Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit. Will County, Illinois. No. 96-MR-13498, No. 96-MR-13637, No. 96-MR-13638, No. 96-MR-13639. Honorable William R. Penn, Judge, Presiding.
Present - Honorable Tom M. Lytton, Presiding Justice, Honorable Michael P. Mccuskey, Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice. Presiding Justice Lytton delivered the opinion of the court. McCUSKEY and Slater, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lytton
PRESIDING JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the opinion of the court:
Will County enacted an ordinance requiring local lobbyists to satisfy a number of reporting requirements. After a challenge to the ordinance was filed, the county filed declaratory judgment actions. The defendants filed motions to strike and dismiss, which the trial court granted. The county appeals, and the defendants cross-appeal. We affirm.
The Will County Lobbyist Registration Ordinance was adopted in June 1996. According to the ordinance, lobbyists must file a registration statement and attach: copies of all written contracts with each client; a memorandum of all oral agreements with each client; a statement of the lobbyist's compensation from each client; and a report of "all expenditures made by [the registrant], or by his or her family members or personal business to or for the benefit of a county official, a county employee, any family member of such official or employee, or any political organization." Lobbyists failing to meet these requirements are subject to fines of $500 and are barred from lobbying in the county for three years.
The defendants in this case are attorney Richard J. Kavanagh, and three law firms, Herschbach, Tracy, Johnson, Bertani & Wilson, Dunn, Martin & Miller, Ltd., and Herbolsheimer, Lannon, Henson, Duncan & Reagan, P.C. All of the defendants filed registration statements as lobbyists in Will County.
Attorney Kavanagh filed a complaint challenging the validity of the ordinance. Will County filed a cross-complaint against Kavanagh, as well as complaints against the other defendants, seeking a declaratory judgment that it had the statutory authority to adopt and enforce the ordinance. The cases were subsequently consolidated in the trial court.
The defendants filed motions to strike and dismiss the county's complaint and cross-complaint. The trial court granted the defendants' motions, finding portions of the ordinance ultra vires and void. The county filed a timely notice of appeal, and the defendants cross-appeal.
Will County argues that the State Lobbyist Registration Act (Act) (25 ILCS 170/1 et seq. (West 1996)) grants it the power to establish requirements for local lobbyists that are not contained in the Act. The county asserts that because the Act does not require local ordinances to be identical to the Act, but only "similar" to it, local agencies have the power to establish additional requirements for lobbyists. The defendants, on the other hand, argue that the county's complaint and cross-complaint should be dismissed because the county did not have authority under the Act to adopt some of the requirements in the ordinance. Both parties agree that statutory construction of the Act is critical to the resolution of this case.
Because a motion to dismiss presents only questions of law, a trial court's dismissal order is reviewed de novo. Grant v. Board of Trustees of Valley View School District No. 365-U, 286 Ill. App. 3d 642, 644, 676 N.E.2d 705, 707, 221 Ill. Dec. 902 (1997). Thus, we must determine whether, under the facts alleged in the complaint, the county is entitled to the relief requested. See Denkewalter v. Wolberg, 82 Ill. App. 3d 569, 571, 402 N.E.2d 885, 887-88, 37 Ill. Dec. 883 (1980).
The primary goal of statutory construction is to effectuate the language and intent of the legislature. People v. Hicks, 164 Ill. 2d 218, 222, 647 N.E.2d 257, 259, 207 Ill. Dec. 295 (1995). Statutory language must be given its plain and ordinary meaning. Hicks, 164 Ill. 2d at 222, 647 N.E.2d at 259. Statutes must be construed to avoid absurd, unreasonable, unjust or inconvenient results. Collins v. Board of Trustees of ...