Minutes of the Champaign County ACLU Steering Committee

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Meeting called to order 7:05 p.m.

In Room 3405 Siebel Center


Present: Bill Brown, President, Marsha Woodbury, Faruq Nelson, Diana Lenik, Stuart Laird, Bob Illyes, Steve Portnoy, Esther Patt, Richard Schnuer, Shirley Stillinger, Carol Leff, Mark Leff, Carol Inskeep, Carol Spindel.



  1. October meeting minutes were approved
  2. Announcements & Communications

a)     Report on the Unity March—The 2012 Unity March, co-sponsored by a range of local organizations including the ACLU, was focused on the jail issue, and moved from the county court house to the satellite jail facility to highlight the need to consider alternatives to incarceration and new facility construction.  The Leffs participated on behalf of the ACLU.

b)     ACLU-IL chapter conference call focused on the upcoming ACLU-Engage Saturday in December (see below).

c)      Law school chapter report—a representative wasn’t present.

d)     Immigration forum update—The key pending issue for legislative fall veto session is the legislation on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants who possess a TIN (tax-payer identification number). C-U immigration asked for our endorsement of this proposal. Although the sense of the board meeting was to support this initiative, the state ACLU asked to defer action while they work with other groups on a common approach. One issue, for example, is whether to focus on passing legislation that would permit undocumented applicants to obtain a standard license, or whether to pursue the perhaps more politically palatable temporary license that is already available to documented immigrants and temporary residents.


  1. Old Business

a)     Fall Gathering at 608 W. Delaware. 5-7:30 (Carol Spindel graciously offering her house for the event). Individual members volunteered to provide food and beverages for the gathering. It was agreed to post the reminder of the gathering on our Facebook page.

b)     ACLU: Engage December 1 in Chicago.  Last discussion of who would attend to facilitate carpooling/transport

c)      Voting rights—The discussion centered on the steering bounces circulated before the meeting about a News Gazette article regarding the clerk’s office policy on the grace period for registration and (absentee) voting, a policy that is more restrictive than in some other parts of the state.  The central problem was a repetitive process that involved what seemed to the steering committee an unnecessary and unacceptably complicated sequence of applications and mailings for registration and voting. (Note from CL: In Chicago this whole grace period registration/voting process is apparently condensed into a single step). It was suggested that citizens adversely affected by this policy should proceed to their regular polling place on election day with their grace-period registration and vote in person by turning in the absentee ballot in exchange for a regular ballot—and as a last resort should vote provisionally if challenged.  It is understood that the State’s Attorney’s office is looking into this issue. It was decided to post some information on this issue on our Facebook page.  Diana Lenik noted that she is the lawyer on call for election day issues for the Gill campaign.


  1. New Business

a)     Next Social Hour Nov 19th, 5-7 in Big Grove Tavern–the last one was lightly attended, but otherwise OK (the card arrived late through local mail). There was some discussion of the value of the gatherings and how they might be improved.

b)     Campus smoking ban issues—the campus plans to go smokeless in the fall of 2013, and this raises some interesting issues, since the ban applies to the campus district (including personal automobiles and sidewalks). The campus/university district is defined in fairly broad terms as a result, for example, of local transportation and police department agreements on patrols, parking meter monitoring and speed limits etc.  The district boundaries are Mattis, University, Race, and Windsor—obviously the university doesn’t actually own all the property within those boundaries, or control all the streets, so how this policy is equitably enforced will be a point of future interest.


  1. Adjournment at 8:10 PM

Next meetings:
Dec 6th Steering Committee Meeting            Dec 1st  – ACLU: ENGAGE