One year waiting period for Illinois’ FOIA “recurrent requestors”

from Government in the Lab:

Last month, we wrote about how the state of Illinois was erecting barriers to such knowledge by passing House Bill 1716. Sponsored by both House and Senate representatives, HB 1716 is an amendment bill to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which will require people who request information to pay for the actual cost of retrieving public records.

Several watchdog groups, including For the Good of Illinois, are concerned that the bill labels citizens who request information more than 50 times a year as “recurrent requestors”. This label jeopardizes their chances of actually getting the information they request, because once someone has been labeled, the government may delay fulfilling the request for up to one year!

The Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC), another vocal transparency organization in Illinois, has rallied Illinoisans asked Governor Quinn to reject HB 1716. Last week, the group met with the Governor’s legislative staff last week to express their concern about the bill. CAC has a history of fighting for the freedom of popular information: in 2009, CAC worked with the Attorney General’s Office to reform Illinois’ FOIA — turning it from one of the country’s worst FOI laws into one of the strongest.

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