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Judicial Rulings

Drugless healing regulated

Practitioners of drugless healing may use any method they wish, but they must have studied chiropractic in order to be licensed in Illinois. In a decision filed April 20 the Illinois Supreme Court made this interpretation of the Medical Practice Act (see Illinois Revised Statutes 1987, ch. 111, sec. 4400-1 et seq.).

Suit was brought by naprapaths who had been denied so-called "limited licenses" under an earlier version of the act that required applicants to specify the system of treatment under which they proposed to practice. Naprapathy uses manipulation and is based on the belief that disease symptoms result from disorders in ligaments and connective tissues. The Department of Registration and Education (now the Department of Professional Regulation) ruled that the earlier version of the act did not envision licensing of naprapaths.

An appellate court ruled that naprapaths were eligible for licenses. Subsequently the legislative amended the act to require that applicants for a limited license graduate from a reputable school of chiropractic. The department held that this made the earlier ruling moot.

The plaintiffs argued that this deprived them of their property right to practice their profusion without due process and thus violated federal and state constitutional guarantees. The high court cited a series of decisions in which regulation of professions bears a rational relation to a legislative purpose and concluded that "the right to pursue a profession is not a fundamental right." In this case the statute bears a rational relation to the state's interest in protecting the public from unqualified medical practitioners.

The court went on to say, "We find nothing in the Act which prohibits the practice of naprapathy." It does not require the licensee to designate the system of treatment, so that "a graduate of a chiropractic college licensed to treat human ailments without drugs and without operative surgery may employ the drugless therapy of his choice."

Justice William G. Clark wrote the unanimous opinion (Justices Horace L. Calvo and Daniel P. Ward not participating) in Potts v. the Illinois Department of Registration and Education (128 Ill. 2d, 322).

Limited access to school records

"Masked and scrambled" school records are available to the public under the April 20 interpretation by the Illinois Supreme Court of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 116, sec. 201 et seq.). "Masked" means that students' names and other identifying elements would be eliminated, while "scrambled" records would employ a random rather than alphabetic order.

To determine whether their children were eligible for enrichment programs, parents of three black students in the Evanston schools requested scores on standardized tests of all students in certain grades for years 1982 through 1986. The records were to indicate race but not names or sex of the students. The district refused under provisions of the Illinois School Student Records Act (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 122, sec. 50-1 et seq.), which protects students' privacy.

The high court found that the records act only prohibits release of a record through which an individual student could be identified. It ruled that the requested records would not fall under this definition and could be disclosed. The FOIA (sec. 8) provides that when public records contain exempt and nonexempt material, the body that maintains them "shall separate the exempt material and make the nonexempt material available for inspection."

Since the school district's single-digit code to identify race and sex could be altered in producing the requested record, the court concluded, "Accordingly, where, as here, individual identifying information can be redacted and the record scrambled, preventing a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy, the record must be disclosed." The court held that deleting information as well as scrambling does not constitute creation of a new record, which the FOIA does not require. In ruling that the records must be released it said that the circuit court would have to determine whether this would be an undue burden on the district, and whether the number of black children would be small enough to permit identification even from such a record.

Chief Justice Thomas J. Moran wrote the opinion in Bowie et al v. Evanston Community Consolidated School District No. 65 (128 Ill. 2d, 373). Justice Daniel P. Ward did not participate, while Justice Ben Miller, joined by Justice Howard C. Ryan, dissented. Miller pointed out that the legislature has since rewritten section 8 to require public bodies to "delete the information which is exempt and make the remaining information available." He believed that changing the single-digit sex-race code would be more than deletion and not required. Section 1 of the FOIA specifically says that the act does not require public bodies to prepare new records, and Miller thought that the majority decision would do so.

Public money must be appropriated

Chicago Comptroller Daniel Grim employed certain accounting practices used by his predecessors for three years. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on April 20 that they were illegal.

The Chicago City Council annually approved use of money in the Municipal Hotel Operators Tax Fund (fund 355) to promote special events. In 1978 the comptroller set up a Trust and Agency Fund (fund 666) as part of fund 355 to account for the new "ChicagoFest," transferring money from fund 355 to fund 666. The event ran in the red and the deficit in fund 666 was charged to fund 355. Under the same procedure subsequent profits from ChicagoFest were not used to reimburse fund 355.

In 1980 Grim used the same procedure for other events sponsored by the mayor's office. Again there was a deficit that Grim's successor charged to the city's corporate fund in 1981. During this period the City Council never appropriated money to fund 666 for expenses of the special events.

In 1982 a private citizen began a series of complaints that this practice violated statutes forbidding expenditures "unless an appropriation has been previously made concerning that contract or expense" (see. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 24, sec. 8-1-7).

The high court agreed that the practice is illegal. It found, however, that Grim would be covered by the Tort Immunity Act (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 85, sec. 1-101 et seq.) as well as by the common law doctrine of immunity of public officials. The latter shields public officials who act in good faith. The court said that Grim "had no reason to believe that these expenditures were illegal, because he followed the practice established by his predecessors .... Moreover, Grim had the city's corporation council approve the form and legality of the . . . contracts."

Chief Justice Thomas J. Moran wrote the opinion in Kinzer v. City of Chicago et al (Docket No. 67169), with Justices William G. Clark, John J. Stamos and Daniel P. Ward not participating.        F. Mark Siebert

July 1989 | Illinois Issues | 35

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