Evanston Legislation

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Illinois State Board of Elections
Cook County Clerk's Office

Evanston City Council

Bills & Ordinances

The City’s elected officials, employees, and appointees (i.e., members of boards, committees, and commissions) may propose legislation for adoption by the City Council. 

  • What is a Council Bill? - A council bill is a draft ordinance which the City Clerk processes for formal introduction to the City Council. If the legislation is passed by the Council and signed by the Mayor, it becomes a city ordinance. If it is not passed by the Council, or if a Mayoral veto is not overridden by council vote, it remains a council bill and is filed in the City Clerk's office.

  • What is an Ordinance? - Ordinances constitute the laws of the City. They must be passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor, or passed by the Council over the Mayor's veto. Ordinances also are required to authorize certain actions, as designated in the City Charter.

    An ordinance is a formal expression of the City’s legislative authority. It is a local law that, once adopted, can be repealed, amended, and/or modified only by another ordinance. While an ordinance usually enacts permanent regulations, there is no single, definitive rule that dictates when an ordinance is required. An ordinance may be used for any action of the City Council, even to accomplish a result that the City Council could well accomplish through the less formal process of adopting a resolution or motion.

  • What is a Resolution? - A document signifying a change in a government office, statement or area; must be approved by City Council. A resolution is not a law in the same sense as an ordinance. It may authorize ministerial acts or express the opinion of the City Council. A resolution, therefore, expresses policy that the City may adhere to until altered by a subsequent resolution or ordinance. For a list of all city resolutions adopted in 2011 and forward, please click here.

  • What is a Motion? - A motion is similar to a resolution, but it need not be reduced to writing before the City Council meeting wherein it is adopted. Instead, it will be recorded as part of the minutes of said meeting.

  • How does a City Bill become law? - The Mayor or a city department proposes legislation. This proposed legislation becomes a Council Bill. Finance reviews the Bill and if it is approved, sends it to the City Attorney's office. The City Attorney reviews the proposal, and drafts appropriate ordinance language. The bill is then forwarded to City Council. Council members can also initiate legislation.

    The Council President distributes the bills to the Council member who chairs the committee to which the legislation would most likely be referred. The Council member reviews the proposal and if s/he agrees to sponsor the item, forwards it to the City Clerk. Council committees review the legislation, may hold public hearings, direct staff to conduct research, hold the item for further consideration or amend it. After review and discussion, the committee makes a recommendation to the Council as to the action it should take on the bill. Even if the recommendation is Do Not Pass, the bill goes to the Council.

    A roll call vote is taken on final action of bills. The Council President then signs the legislation and returns it to the City Clerk. The City Clerk reviews the legislation once more, then sends it to the Mayor.

    The Mayor may sign the legislation, allow it to go into law without his/her signature or may veto it. Regardless of the action the Mayor takes, s/he sends the legislation back to the City Clerk within 10 calendar days

  • Evanston City Bill index

Historical Records