Beyond the regs: Illinois administrative law online: here's a look at state agency Web sites that provide access to the agency's administrative decisions and more.
Attorneys with a practice that only occasionally requires state administrative law research are probably familiar with the Illinois Administrative Code (http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/ admincode/titles.html) and the Illinois Register (http://ilsos.net/departments/index/register/home. html). But just as is the case with federal agencies, state agencies create a lot more "law" than just their regulations, most notably administrative rulings, but also guidelines and other similarly-titled documents. Additionally, many agencies publish forms and other documents that make it easier to practice before that agency.
A good place to begin is the Web directory of Illinois state agencies (http://www. illinois.gov/government/ agency.cfm). here you'll find links to some 70 state agencies from the Department on Aging to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. one thing to keep in mind is that while the state has generally migrated from the "state.il.us" domain to the "il.gov" or "illinois.gov" domain, many agencies still carry Web addresses with the old "state.il.us" domain and others may have changed from the old to the new before this column hits the printed page.
In this first installment, let us take a look at some of the agencies whose Web sites provide access to the agency's administrative decisions.
Office of the Attorney General
After regulations, the best known format of administrative law-making is probably the attorney general opinion. The Web site for the office of the Attorney general contains all the opinions of the attorney general from 1992 through the present. In addition, there is a 30-page index to the opinions from 1992 through December 29, 2006.
The database of opinions is also keywordsearchable. The opinions page is http://www.illinois attorneygeneral.gov/opinions/index.html.
Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
The ArDC maintains a database of its disciplinary reports and decisions (http://www.iardc.org/ rd_database/rulesdecisions.html). It provides numerous avenues of searching, including by keyword, by disposition, by respondent name, by type of proceeding, and so on. Notably, it does not have a browse function per se, but that can be worked around by using the "restrict by date function" to allow the user to browse all the decisions within a specific time period.
Running such a search from January 1, 1909 (the earliest date possible) through May 18, 2007, returned 5082 cases. It includes dispositions published in the official Illinois Reports. The decisions appear to only be available in html, not PDF.
Illinois Educational labor Relations Board
The IELRB has posted its administrative decisions online (http://www.illinois.gov/elrb/decisions. cfm) since July 1, 2005. The decisions can be browsed, but not searched. Note that decisions are arranged by docket number, so that there is a case originally filed in 2000 available (because it was not decided until after July 1, 2005).
Office of the Governor
Executive orders issued by the governor are available back to the beginning of the current administration in 2003 (http://www.illinois.gov/gov/ execorders07.cfm). orders are available in both html and PDF. They can only be browsed and are not searchable.
Illinois Human Rights Commission
Decisions of the Illinois human rights Commission are available online back to January 2001 (http://www. state.il.us/ihrc/Decisions.htm). They are browseable quarterly (i.e., three months at a time). They are available in PDF format, and the database of decisions is searchable.
Furthermore, the IHRC's Web site provides a list of IHRC decisions appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court, with links to the PDF of the court's slip opinion (http://www.state.il.us/ihrc/ decisions/app_decis/decision_listing. htm). There is no indication whether this list is comprehensive. The date range of the decisions available is currently 1982-2005.
Illinois judicial Inquiry Board
The JIB posts on their site summaries of complaints filed with the JIB since 1972, including their disposition (http:// www.state.il.us/jib/summary.htm). however, the orders are not available via the site, and the most recent summarized disposition was filed in 2002.
Illinois labor Relations Board The ILRB does not provide the full text of their decisions on the ILRB Web site. however, they do provide lists of board decisions, bargaining unit certifications, and administrative law judge recommended decisions and orders from July 1, 2000, to the present (http://www2.state.il.us/ilrb/ subsections/decision/index.asp). Either the Springfield or Chicago offices need to be contacted, however, to view the documents.
Illinois Pollution Control Board
The IPCB has a very comprehensive database of agency decisions (http:// www.ipcb.state.il.us/Cool/External/ casemenu.asp). For instance, enforcement decisions from cases filed back to 1970 are available (the Board was created in 1970). A full search of the database returned over 12,000 case files.
The database is searchable by docket number, party, case type (e.g., enforcement, variance), case subtype (e.g., cost recovery, mine waste), media (e.g., air, water), and county. Keyword (full-text) searching is also available.
Department of Revenue
The Illinois Department of revenue makes its administrative decisions available online, browseable by type of tax at issue or by the specific issue involved (http://www.revenue.state.il.us/Legal Information/). Decisions since 1995 are available, in PDF. There is a search box in the margin, but this search box searches the entire site, not just the administrative decisions.
Future columns will discuss some of the other agency materials that are available via the agency Web sites, including forms, brochures, guidelines, interpretations, and similar materials.
A final note: the American Association of Law Libraries recently compiled a 50-state survey on the authenticity of state online legal resources (including statutes, administrative codes and the like). The report is available online at http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/ authenreport.html.
Thus far, very few states are authenticating the legal resources that are being put online, which becomes more worrisome as the print resources disappear. If you're concerned about the disappearance of official and authenticated resources (and you should be if you don't want to have to visit the Secretary of State's Index Department each time you want to consult the official version of the Illinois Administrative Code), take a look at the report, its findings, and its suggestions.
Until next time, happy hunting.
Tom Gaylord is a law librarian at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
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|Publication:||Illinois Bar Journal|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2007|
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