Tri States Public Radio Staff
Tue September 13, 2011
Shop Talk - September 13
Macomb, IL – The panelists talk about Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to sign House Bill 1716, which rolls back some of the improvements made just a couple years ago to the state's Freedom of Information Act.
Quinn signed the 2009 reforms during a public ceremony. He signed the measure that weakens FOIA in private on a Friday afternoon.
HB 1716 took effect immediately upon being signed. Among other things, it allows public bodies to label someone as a "recurrent requester" if he/she files seven FOIA requests in a week or 15 in a month. There will be no time limit on responding to filings made by "recurrent requesters."
The news media, academics, and researchers are exempt from being labeled as a "recurrent requester" but businesses and the general public are not exempt.
The panelists are critical of the bill. The public pays for the information through taxes and should have a right to access it. The panelists question whether a broad statewide law (HB 1716) was signed simply because a few people abused the system.