Proposed Legislation Concerning FOIA and the Open Meetings Act

Author: Jacob D. Caudill

February 23, 2017

With Illinois’s 100th General Assembly in full motion, legislators have been quick to introduce new laws, which if passed would amend Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act. It is doubtful that these bills will ever become law, but careful monitoring of laws affecting public bodies is an absolute necessity.

House Bill 3385 would amend the Freedom of Information Act to specify that each public body must designate one or more public officials or employees of the public body to act as the public body’s FOIA officer or officers. House Bill 3242 would require that the public body maintain a fee schedule for all fees charged by the public body for FOIA requests. Senate Bill 1977 would amend the definition of a public record and provide that all records of a public body are presumed to be open to inspection and copying, instead of just records that are within the public body’s possession or control.

As for the Open Meetings Act, House Bill 3626 would give anybody seeking to address a public body the right to do so at least once per meeting. This law would also void any rule limiting a person to speaking no more than once in a given number of days. However, the public body would be allowed to reasonably limit the amount of time given to a person to address public officials during an open meeting.

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

Author: Jacob D. Caudill