Chicago - Nov. 14, 2019
Music TV Politics Sports Books People Places & Things
 
Beachwood Politics
Our monthly archive.
Who We Are
Chicago by the numbers.
Sausage Links
Wiki Daley
Wiki Rahm
Illinois Channel
CAN TV
Ralph Martire
Doonesbury
Government Attic
Division Street
Indie Political Report
The Obameter
ProPublica
The Intercept
SCOTUS Blog
American Dream Betrayed

Illinois Pols Slather On Sunscreen

Chicago Justice Project blasts General Assembly efforts to roll back public access laws

The Chicago Justice Project is criticizing the Illinois General Assembly for what it calls "attempts to send the Illinois Freedom of Information Act back into the Dark Ages."

"Our legislators have moved quickly and quietly to make sure that the more open laws governing public access to government records are closed down before we citizens can ever get a chance to use them," CJP Executive Director Tracy Siska said. "My question is: Who is looking out for the citizens of Illinois, whose right to learn about how their government is serving them is being restricted in an effort to cater to special interests?"

Several pieces of legislation will unfairly limit access to information, CJP says. Among them:

* House Bill 5069, which removes a mandate that public bodies release data in a digital format if the agency maintains the data digitally;

* Four bills (HB 5154, HB 6119, SB 2978, and SB 3040) that will limit how much information is available from local police departments; and

* Senate Bill 315/Public Act 96-0861, which prevents parents from accessing performance
evaluations of teachers, principals and superintendents.

"Public policy should empower parents and communities with access to the information they need to be engaged citizens," said Siska. "What the General Assembly has done is take an incredible step backward. They have instituted 19th Century Law in a Government 2.0 Era."

-

"State legislatures play a crucial role in determining the public's ability to access records and data produced by their local government," Siska said in a statement posted to CJP's website.

"Unfortunately, the Illinois General Assembly has wasted no time in introducing and passing legislation to rollback progressive advancements in the recently updated Illinois Freedom of Information Act that went into effect on January 1st. Out from under the media spotlight of the Blagojevich impeachment, our legislators have moved quickly and quietly to make sure that the more open laws governing public access to government records are closed down before we citizens can ever get a chance to use them.

"My question is: who is looking out for the citizens of Illinois who's right to learn about how their government is serving them is being restricted in an effort to cater to special interests?

"Civic participation is required for a democracy to be strong. Restricted access only suppresses civic participation and lays the foundation for distrust of public institutions. Without citizen access to information, state legislatures can operate without the knowledge or consent of community residents. In the early weeks of 2010, the Illinois General Assembly did just this by moving to reduce the scope of Illinois' public access law without ever informing their constituents. Throughout Illinois citizens need local, county, and state agencies to use public data for the public interest. This can only be done if state legislators prioritize the needs of their constituents to access their government ahead of the wishes of special interests."

-

Editor's Note: For a heroic assemblage of legislative details and an explanation of the issues at hand, including proposed secret policing, please see CJP's "Issue Brief: General Assembly Attempts Rollback of Public Access Law."

-

The Chicago Justice Project (CJP) is an independent organization with the core mission of increasing public access to justice-related information, based on the guiding principle that access to accurate information is the foundation of any meaningful reform to the criminal justice system. Funded in part by The Ford Foundation, CJP projects and programs are designed to foster greater transparency and accountability.

-

Comments welcome.



Permalink

Posted on March 24, 2010


MUSIC - Verböten.
TV - The Berlin Tunnel TV Wars.
POLITICS - Loyola's Predatory Lending Bill.
SPORTS - Chicago Should Miss Sam Kerr.

BOOKS - Blow Your Mind.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Exclusive! Inside That Huge New Starbucks.


Search The Beachwood Reporter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Email:

Follow BeachwoodReport on Twitter



Beachwood Radio!