Watchdog Groups Praise Veto Of Public Records Bill
Jim Anderson -- Illinois Radio Network
Watchdog groups are pleased that the governor has vetoed a bill that they say would have hindered access to public records.
The legislation was apparently intended to give local governments relief from nuisance requesters, but Maryan Judar of the Citizen Advocacy Center says the limits and fees imposed would include legitimate requests from interested citizens.
“It will entrap so many of the public participants who either use FOIA to citizen-watchdog their government, or to otherwise receive records, which are their records,” she said.
Under this bill, If an applicant was a “voluminous requester,” based on either the range of topics requested or the number of pages of information sought, he or she would be subject to a fee schedule of up to $100 for a PDF over 160 MB, for example, or a non-PDF, such as an audio or video recording over 4 MB.
Watchdog groups say they hope lawmakers don’t override the veto, and they say local governments could avoid a lot of hassle if they would post more information online, particularly the documents that council members work from during meetings.