January 13, 2012
freedom of information act (foia) information
This page contains information posted pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/) and includes the following:
* A description of the Legislative Research Unit, including a short summary of its purpose, its structure and organization, the location of its office, the number of employees, and membership of its governing board.
* A description of the method whereby the public may request information from the Legislative Research Unit, contact information for the Freedom of Information Officer where requests for public records should be addressed, and any fees to be charged for copies of records available pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
* A current list of types of records under the control of the Legislative Research Unit.
description of the legislative research unit
The Legislative Research Unit is a statutorily created legislative support service agency of the Illinois General Assembly. It is governed by a 12-member board consisting of six senators (three Democratic, three Republican) and six representatives (three Democratic, three Republican), appointed by the four legislative leaders. The Joint Committee on Legislative Support Services, comprised of the four leaders, is responsible for establishing general policy and coordinating activities among the legislative support services agencies, in addition to other powers and duties.
The Legislative Research Unit is the chief general research agency for the Illinois General Assembly. In addition to conducting and reporting on research at the request of members and staff of the General Assembly, the agency also:
- Publishes numerous publications;
- Performs intergovernmental and federal program functions;
- Tracks and reports on appointments to state boards and commissions;
- Administers legislative staff internship programs; and
- Conducts a biennial orientation conference for new members of the General Assembly, and a biennial training seminar for district office staff.
The Legislative Research Unit is located at 222 S. College, Suite 301, Springfield, Illinois 62704-1894. A block diagram describing the organization of the Legislative Research Unit can be found here. The agency employs 25 full-time employees and four full-time interns (through the Illinois Legislative Studies Internship Program).
The total operating budget of the Legislative Research Unit for Fiscal Year 2012 is available here.
requests for information under the freedom of information act
Jonathan P. Wolff, Associate Director, serves as the Freedom of Information Officer for the Legislative Research Unit, and is responsible for receiving and responding to requests for public records. Many documents are available for immediate review on this Web site. Following below are instructions on how to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Legislative Research Unit:
1. Requests must be made in writing. Requests may be submitted by U.S. mail, personal delivery, fax, or e-mail, and must clearly indicate that the request for information is being made under the Freedom of Information Act. Requests should be directed to:
FOIA Officer-Jonathan Wolff
Legislative Research Unit
222 S. College, Suite 301
Springfield, Illinois 62704-1894
Phone: (217) 782-6851
Fax: (217) 785-7572
2. Describe the desired records as specifically as possible. The letter requesting information must identify the public records or include a specific description of the records sought, and must also include your name, address, date, daytime phone number, and (optional) e-mail address. You do not need to specify the purpose for the request, unless records are being requested for a commercial purpose or you are seeking a waiver or reduction of the fee for records (see below).
3. Indicate how you would like access to the records. You may request that copies of the records be sent to you, or you may ask to view the records in person.
4. If records are being sought for a commercial purpose, the request must disclose that. A "commercial purpose" means the use of any part of a public record or records, or information derived from public records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or advertisement for sales or services. This does not include requests made by news media and non-profit, scientific, or academic organizations when the principal purpose of the request is: (1) to access and disseminate information concerning news and current or passing events; (2) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the public; or (3) for the purpose of academic, scientific, or public research or education.
5. Fees for records. There is no charge for one copy of up to 50 pages of standard paper copies. For copies in excess of 50 pages, there is a charge of 15 cents per page. There is no charge for records furnished in electronic format. Fees may be waived or reduced if you state the purpose for the request and indicate that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest. Waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest if the principal purpose of the request is to access and disseminate information regarding the health, safety, and welfare or the legal rights of the general public and is not for the principal purpose of personal or commercial benefit. If you wish to request a fee waiver or reduction, your written FOIA request must: (1) specifically indicate that a waiver or reduction of the fee is being requested; (2) specify the purpose of the FOIA request; and (3) include a specific explanation as to why your request for information is in the public interest and merits a fee wavier or reduction.
Upon receipt of your request, the Legislative Research Unit must grant or deny the request within 5 business days (21 business days if the request is for a commercial purpose). If additional time for a response is needed, the Legislative Research Unit may, with notice to you, extend the response period by an additional 5 business days. You and the Legislative Research Unit may also agree in writing to extend the time for compliance for a period to be determined by both parties.
records under the control of the legislative research unit
The following categories of public records are under the control of the Legislative Research Unit and available for copying and inspection:
- Personnel Policy and Operating Rules for Legislative Support Service Agencies;
- Reports to the Legislative Research Unit Governing Board;
- Vouchers and documents detailing expenditures;
- Name, title, start date, and salary for employees of the Legislative Research Unit;
- Contracts for functions and services;
- Property inventory;
- Brochures and publications of the Legislative Research Unit; and
- To the extent not exempt from disclosure under the Act, research reports issued by the Legislative Research Unit, or by its predecessor the Illinois Legislative Council. The Legislative Research Unit collects, interprets, and reports information on a broad range of topics at the direction of legislators or their staffs, or a committee, either house, or the entire General Assembly. It is not possible to provide a meaningful list of all categories of information contained in LRU research reports.