Posts Tagged ‘Pat Quinn’


FOI Fail of the Week: Ill. bill that would hurt frequent FOIA requesters one signature away from law

The Illinois legislature approved a bill that, if signed into law by the governor, would hurt the ability of frequent FOI requesters to get prompt responses from the government.

According to House Bill 1716, people who make more than seven requests in a week, 15 in 30 days or 50 per year to the same public body would be considered “recurrent requesters.” Their requests could take up to 21 days for a response under the new rules if the bill becomes law.

The bill also includes provisions for the addition of fees to commercial information requests that will take more than eight hours to complete, according to the State-Journal-Register.

The bill doesn’t apply to members of the news media.

Although journalists are safe from its implications, the bill encroaches upon the right of citizens to request information from their government as often as they want without facing additional obstacles to obtaining that data beyond those legally permitted by disclosure exemptions.

While the legislature may have passed this bill, there’s still a chance Gov. Pat Quinn could veto it and protect the citizens from its proposed restrictions. He received the measure on June 29.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

FOI DAILY DOSE: Thomas Drake and FOI rules for Ill. gun owners

If you missed it, check out the May 22 episode of “60 Minutes,” which includes whistleblower Thomas Drake’s first-ever television interview.

Drake was indicted in April 2010 under the Espionage Act of 1917 for his actions when providing information to a Baltimore Sun reporter in 2007. The journalist later wrote a series on financial waste and other problematic practices in the National Security Agency, where Drake worked.

Drake will appear in court June 13 and faces up to 35 years in prison.

In Illinois, the legislature took another step toward shielding gun owners from certain records requests today when the Senate passed House Bill 3500 in a 42-1 vote. The bill, which passed the Illinois House in April, would amend the state Freedom of Information Act to protect the personal information of people who have received or applied for a Firearm Owners Identification Card, unless the records are part of a criminal investigation.

The bill now goes to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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