In the Matter of a Request
    for Advisory Opinion





)     Advisory Opinion   #5



Sherman Inland Wetlands and Water Courses Commission, Applicant

)     December 10, 1975








On November 21, 1975, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to a request for an advisory opinion by the applicant.


1. The applicant called to the attention of the Commission Section 12 of Public Act 75‑342, and asked whether the provision applies to persons who have no connection with the media. It is the opinion of the Commission that the proceedings of a public agency may be photographed, broadcast or recorded for broadcast by any newspaper, radio broadcasting company or television broadcasting company. The statute does not accord this privilege to any other person than a person who is the employee or agent of a newspaper, radio broadcasting company or television broadcasting company while acting in the course of such employment.


2. You asked the Commission to explain in detail that portion of Section 6 of Public Act 75‑342 which requires that the votes of each member of any public agency upon any issue before such public agency shall be reduced to writing.


Where such language is used in Section 6 the Commission advises you that it means that the text of any resolution must be set forth at length in the minutes exactly as considered and acted upon by the public agency. It further means that the minutes must contain the names of all members of the public agency present and able to vote at the time the meeting is convened. Finally, it means all persons voting for and against the resolution and abstaining from such vote must be recorded on the adoption, rejection or other comparable action disposing of the resolution.


In the event, however, that a multi‑member public agency is of such size that a vote by individual members cannot be recorded without substantially delaying the course of the meeting, however, it will not be necessary to record the names of the persons voting on either side of each question unless a division of the house is taken. Where convenient, the vote of the persons voting in the minority only and the abstention to vote of any person abstaining may be recorded in lieu of a record that names the persons voting in the majority. This assumes that the names of all members present and voting have already been stated in the minutes.


3. By your further question you asked for clarification of Section l(b) of Public Act 75‑342. For your assistance, you are advised that a meeting means a convening or assembly of a quorum of your public agency to discuss or act upon a matter under which your agency has supervision, control, or advisory power. Workshops to learn how to type soil, appraise plant life, and otherwise to instruct the members of your commission would not constitute a meeting.


Where less than a quorum of members is inspecting or gathering information to be presented at a meeting of the quorum, your agency is not conducting a meeting. If, however, the number of members present constitutes a quorum, even though the form of a gathering is that of a committee rather than a convening of the agency as such, it should be treated as a special meeting, for purposes of giving notice and permitting the access of the public.


                                                                                            By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                            Information Commission


                                                                                            Herbert Brucker, Chairman of
                                                                                            of the Freedom of Information

Date  ___________________



                                                                                                         Louis J. Tapogna, Clerk