Illinois FOIA Laws

Illinois Open Meetings Act

The Illinois Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.  All meetings, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means of any sort, where a majority of a quorum of a public body meets to discuss or act on business in any way is open to the public.

If violated, anyone can bring a civil action against a violator within 60 days of the meeting or within 60 days of the discovery of an illegal meeting. Violations of the Illinois Open Meetings Act are considered class C misdemeanors.

Open Meetings Act 5 Illinois Compiled Statutes 120 – Open Meetings Act
Closed: Numerous exemptions including disciplinary reviews, wrongful death determinations and performance reviews.

Illinois Freedom of Information Act

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1989 and recently updated in 2010, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Illinois. The updates effective in 2012 greatly strengthened the act. The law requires each public agency to nominate an officer to be the official keeper of public records, as well as complete an online training course, established by the attorney general.  The act defines public records as all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information and all other documentary materials under the control of any public body.

Anyone can request public documents but the Illinois Freedom of Information Act is not supposed to be used to further a commercial enterprise, violate individual privacy, or disrupt the day-to-day working of the public body. Government agencies must either comply with or deny a written request for public records within five working days after receiving it.

Freedom of Information Act 5 Illinois Compiled Statutes 140 – Freedom of Information Act
Exemptions: Numerous exemptions including personnel information, disciplinary actions and vulnerability assessments.

Visit, Illinois Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.