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INBA Encourages Members to Write to the Governor on FOIA Reform

From INBA FOI/OMA Chair Bob Roberts: 

The clock is officially ticking on SB 189, the rewrite of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

The General Assembly transmitted the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn's office on June 26, 29 days after it won final approval in the Illinois Senate.

Even though it won near-unanimous approval, passing the House 116-0 and the Senate 58-1, that is not a guarantee that Quinn will sign the bill. Typically, opponents use this time to urge the governor to veto the legislation, and SB 189 continues to have powerful opponents in the Illinois Municipal League and the city of Chicago.

Spokesman Bob Reed said at deadline that the measure was under review. Your humble FOI chair again voiced INBA's position of support.

Reed seemed somewhat uncertain about the depth of support in the industry for SB 189, so once again, INBA urges you to write an e-mail or letter of support - this time to the governor, with a copy to Reed.

While the measure is not perfect, it is a vast improvement over the exemption-riddled law that is on the books today, and codifies the office of Public Access Counselor, giving the Counselor the right to issue binding opinions as well as the authority to mediate FOIA and OMA disputes.

Reed is potentially important to the decision-making process by the governor. He was editor-in-chief at Crain's Chicago Business, a business writer at the Chicago Tribune and Evening Business Show host at WBBM Newsradio 780 before joining Quinn's staff around Thanksgiving - days before then-Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested.

(Editor's Note: Bob's update originally appeared in the INBA TuneIN for July 2009. A follow call this week confirmed that the bill is still "under legal review" by the Governor's office. - Jim Gee, INBA President)

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