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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

FOIA and OMA Bills Introduced in General Assembly

Recently, a few new bills were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly, and are awaiting action by the Illinois House or Senate.

House Bill 4401 was introduced on January 8th. If passed, the bill would amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Local Records Act (LRA) to add a definition for “junk mail” to each Act and provide that the term “public records” for purposes of complying with FOIA or the LRA does not include junk mail.

House Bill 4402 was introduced on January 8th. If passed, the bill would amend the Open Meeting Act (OMA) to replace one of the reasons authorizing a member of a public body to attend an in-person meeting remotely (“a family or other emergency”) with “exigent circumstances concerning a family member.” The bill would also add definitions for “bona fide emergency” and “exigent circumstances.” 

Senate Bill 2665 was introduced on January 10th. If passed, the bill would amend the OMA to add a new reason authorizing a member of a public body to attend an in-person meeting remotely for "performance of active duty as a service member." The bill would also add a definition for "active military duty" and "service member."

House Bill 4325 was introduced on January 3rd. If passed, the bill would amend FOIA in a number of ways, including the following:

  • The bill would update the definition of “commercial purpose” to also include the use of information from a public record “for solicitation of individuals for purposes of joining an organization.”
  • The bill would also require a requester to pay in advance for commercial request records and voluminous requests.
  • The bill would change the way a public body responds to recurrent requesters and allow the public body to notify the recurrent requester that it will not be responding to the request that triggered the requester being a recurrent requester or any other request filed by that same requester for a period of 90 days.
  • The bill would also allow public bodies to charge up to $10 per hour (over the first 2 hours rather than 8 hours) for personnel time in searching and reviewing records, and remove the current limitation that this personnel fee only applies to commercial requests.
  • The bill would expand the FOIA exemptions to include communications that do not pertain to the transaction of public business that are sent to or received by an individual on his or her personal device.
Post Authored by Madeline Tankersley & Julie Tappendorf


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