. While CMS has posted...more

Court of Appeals Holds Email Deliberations Among a “Quorum" of a Public Body Violates the Open Meetings Act

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that email deliberations among a quorum of public body members violates the Open Meetings Act. The Nov. 1, 2016, unpublished opinion was issued by a three-judge panel in the case of...more

PAC Ruling Further Clarifies Impermissible Restrictions on Public Comment

One of the most legally perilous jobs of a school board is to preside over the public participation portion of a meeting. The key for a board is to balance its need to run efficient and orderly meetings with the ability of...more

Does Your Bank's Website Violate The ADA?

There has been a recent surge in claims brought by people with visual and hearing impairments alleging that company websites violate the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Until now, these...more

HHS Issues Final Rule that Expands the Requirements for Disclosure of Clinical Trial Data to ClinicalTrials.gov

On September 21, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule that greatly expands the information that sponsors of “applicable drug clinical trials” and “applicable device clinical trials”...more

Attorney General (PAC) Deems RIF Joint Committee for Teacher Placement Subject to OMA

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) division of the Attorney General’s Office recently held that the reduction in force joint committee (the “Joint Committee”) was subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA)....more

Governor Signs California “All Gender” Bathroom Bill

We posted before on AB 1732, which Governor Brown signed yesterday. This law prohibits businesses and government entities from labeling any “single-user toilet facility” as either “male” or “female.” It defines “single-user...more

New CA Law Requires Disclosing Known ADA Violations During Lease Negotiations

Seyfarth Synopsis: In yet another effort to reduce ADA lawsuits, California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law – effective immediately – legislation to encourage tenants and landlords to acknowledge and address any...more

2016 Legislative Update: Summary of Changes in School Law

BOARDS OF EDUCATION - ENFORCEMENT OF BINDING PUBLIC ACCESS COUNSELOR OPINIONS - Public Act 99-586 - Effective Date: January 1, 2017 - Individuals who file lawsuits to enforce binding opinions from the PAC...more

Informing Illinois Newsletter - August 2016

Is Your Police Department Ready for Body Cameras? - Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year. In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants...more

Changes to the Open Meetings Act Allow Inspection of Closed Session Records

Effective June 30, 2016, the Open Meetings Act (OMA) has been amended to allow elected board members, or those appointed to fill vacancies on the board, to access closed session recordings and minutes. Access must be granted...more

The writing's on the wall - Winterburn & another v. Bennett & another

In Winterburn & another v. Bennett & another [2016] EWCA Civ 482 the Court of Appeal held that signs clearly visible to all stating that a car park was private property defeated a claim by a neighbouring owner that it had...more

Owners and Developers Beware: Federal Law Preempts Your Remedies Against Design Professionals for ADA Violations

Recent years have seen a proliferation of lawsuits against building owners and businesses for violation of the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only restaurants, but also hotels,...more

West Coast Real Estate Update: May 2016 #1

IRS Reevaluates "Bad Boy" Carve-Outs - Before providing a non-recourse loan to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) – i.e., one for which the LLC members do not bear the risk of economic loss – a lender often will require...more

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