HSLI Newsletter

Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

December 3 Update on Illinois HB3796

I am glad to report that the Illinois Senate voted earlier today to override Governor Quinn’s veto of Illinois House Bill 3796. (The vote was by a margin of 39 to 13; a three-fifths majority, or 36 out of a possible 59 votes, was needed.)

House Bill 3796 amends the Freedom of Information Act, to give public bodies more leeway in responding to what could be considered “voluminous” requests for information. The purpose of the amendment is not to limit access to information itself, but to reduce the number of possible “nuisance” requests, as they place a burden on the already-limited resources of government bodies. Certain groups that need access to information quickly, particularly the news media, are exempted. HB3796 also modifies the FOIA by allowing government agencies to refer an individual to the online link for a document, rather than having to provide a print copy for every request. Advocacy organizations, including the Illinois Library Association, agree that the legislation improves efficiency in providing information, while still maintaining transparency by making information as broadly available as possible.

Thank you to everyone who contacted her or his elected representatives regarding this legislation. With the current legislative session coming to a close, it is heartening to know that library advocates have made an impact on at least some legislative outcomes.

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