We have seen a number of bills introduced in the Illinois house that propose various amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Below is a summary of three of these bills:
HB 5020: HB 5020, if passed, would amend FOIA to require public bodies to take all reasonable steps to provide requested records in a format that is “readable” by the requester. That includes making the record available in any format that is available to the public body. As you know, FOIA already requires public bodies to provide requested records in the electronic format specified by the requester, if feasible, or in the format in which the records are maintained by the public body.
HB 5021: A second bill would, if passed, prohibit a public body from charging a fee to a requester who is a taxpayer within the public body’s jurisdiction unless the FOIA request is made for a commercial purpose. Currently, FOIA permits public bodies to reduce or waive fees if a requester states a specific purpose for the request and indicates that the waiver or reduction is in the public interest.
HB 5022: The third FOIA bill would, if passed, eliminate a public body’s unilateral right to extend the time for a response by an additional 5 days and instead require a public body to obtain the requester’s agreement in writing to extend the time for response.
Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov and Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink