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INBA Encourages Swift Passage of the FOI Reform Bill

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association calls upon members of the state Senate to quickly pass SB189, a set of significant reforms to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

"This bill represents a good, first step to true information access reform in Illinois," said Jim Gee, INBA President.

Passed 116-0 Wednesday by the Illinois House, SB189 would strengthen and clarify the current Freedom of Information Act, and it would empower the Public Access Counselor, part of the Attorney General's office, to act directly in matters of FOIA and Open Meetings Act violations. The bill would narrow the scope of the often-abused privacy exemption to open access and would reduce the time government agencies have to respond to a request under the law. It also would reinforce the Local Records Act, which requires law enforcement to release arrest information, including mug shots, within 72 hours of arrest.

5/21/09 FOI Update: Write Your Lawmaker TODAY!

A revised analysis from FOI/OMA Chair Bob Roberts:

Just when it appeared that the movement for openness in Illinois government was poised to take a quantum leap forward, competing rewrites of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act have emerged.

While one is less than perfect, it is by far preferable to the other version.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office May 11 released a rewrite (HB1370 House Amendment 1) that, while not perfect, is a big advance from the current law in a number of ways. The other version, authored by Democratic leadership in the General Assembly, and is being submitted as an amendment to Senate Bill 1265, is a step backward.

INBA cannot recommend the rewritten SB1265. We prefer the attorney general's version (HB1370) for a number of reasons:

5/21/09 Update - Letter Templates to Lawmakers

Below are links to a letter template for voicing your support of HB1370, which makes changes to the Freedom of Information Act, and HB4165, which would codify the Public Access Counselor's Office.

HB1370_INBA_template.doc

HB1370_INBA_template.rtf

The proposed amendment to HB1370 is available here in PDF form:

HB1370ham001.pdf

A possible (and as of 6:00 p.m. tonight, yet-to-be-introduced) amendment to SB1265 is here in PDF form. INBA discourages consideration of this possible amendment:

SB1265%20Possible%20Amendment.pdf

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