March 28, 2019
On March 13, 2019 the Chicago City Council voted to approve Substitute Resolution 2018-1151. The Resolution amends Rules 49 and 55 of the City Council Rules of Order to require committee hearings to be broadcasted or aired via the Internet. The resolution is scheduled to go into effect on September 30, 2019, “contingent on the availability of funds, duly appropriated by ordinance, sufficient for the purposes stated herein.” Meetings will be streamed on the City Clerk’s website.
For the past several years, the Civic Federation has advocated for the City of Chicago to livestream its committee meetings, which is where the bulk of the City Council’s substantive legislative work is conducted.
Unlike other major governments in the Chicago region, such as Cook County and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the City of Chicago does not broadcast its committee meetings or annual departmental budget hearings online. Broadcasting committee meetings online improves the transparency of operations and the accountability of council members and staff to the public.
The City of Chicago serves nearly 2.7 million people in 77 communities that cover approximately 228 square miles. The sheer size of the service area and the number of people that the City serves can make it very difficult for many interested parties to attend the meetings in person. The livestreaming and archiving of all meetings would therefore help the City reach more of its constituents and improve the transparency and accountability of the elected and appointed officials.
The following chart identifies whether other major local governments in Chicago livestream board and committee meetings.
The Civic Federation commends the City Council for taking this step in improving the transparency and accountability of City’s elected and appointed officials. The Civic Federation will continue to monitor and show support for the appropriation of funds to fully implement this resolution.
 City of Chicago, Substitute Resolution 2018-1151.