Monday, April 8, 2013

Raw Milk Monday...Open Meeting Act of Illinois, Who Knew?

In this process of educating myself about law making in Illinois while trying to educate the Illinois Department of Public Health about the need to leave current raw milk rules alone and as they are, I learned something about public meetings.

It appears that in black and white there exists some very specific rules about meetings of those in public offices, such as IDPH. (Thank you Pete and Marc for making me aware of this.)

The specific act is HERE. After reading it and reading it again, I will admit how surprised I was at how IDPH had not followed it's own State Rules.

Specifically, when I was contacted By Steve Divencenzo to serve on the Raw Milk Steering Committee, I asked for the minutes of the last two meetings so I could get up to speed. He told me there were no minutes and that the proposed draft of new raw milk rules served as the minutes.

Seems the Open Meetings Act of Illinois says something different.
5 ILCS 120/2.06) (from Ch. 102, par. 42.06)
    Sec. 2.06. Minutes; right to speak.
    (a) All public bodies shall keep written minutes of all their meetings, whether open or closed, and a verbatim record of all their closed meetings in the form of an audio or video recording. Minutes shall include, but need not be limited to:
        (1) the date, time and place of the meeting;
        (2) the members of the public body recorded as either

present or absent and whether the members were physically present or present by means of video or audio conference; and
        (3) a summary of discussion on all matters proposed,
deliberated, or decided, and a record of any votes taken
Why is this important? Well, for a few reasons. Minutes (if they were taken as required) would identify which new proposed rules came from the mouths of IDPH and would then identify which member of the committee suggested the other proposed raw milk rules. It would also identify  any discussion that followed.  
 It was also fascinating to see the section about the posting Meetings on the IDPH website which had not been done prior to the last mtg on Feb 22. Which explains why only one raw milk farmer, not a member of the original raw milk committee, was able to find out about the meeting and call in to participate. It took him several phone calls to find out.
In addition I discovered that IDPH was to have posted these mtgs a full ten days before their occurrence. And now IDPH is becoming secretive about the May 1st mtg. In the last Raw Milk Steering Committee mtg we were told the May 1st mtg would be In Bloomington, Il  at The IAA building on Towanda Avenue.
Last week Molly Lamb sent me an email stating the May 1st mtg time and place was not yet "finalized" Obviously, they are intending to wait until the very last minute before they announce specifics. But, no worries. Today I sent a snail mail to Ms Lamb and her supervisors requesting copies of the minutes of all THREE meetings and reminding her that according to the law the May 1 mtg had to be posted on their IDPH web site by April 21.
I am not the first in our group to do this, I am in fact following THEIR lead, power in numbers we believe.
And now a small bit of good news. In the last email I got from Molly Lamb she told me that the 100 gallon monthly sales limit of raw milk  might be rescinded. Not sure how she knows that or can make that statement since the actual Raw Milk Steering Committee hasn't met since Feb . 22  but that's OK. It means someone, somewhere in the IDPH castle is listening to the noise of the serfs.




  1. What? Did you expect the jack booted thugs to follow their own laws?

    Good for you for digging into all of this and being the GODDESS of raw milk! (Yes, I said goddess!!!)

  2. Yay! Everybody to the beach. SERFS UP!

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    It's crazy that these people don't follow the law!
    I'm on the board of a small non-profit women's club. Even WE have to take minutes and follow the rules!

  5. well done for keeping on fighting the fight for small producers, albeit of milk in this case. Blessings to you for being a voice.

  6. Welcome to government, of the people, by the people and for the people, (except when in the interest of government to EXCLUDE the people)

    Keep up the good work. We are rooting for you down here in Texas

  7. Good woman, I so admire your energy with all of this and well done on your progress so far :)
    Easy tell there's Irish determination in there ;)

  8. Carolyn, you see, once upon a time I WAS the jack booted thug. (LOVE THAT) In my job as nurse manager I sat on many many committees and really did try to do a good job. My disappointment now though is not in our "government" but in the individuals who make it up.

  9. Kris. THAT belongs on a T-shirt. Fabulous

  10. Mary, I know! Driving me crazy digging up all this hoopla these folks are leaving in their wake. Minutes nowadays are easy. One small recorder. One small USB cord

  11. Vera, thank you. Keith and I have no small babes to protect as many of the farmers do that we represent. The timing is right for us to be one of many voices, albeit the LOUDEST one maybe.

  12. dindin, Thank you too! But we are just one of many farmers fighting so hard to save...what? The farms that keep us working 16 hrs a day? That give us back a red bottom line most years? Yes indeed.

  13. good for you for learning the proper rules. If they decide to pass something you don't like, you can throw out the baby with the bath water because they didn't follow proper procedure. And yes, it's been done before.

    An informed citizenry makes for a better government.

  14. Don't you just love it when us little people hoist them on their own petard?

  15. If there are so many rules governing the sale of raw milk, just imagine what the new ObamaCare rules will be.

  16. Great job being the loudest voice, Mrs. Farmwife! Your keeping 'em on their toes. There should be a lot of happy Illinois farmers when this battle is over to know that you were on their side.