Newspaper group endorses Madigan's FOIA rewrite

Chris Rizo May 22, 2009, 1:11pm

Lisa Madigan (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-The Illinois Press Association has thrown its political muscle behind state Attorney General Lisa Madigan's proposed rewrite of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

The newspaper industry group voiced opposition Thursday to what it called a weaker version of the FOIA rewrite that was floated by state legislative Democratic staff.

"The IPA entered into a negotiating process on this rewrite five months ago, said IPA interim executive director Don Craven, "and with 10 days left in this legislative session, we do not intend to begin a new negotiating process."

The Illinois Press Association said many of the attorney general's proposed changes to the open records law are missing in the House and Senate version of the bill.

Among the missing provisions is the establishment of criminal penalties for public officials who willfully violate the law.

"The IPA stands firmly behind Attorney General Madigan's bill, and we applaud her for her efforts to bring badly needed records reform to Illinois," said Beth Bennett, the group's government affairs director said.

Madigan has sought to overhaul the law since she was elected as attorney general in 2002. Her cries for reform became louder in the wake of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment. The Democratic governor was criticized for flouting the law.

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