Proposed Changes to Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act

Author: Jacob D. Caudill

March 9, 2017

Earlier this week, a bill was introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives concerning a municipality’s ability to deny Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The bill, if passed, would amend Section 3.1 of the FOIA, Requests for Commercial Purposes. Specifically, the law would allow a municipality to deny a request if: (1) the request is made for a commercial purpose; (2) the request is made by the same person for the same records previously provided under the FOIA; and (3) the request is made less than six (6) months after the previous request.

This bill is among a variety of other proposed changes to the FOIA by Illinois’s 100th General Assembly. Other changes include House Bill 619, which provides additional FOIA exemptions for records requested by persons committed to correctional facilities. Specifically, records would be exempt from inspection and copying by persons committed to a correctional facility if the disclosure would result in a risk of harm to anyone, risk of inmate escape, or would allow the release of certain victim information. Furthermore, law enforcement records of committed persons, such as mug shots and crime scene photographs, would also be exempt from disclosure if requested by persons committed to correctional facilities.

We will continue to provide timely updates as these bills move through the legislative process.

Author: Jacob D. Caudill