County loses FOIA denial!

By:  Diane Benjamin

The County not only has a difficult website to use, the committee structure makes their actions difficult to track.  It’s hard enough keeping track of the meetings held just by Bloomington and Normal, I can’t track all the committee meetings and agendas too.  The County Board meetings are mostly jut rubber stamp events.  By the time the Board is asked to vote on anything it’s already been decided in committee.

Denying my FOIA requests makes tracking them even worse.

Last September I filed a FOIA request for all FOIA requests filed in a specific time period.  I had my reasons, I needed to know who else was filing.  Since FOIA requests are public records, they had no right to deny it.

I filed with Public Access and by some miracle they managed to write a BINDING opinion today stating the County was wrong to deny my request.

See the ruling here:   Binding Opinion 17-014

binding opinion means that anybody in the State can cite this case if they run into the same problem.  It’s much tougher than their usual generic opinions.

So you don’t have to read the entire document, here’s the good part:

 

This is a watchdog victory.  Your government tried to hide records and lost.

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5 thoughts on “County loses FOIA denial!

  1. One more binding opinion that can be useful to cite:

    14-009 – Defends your right to NOT have to state your address in order to participate in public comment. Some public bodies will try to intimidate you by requiring you to give your address in order to speak. I would argue that you don’t even have to give them your full name or even your real name. The reason that any name would have to be given is to ‘promote order and decorum’. This can be useful if you have out-of-district public speakers and want to avoid having their comments discounted by the public body/district representative.

    Other recommended reading:
    – McHenryCountyBlog.com (similar to this but for McHenry county. Some interesting township shenanigans going on there)
    – illinoisleaks.com: Edgar County Watchdogs

    Keep up the good work folks!

    Joe

    Liked by 1 person

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