IL: Aurora launches new FOIA portal on website

The city of Aurora has launched a new web-based Freedom of Information Act software system that allows people to file requests and search for information from their computers. The city officially launched the NextRequest Software Portal on Monday. It is available through the city’s website. “This is a major milestone and achievement for the city of Aurora,” said…


IL: Appellate court affirms AG ruling that housing group’s records subject to FOIA

SPRINGFIELD — The Fourth District Appellate Court has affirmed a lower court’s decision agreeing with an opinion issued by Attorney General Lisa Madigan that documents from a group founded to improve housing conditions in Danville are public record and fall under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. “The binding opinion issued by the Attorney General…


WBEZ Investigation: The Illinois Legionnaires’ Emails Gov. Rauner Doesn’t Want Lawmakers To See

A WBEZ analysis of nearly 450 pages of emails found that government lawyers blacked out portions of more than half the documents recently turned over to a legislative panel investigating the state’s inability to contain the waterborne illness. Repeated outbreaks at the home since 2015 have contributed to the deaths of 13 residents and sickened…


Illinois lawmakers nearly immune to transparency laws they wrote

All of the recent sexual harassment controversies surrounding Springfield lawmakers and House Speaker Michael Madigan have come to light without the aid of a significant transparency tool: the Freedom of Information Act. Illinois’ FOIA laws had been criticized as having too many exemptions and no real recourse for a government denial of a request. They…


Illinois Health chief requires FOIA from senator to release emails

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is forcing state lawmakers to use the public-records law to get emails regarding a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy. Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah told a joint House-Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that his agency denied Senate committee chairman Tom Cullerton’s…


Illinois AG rejects city challenge to releasing police video

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has turned down the city’s request for the state to reconsider its decision directing Bloomington police to release footage from an officer’s body camera to the owner of a private bus service. Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office informed lawyers for the city Tuesday that the state would not…


Chicago: BGA, others force Emanuel to release work-related private emails

Following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing and lawsuits, Illinois’ Better Government Association (BGA) recently succeeded in forcing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to release private emails that pertain to city business.

BGA effected a policy change through Cook County court rulings that public officials’ private emails are covered under FOIA.

After a legal tussle lasting over a year that included a lawsuit filed by the Chicago Tribune, the BGA expressed satisfaction with the outcome.


Rahm Emanuel is ordered to produce index of messages as Tribune presses records suit

A Cook County judge on Friday ordered the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to produce an index of certain emails and text messages that the mayor sent and received on personal devices, as the Chicago Tribune and the city continue to battle over the mayor's electronic communications.

Judge Kathleen Pantle made the ruling in the Tribune's September 2015 lawsuit, which alleged that Emanuel had violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business that he had conducted through emails and texts on personal devices.