FOIAILLINOIS

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  • FOIA Fest 2017 Keynote: David Cuillier

    David Cuillier, Director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and Former Chair of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee, kicks off FOIA Fest 2017.

    This video was taken during FOIA Fest 2017, which brought journalists together to share tips and tools on how to dig for the truth using the Freedom of Information Act, including panels and training sessions on everything from finding records hidden in plain sight to analyzing data for hard-hitting investigations.

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  • FOIA Under Rauner and Emanuel

    Is it harder to get public information these days? Are the days of hiding emails in personal accounts over? Experts will weigh in these issues and more. Mick Dumke, Bill Ruthhart, Stacy St. Clair and Jeff Coen weigh in.

    This video was taken during FOIA Fest 2017, which brought journalists together to share tips and tools on how to dig for the truth using the Freedom of Information Act, including panels and training sessions on everything from finding records hidden in plain sight to analyzing data for hard-hitting investigations.

    Posted in FOIA Fest | Leave a comment
  • FOIA and Student Journalists

    Often student journalists have to jump extra hurdles to get access to public information, from administrators censoring or trying to control the flow of information to not getting a FOIA request answered on time (or even at all). Rachel Hinton, Peter Grieve, Nader Issa, Megan Bennett, and moderator Richelle Rogers offer tips and advice.

    This video was taken during FOIA Fest 2017, which brought journalists together to share tips and tools on how to dig for the truth using the Freedom of Information Act, including panels and training sessions on everything from finding records hidden in plain sight to analyzing data for hard-hitting investigations.

    Posted in FOIA Fest | Leave a comment
  • FOIA 101: Crafting a Records Request

    Here are some pro tips on filing a FOIA request in Illinois, including what’s available under state law, how to file a request and what to do if you’re denied. The expert panel included Casey Toner, Jared Rutecki, Katie Drews, and was moderated by Brett Chase.

    This video was taken during FOIA Fest 2017, which brought journalists together to share tips and tools on how to dig for the truth using the Freedom of Information Act, including panels and training sessions on everything from finding records hidden in plain sight to analyzing data for hard-hitting investigations.

    Posted in FOIA Fest | Leave a comment
  • Governor signs “Molly’s Law”

    Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s office announced today that Rauner signed “Molly’s Law” which “..extend the period of time in which a victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit where the act is intentional and violent in nature.”

    According to the release:

    “…These bills strengthen Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act and extend the period of time in which a victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit where the act is intentional and violent in nature.

    “Today is an important day for Illinois families seeking justice,” Gov. Rauner said. “This bill provides families a longer timeframe to bring wrongful death actions against perpetrators of intentional violent crimes and gives families access to the necessary public information to find closure in a loved one’s death.”

    Molly’s Law is comprised of two pieces of legislation, HB 6083 and HB 4715. HB 6083 extends the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases and allows a lawsuit to be brought within 5 years after the date of the death or within one year after the criminal case against the perpetrator concludes.

    In addition, House Bill 4715 provides for additional fines – up to $1,000 per day — in cases where a public body fails to comply with a court order resulting from a FOIA action. It also incentivizes public bodies to act in a timely manner in response to binding opinions from the Attorney General in FOIA cases.

    “Today’s signing of Molly’s Law by the Governor is a victory for Molly Young’s family,” said Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), chief sponsor of both bills. “I want to thank the Governor for his attention to this very important issue and for traveling to southern Illinois to sign Molly’s Law today. I also want to thank Molly Young’s father, Mr. Larry Young, who traveled to Springfield to testify on behalf of Molly’s law to help ensure its passage.”

    Senator Christine Radogno, the legislation’s sponsor in the Senate, echoed Rep. Bryant. “The Young family was tenacious in their pursuit of this legislation. They worked with Rep. Bryant to help other families avoid a battle with bureaucracy in the pursuit of justice for their loved ones and closure in these circumstances,” Radogno (R-Lemont) said.

    In May 2015, a judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Larry Young ruling he failed to file the lawsuit within two years of Molly’s death.

    HB 6083 and HB 4715 go into effect on January 1, 2017.

    The release can be found at:  Rauner signs “Molly’s Law”

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  • The FOIA at 50

    The 50th anniversary of the federal Freedom of Information Act has given way to state laws, but, writes the BGA’s Andy Shaw, the need for access to public records is greater than ever before.

    Shaw’s view can be found at FOIA at 50: Public records law important, often ignored

     

     

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  • Court ruling lifts injunction blocking police records

    The Better Government Association (bettergov.org) scored a major victory when The Illinois Appellate Court lifted an injunction blocking the release of alleged police misconduct records.

    In a release, the BGA said “…The BGA is pleased with the outcome and hails the ruling by the Illinois Appellate Court as a victory for transparency and accountability. Through the ruling, the court found that neither the union contract nor the Personnel Records Review Act allow or require the city to withhold the records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

    The complete release is at:  BGA Release

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  • CAC sets “Democracy Night” July 12

    The Citizen Advocacy Center will host “Democracy Night” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    The event will showcase work by CAC interns.

    The event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged by phone at (630) 833-4080 or by email at cac@citizenadvocacycenter.org.

    Additional information is at: CAC Democracy Night

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  • CPS closes the door on public session

    The Chicago Public School, according to a piece written by DNAInfo’s Stephanie Lulay, ( CPS Kicks Reporters Out)  the meeting was about school expansion.  Lulay wrote that “…WBEZ education reporter Sarah Karp and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Andy Grimm were barred from entering the public meeting. This DNAinfo Chicago reporter was escorted out of the meeting by uniformed CPS security guards…” and that the move was ” part of CPS policy tonight. They don’t want any media inside the building.”

     

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  • Investigative grants available!

    Need helping defraying the cost of investigative stories, say an airline ticket or a FOIA request? We want to help. We have grants available, thanks to the generosity of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

    Apply by April 29 for up to $575, or by July 29 for up to $2,000. While all journalists are eligible, we’re looking for those without the financial backing of a major news shop.

    Interested? Get more details and download our application here.

    Questions? Contact Alejandra Cancino at WriterAlejandra@gmail.com

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  • Recent Posts

    • FOIA Fest 2017 Keynote: David Cuillier

      David Cuillier, Director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and Former Chair of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee,…

    • FOIA Under Rauner and Emanuel

      Is it harder to get public information these days? Are the days of hiding emails in personal accounts over? Experts will weigh in these…

    • FOIA and Student Journalists

      Often student journalists have to jump extra hurdles to get access to public information, from administrators censoring or trying to con…

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