Champaign County ACLU Steering Committee

Thursday, March 3, 2011

7:00 p.m.


In attendance: Steering committee members Bill Brown, Esther Patt, Paul Debevec, Barbara Kessel, Carol Inskeep, Carol Spindel, Carol Leff, Steve Portnoy, Diana Lenik, Dave Amerson from the UIUC Law School ACLU chapter.


  1. Minutes of February meeting approved
  2. Treasurer‚s reportųno new information.
  3. Announcements & Communications

a)      WILL story on eavesdropping:

b)      Chapters conference callųBill Brown reported on the most recent ACLU chapter call:

A law to repeal the recently litigated Illinois law mandating a moment of silence in school systems was introduced, but failed in committee

The ACLU is currently concerned with the following policy issues:

DNA collection on arrest, drug tests for welfare recipients, withholding public aid for people with outstanding warrants, mandating ultrasound before abortion, and the recent introduction of a good comprehensive sex education law.

There was a brief discussion of the status of Governor Quinn‚s pending decision on whether to sign legislation abolishing the death penalty, and members were urged to contact him on this issue (N.B. since resolved by his signing the legislation).

c)       We agreed to thank Representative Naomi Jacobsen for her sponsorship of HB 1948.  „HB 1948 would require police agencies that own or have access to video surveillance cameras to disclose to the Attorney General (1) the number of cameras they own or have access to, and (2) their privacy regulations, if they have any. It would also require the Attorney Generally to post this information on its website.š (ACLU summary)

d)      Law School Chapter & Student Chapter reports

Dave Amerson from the ACLU law school chapter reported on recent activity.

The chapter partnered with GEO in a series of actions designed to support the Wisconsin and Indiana teachers and public employees in their protest against restrictive public employee labor legislation.  Activities included campus events, offering legal research support and participating in Springfield lobbying.  

The Law school chapter has also been working on: challenge to Chick-fil-a‚s lease in the Illini Union food court because of the ownership‚s ties to anti-gay causes (the Student Senate wants to keep it), a Tax Day counter-protest, the possibility of providing escorts to abortion clinics in Southern Illinois and other issues.


  1. Old Business

a)      Nominations and awards committees Ų are finalizing their recommendations.  There was extensive discussion of an appropriate recipient this year of the Chalmers Award for "extraordinary service, in the cause of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, to the community.š  Specific interest was expressed by the board in an eventual award to the UP Center, key organizers of the Gay Pride Fest program last year, although it was considered that this year was perhaps premature for a brand-new undertaking.


b)      Annual meeting planning, postcard?  It was decided that it would be possible to delay the newsletter a bit, given that the annual meeting is later than usual. A postcard could also be sent in mid-April if desirable.


c)       Update on Urbana Human Relations & CPRB joint meeting on traffic stop dataųThe concept the committee thinks optimal is a standard protocol for monitoring police handling of traffic stops that would be the same in both Champaign and Urbana (and possibly also campus)

d)      „Interacting with Policeš pamphlet Ų letter to Joan Walls and Mark Aber  --the final draft of this letter was circulated and approved by the steering committee.

  1. New Business

a)      Safety sweeps at Illinois Terminalųthe council discussed the unclear situation surrounding reports of drug sweeps on Trailways buses at Illinois Terminal. It was uncertain whether the State Police with their drug dogs were following specific leads or whether this was a fishing expedition. We await more information.  (Parenthetical note: a sniffing dog is not a search within the meaning of the rules guiding police searches)

b)      NewsletterųIt was decided that it would be appropriate to honor Victor Stone in this edition of the newsletter, given his recent death, his importance to the chapter and to civil liberties generally, and the fact that this is the chapter‚s 50th anniversary.

c) Barbara Kessel introduced a proposed workshop April 14-16 on law enforcement and the community that several local organizations and the Urbana Police Force have agreed to. The workshop director is a former Alabama policeman Leon Frazier.  The steering committee agreed to contribute $100 to support the workshop if the program eventuates and has community organizational support.

  1. Adjournment at 8:15.


April 7, 2011

Annual meeting:

May 1, 2011