Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan wants to force public agencies throughout Illinois -- from town halls to school boards -- to report to her office every time they cite privacy as an excuse to withhold public records.More here.
"It is by far the most broadly abused exemption to the state records law," said Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff. "We think that is far less likely to happen if they know they have to report it to us every time they use it. If they have a valid reason, then they will have nothing to worry about."
But a top lobbyist for municipal government in Illinois said the idea of elevating one exemption to public-records law over all the others is "without merit."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ill. AG suggests all privacy exemptions go through her office first
Illinois public agencies wanting to cite privacy as their reason for withholding public records might have to go through the Attorney General's Office first, the Chicago Tribune reported. This proposal is included in Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan's package for pending legislation that would rewrite the state's weak FOIA. The privacy exemption allows officials to withhold anything that constitutes "a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The Attorney General's Office would determine if using the privacy exemption was appropriately applied and then issue a binding decision.