King Quinn has driven a spike right through the heart of FOIA laws in Illinois. But it's not all his fault. Don't forget the members of the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate who voted for the bill, so it could go to his desk in the first place.
The Northwest Herald reports online today that Quinn signed a bill (too bad the NWH didn't provide the number of the Bill) to give public bodies more time to response to requests from "recurrent requestors". What were they (we) called just a few weeks ago?
Government will now have 21 days to respond. More worrisome is the language in the bill that allows governments to charge for the actual costs in retrieving information.
Just imagine what will happen to a FOIA request and the bill for charges that will accompany a response. Let's say that you mail your FOIA request:
Cost to deliver envelope containing the request from the mailroom to the FOIA officer's desk?
Time for the FOIA officer's secretary to open it and unfold the pages?
Time for the secretary to scan the letter?
Time for the secretary to walk it to the FOIA officer's desk and place it in the in-box?
Time for the FOIA officer to read and comprehend the request?
Time for the FOIA officer to order the materials for the response?
Time for the delegated employee to hunt down the materials for the response?
Time for the FOIA officer to dictate the response?
Time for the secretary to type the response?
Time for the FOIA officer to review, edit, correct the secretary's typed draft?
Time for the secretary to make the changes?
Time for the FOIA officer to approve the final response?
Time for the secretary to type the final draft and print it?
Time to photocopy the documents to be included?
Time to count the pages and calculate the cost of the documents (are the first 50 still free?)?
Time for the FOIA officer to approve the final package and sign the cover letter?
Time for the secretary to get everything into an envelope and send it to the mailroom for postage?
Time for the mail clerk to carry it to the mailroom?
Time for the mailroom clerk to weigh and apply postage and put it in outgoing mail?
Who will be able to afford a bill for a FOIA request??? Good goin', guv...