Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB3624
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Full Text of HB3624  102nd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 2/22/2021, by Rep. Blaine Wilhour


5 ILCS 140/2  from Ch. 116, par. 202
5 ILCS 140/7  from Ch. 116, par. 207
5 ILCS 140/9  from Ch. 116, par. 209
5 ILCS 140/9.5
5 ILCS 140/11  from Ch. 116, par. 211

    Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Changes the definition of "recurrent requester" to exclude requests made by members of the General Assembly and requests made to access and disseminate information pertaining to public policy and the administration of State government. Exempts from disclosure under the Act certain records in which opinions of a public body or its agents are expressed. Provides that the exemption does not apply if the records were produced in connection with the preparation of a report that is required to be publicly produced by an agency of the executive branch. Provides that the public body shall include with each denial of a request for public records an index that includes specified information. Provides that except in the case of a recurrent requester, a public body denying a request for public records shall place in an interest-bearing escrow account or other segregated account of the public body the sum of $7,500 for each request denied. Provides that the deposited funds shall remain in the account for a period of 60 days after the date of the public body's final denial of a request, or, if a requester has sought review of the denial or challenged the denial in court, until the review process has been completed or a final order has been entered. Provides that if a determination is made that the public body improperly denied a request to inspect or copy a public record, the deposited funds shall be awarded to the requester in addition to or as part of any other award. Makes other changes.

LRB102 10989 HEP 16321 b






HB3624LRB102 10989 HEP 16321 b

1    AN ACT concerning government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Freedom of Information Act is amended by
5changing Sections 2, 7, 9, 9.5, and 11 as follows:
6    (5 ILCS 140/2)  (from Ch. 116, par. 202)
7    Sec. 2. Definitions. As used in this Act:
8    (a) "Public body" means all legislative, executive,
9administrative, or advisory bodies of the State, state
10universities and colleges, counties, townships, cities,
11villages, incorporated towns, school districts and all other
12municipal corporations, boards, bureaus, committees, or
13commissions of this State, any subsidiary bodies of any of the
14foregoing including but not limited to committees and
15subcommittees thereof, and a School Finance Authority created
16under Article 1E of the School Code. "Public body" does not
17include a child death review team or the Illinois Child Death
18Review Teams Executive Council established under the Child
19Death Review Team Act, or a regional youth advisory board or
20the Statewide Youth Advisory Board established under the
21Department of Children and Family Services Statewide Youth
22Advisory Board Act.
23    (b) "Person" means any individual, corporation,



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1partnership, firm, organization or association, acting
2individually or as a group.
3    (c) "Public records" means all records, reports, forms,
4writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps,
5photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic
6data processing records, electronic communications, recorded
7information and all other documentary materials pertaining to
8the transaction of public business, regardless of physical
9form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or
10having been or being used by, received by, in the possession
11of, or under the control of any public body.
12    (c-5) "Private information" means unique identifiers,
13including a person's social security number, driver's license
14number, employee identification number, biometric identifiers,
15personal financial information, passwords or other access
16codes, medical records, home or personal telephone numbers,
17and personal email addresses. Private information also
18includes home address and personal license plates, except as
19otherwise provided by law or when compiled without possibility
20of attribution to any person.
21    (c-10) "Commercial purpose" means the use of any part of a
22public record or records, or information derived from public
23records, in any form for sale, resale, or solicitation or
24advertisement for sales or services. For purposes of this
25definition, requests made by news media and non-profit,
26scientific, or academic organizations shall not be considered



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1to be made for a "commercial purpose" when the principal
2purpose of the request is (i) to access and disseminate
3information concerning news and current or passing events,
4(ii) for articles of opinion or features of interest to the
5public, or (iii) for the purpose of academic, scientific, or
6public research or education.
7    (d) "Copying" means the reproduction of any public record
8by means of any photographic, electronic, mechanical or other
9process, device or means now known or hereafter developed and
10available to the public body.
11    (e) "Head of the public body" means the president, mayor,
12chairman, presiding officer, director, superintendent,
13manager, supervisor or individual otherwise holding primary
14executive and administrative authority for the public body, or
15such person's duly authorized designee.
16    (f) "News media" means a newspaper or other periodical
17issued at regular intervals whether in print or electronic
18format, a news service whether in print or electronic format,
19a radio station, a television station, a television network, a
20community antenna television service, or a person or
21corporation engaged in making news reels or other motion
22picture news for public showing.
23    (g) "Recurrent requester", as used in Section 3.2 of this
24Act, means a person that, in the 12 months immediately
25preceding the request, has submitted to the same public body
26(i) a minimum of 50 requests for records, (ii) a minimum of 15



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1requests for records within a 30-day period, or (iii) a
2minimum of 7 requests for records within a 7-day period. For
3purposes of this definition, requests made by news media, and
4non-profit, scientific, or academic organizations, and members
5of the General Assembly shall not be considered in calculating
6the number of requests made in the time periods in this
7definition when the principal purpose of the requests is (i)
8to access and disseminate information concerning news and
9current or passing events, (ii) for articles of opinion or
10features of interest to the public, or (iii) for the purpose of
11academic, scientific, or public research or education, or (iv)
12to access and disseminate information pertaining to public
13policy and the administration of State government.
14    For the purposes of this subsection (g), "request" means a
15written document (or oral request, if the public body chooses
16to honor oral requests) that is submitted to a public body via
17personal delivery, mail, telefax, electronic mail, or other
18means available to the public body and that identifies the
19particular public record the requester seeks. One request may
20identify multiple records to be inspected or copied.
21    (h) "Voluminous request" means a request that: (i)
22includes more than 5 individual requests for more than 5
23different categories of records or a combination of individual
24requests that total requests for more than 5 different
25categories of records in a period of 20 business days; or (ii)
26requires the compilation of more than 500 letter or



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1legal-sized pages of public records unless a single requested
2record exceeds 500 pages. "Single requested record" may
3include, but is not limited to, one report, form, e-mail,
4letter, memorandum, book, map, microfilm, tape, or recording.
5    "Voluminous request" does not include a request made by
6news media and non-profit, scientific, or academic
7organizations if the principal purpose of the request is: (1)
8to access and disseminate information concerning news and
9current or passing events; (2) for articles of opinion or
10features of interest to the public; or (3) for the purpose of
11academic, scientific, or public research or education.
12    For the purposes of this subsection (h), "request" means a
13written document, or oral request, if the public body chooses
14to honor oral requests, that is submitted to a public body via
15personal delivery, mail, telefax, electronic mail, or other
16means available to the public body and that identifies the
17particular public record or records the requester seeks. One
18request may identify multiple individual records to be
19inspected or copied.
20    (i) "Severance agreement" means a mutual agreement between
21any public body and its employee for the employee's
22resignation in exchange for payment by the public body.
23(Source: P.A. 98-806, eff. 1-1-15; 98-1129, eff. 12-3-14;
2499-78, eff. 7-20-15; 99-478, eff. 6-1-16.)
25    (5 ILCS 140/7)  (from Ch. 116, par. 207)



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1    Sec. 7. Exemptions.
2    (1) When a request is made to inspect or copy a public
3record that contains information that is exempt from
4disclosure under this Section, but also contains information
5that is not exempt from disclosure, the public body may elect
6to redact the information that is exempt. The public body
7shall make the remaining information available for inspection
8and copying. Subject to this requirement, the following shall
9be exempt from inspection and copying:
10        (a) Information specifically prohibited from
11    disclosure by federal or State law or rules and
12    regulations implementing federal or State law.
13        (b) Private information, unless disclosure is required
14    by another provision of this Act, a State or federal law or
15    a court order.
16        (b-5) Files, documents, and other data or databases
17    maintained by one or more law enforcement agencies and
18    specifically designed to provide information to one or
19    more law enforcement agencies regarding the physical or
20    mental status of one or more individual subjects.
21        (c) Personal information contained within public
22    records, the disclosure of which would constitute a
23    clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, unless
24    the disclosure is consented to in writing by the
25    individual subjects of the information. "Unwarranted
26    invasion of personal privacy" means the disclosure of



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1    information that is highly personal or objectionable to a
2    reasonable person and in which the subject's right to
3    privacy outweighs any legitimate public interest in
4    obtaining the information. The disclosure of information
5    that bears on the public duties of public employees and
6    officials shall not be considered an invasion of personal
7    privacy.
8        (d) Records in the possession of any public body
9    created in the course of administrative enforcement
10    proceedings, and any law enforcement or correctional
11    agency for law enforcement purposes, but only to the
12    extent that disclosure would:
13            (i) interfere with pending or actually and
14        reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceedings
15        conducted by any law enforcement or correctional
16        agency that is the recipient of the request;
17            (ii) interfere with active administrative
18        enforcement proceedings conducted by the public body
19        that is the recipient of the request;
20            (iii) create a substantial likelihood that a
21        person will be deprived of a fair trial or an impartial
22        hearing;
23            (iv) unavoidably disclose the identity of a
24        confidential source, confidential information
25        furnished only by the confidential source, or persons
26        who file complaints with or provide information to



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1        administrative, investigative, law enforcement, or
2        penal agencies; except that the identities of
3        witnesses to traffic accidents, traffic accident
4        reports, and rescue reports shall be provided by
5        agencies of local government, except when disclosure
6        would interfere with an active criminal investigation
7        conducted by the agency that is the recipient of the
8        request;
9            (v) disclose unique or specialized investigative
10        techniques other than those generally used and known
11        or disclose internal documents of correctional
12        agencies related to detection, observation or
13        investigation of incidents of crime or misconduct, and
14        disclosure would result in demonstrable harm to the
15        agency or public body that is the recipient of the
16        request;
17            (vi) endanger the life or physical safety of law
18        enforcement personnel or any other person; or
19            (vii) obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation
20        by the agency that is the recipient of the request.
21        (d-5) A law enforcement record created for law
22    enforcement purposes and contained in a shared electronic
23    record management system if the law enforcement agency
24    that is the recipient of the request did not create the
25    record, did not participate in or have a role in any of the
26    events which are the subject of the record, and only has



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1    access to the record through the shared electronic record
2    management system.
3        (e) Records that relate to or affect the security of
4    correctional institutions and detention facilities.
5        (e-5) Records requested by persons committed to the
6    Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services
7    Division of Mental Health, or a county jail if those
8    materials are available in the library of the correctional
9    institution or facility or jail where the inmate is
10    confined.
11        (e-6) Records requested by persons committed to the
12    Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services
13    Division of Mental Health, or a county jail if those
14    materials include records from staff members' personnel
15    files, staff rosters, or other staffing assignment
16    information.
17        (e-7) Records requested by persons committed to the
18    Department of Corrections or Department of Human Services
19    Division of Mental Health if those materials are available
20    through an administrative request to the Department of
21    Corrections or Department of Human Services Division of
22    Mental Health.
23        (e-8) Records requested by a person committed to the
24    Department of Corrections, Department of Human Services
25    Division of Mental Health, or a county jail, the
26    disclosure of which would result in the risk of harm to any



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1    person or the risk of an escape from a jail or correctional
2    institution or facility.
3        (e-9) Records requested by a person in a county jail
4    or committed to the Department of Corrections or
5    Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health,
6    containing personal information pertaining to the person's
7    victim or the victim's family, including, but not limited
8    to, a victim's home address, home telephone number, work
9    or school address, work telephone number, social security
10    number, or any other identifying information, except as
11    may be relevant to a requester's current or potential case
12    or claim.
13        (e-10) Law enforcement records of other persons
14    requested by a person committed to the Department of
15    Corrections, Department of Human Services Division of
16    Mental Health, or a county jail, including, but not
17    limited to, arrest and booking records, mug shots, and
18    crime scene photographs, except as these records may be
19    relevant to the requester's current or potential case or
20    claim.
21        (f) Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations,
22    memoranda and other records in which opinions of the
23    public body or its agents are expressed, or policies or
24    actions are formulated, except that a specific record or
25    relevant portion of a record shall not be exempt when the
26    record is publicly cited and identified by the head of the



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1    public body. The exemption provided in this paragraph (f)
2    extends to all those records of officers and agencies of
3    the General Assembly that pertain to the preparation of
4    legislative documents. The exemption provided in this
5    paragraph (f) does not apply to preliminary drafts, notes,
6    recommendations, memoranda, and other records in which
7    opinions are expressed if the records were produced in
8    connection with the preparation of a report that is
9    required to be publicly produced by an agency of the
10    executive branch.
11        (g) Trade secrets and commercial or financial
12    information obtained from a person or business where the
13    trade secrets or commercial or financial information are
14    furnished under a claim that they are proprietary,
15    privileged, or confidential, and that disclosure of the
16    trade secrets or commercial or financial information would
17    cause competitive harm to the person or business, and only
18    insofar as the claim directly applies to the records
19    requested.
20        The information included under this exemption includes
21    all trade secrets and commercial or financial information
22    obtained by a public body, including a public pension
23    fund, from a private equity fund or a privately held
24    company within the investment portfolio of a private
25    equity fund as a result of either investing or evaluating
26    a potential investment of public funds in a private equity



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1    fund. The exemption contained in this item does not apply
2    to the aggregate financial performance information of a
3    private equity fund, nor to the identity of the fund's
4    managers or general partners. The exemption contained in
5    this item does not apply to the identity of a privately
6    held company within the investment portfolio of a private
7    equity fund, unless the disclosure of the identity of a
8    privately held company may cause competitive harm.
9        Nothing contained in this paragraph (g) shall be
10    construed to prevent a person or business from consenting
11    to disclosure.
12        (h) Proposals and bids for any contract, grant, or
13    agreement, including information which if it were
14    disclosed would frustrate procurement or give an advantage
15    to any person proposing to enter into a contractor
16    agreement with the body, until an award or final selection
17    is made. Information prepared by or for the body in
18    preparation of a bid solicitation shall be exempt until an
19    award or final selection is made.
20        (i) Valuable formulae, computer geographic systems,
21    designs, drawings and research data obtained or produced
22    by any public body when disclosure could reasonably be
23    expected to produce private gain or public loss. The
24    exemption for "computer geographic systems" provided in
25    this paragraph (i) does not extend to requests made by
26    news media as defined in Section 2 of this Act when the



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1    requested information is not otherwise exempt and the only
2    purpose of the request is to access and disseminate
3    information regarding the health, safety, welfare, or
4    legal rights of the general public.
5        (j) The following information pertaining to
6    educational matters:
7            (i) test questions, scoring keys and other
8        examination data used to administer an academic
9        examination;
10            (ii) information received by a primary or
11        secondary school, college, or university under its
12        procedures for the evaluation of faculty members by
13        their academic peers;
14            (iii) information concerning a school or
15        university's adjudication of student disciplinary
16        cases, but only to the extent that disclosure would
17        unavoidably reveal the identity of the student; and
18            (iv) course materials or research materials used
19        by faculty members.
20        (k) Architects' plans, engineers' technical
21    submissions, and other construction related technical
22    documents for projects not constructed or developed in
23    whole or in part with public funds and the same for
24    projects constructed or developed with public funds,
25    including, but not limited to, power generating and
26    distribution stations and other transmission and



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1    distribution facilities, water treatment facilities,
2    airport facilities, sport stadiums, convention centers,
3    and all government owned, operated, or occupied buildings,
4    but only to the extent that disclosure would compromise
5    security.
6        (l) Minutes of meetings of public bodies closed to the
7    public as provided in the Open Meetings Act until the
8    public body makes the minutes available to the public
9    under Section 2.06 of the Open Meetings Act.
10        (m) Communications between a public body and an
11    attorney or auditor representing the public body that
12    would not be subject to discovery in litigation, and
13    materials prepared or compiled by or for a public body in
14    anticipation of a criminal, civil, or administrative
15    proceeding upon the request of an attorney advising the
16    public body, and materials prepared or compiled with
17    respect to internal audits of public bodies.
18        (n) Records relating to a public body's adjudication
19    of employee grievances or disciplinary cases; however,
20    this exemption shall not extend to the final outcome of
21    cases in which discipline is imposed.
22        (o) Administrative or technical information associated
23    with automated data processing operations, including, but
24    not limited to, software, operating protocols, computer
25    program abstracts, file layouts, source listings, object
26    modules, load modules, user guides, documentation



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1    pertaining to all logical and physical design of
2    computerized systems, employee manuals, and any other
3    information that, if disclosed, would jeopardize the
4    security of the system or its data or the security of
5    materials exempt under this Section.
6        (p) Records relating to collective negotiating matters
7    between public bodies and their employees or
8    representatives, except that any final contract or
9    agreement shall be subject to inspection and copying.
10        (q) Test questions, scoring keys, and other
11    examination data used to determine the qualifications of
12    an applicant for a license or employment.
13        (r) The records, documents, and information relating
14    to real estate purchase negotiations until those
15    negotiations have been completed or otherwise terminated.
16    With regard to a parcel involved in a pending or actually
17    and reasonably contemplated eminent domain proceeding
18    under the Eminent Domain Act, records, documents, and
19    information relating to that parcel shall be exempt except
20    as may be allowed under discovery rules adopted by the
21    Illinois Supreme Court. The records, documents, and
22    information relating to a real estate sale shall be exempt
23    until a sale is consummated.
24        (s) Any and all proprietary information and records
25    related to the operation of an intergovernmental risk
26    management association or self-insurance pool or jointly



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1    self-administered health and accident cooperative or pool.
2    Insurance or self insurance (including any
3    intergovernmental risk management association or self
4    insurance pool) claims, loss or risk management
5    information, records, data, advice or communications.
6        (t) Information contained in or related to
7    examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by,
8    on behalf of, or for the use of a public body responsible
9    for the regulation or supervision of financial
10    institutions, insurance companies, or pharmacy benefit
11    managers, unless disclosure is otherwise required by State
12    law.
13        (u) Information that would disclose or might lead to
14    the disclosure of secret or confidential information,
15    codes, algorithms, programs, or private keys intended to
16    be used to create electronic or digital signatures under
17    the Electronic Commerce Security Act.
18        (v) Vulnerability assessments, security measures, and
19    response policies or plans that are designed to identify,
20    prevent, or respond to potential attacks upon a
21    community's population or systems, facilities, or
22    installations, the destruction or contamination of which
23    would constitute a clear and present danger to the health
24    or safety of the community, but only to the extent that
25    disclosure could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the
26    effectiveness of the measures or the safety of the



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1    personnel who implement them or the public. Information
2    exempt under this item may include such things as details
3    pertaining to the mobilization or deployment of personnel
4    or equipment, to the operation of communication systems or
5    protocols, or to tactical operations.
6        (w) (Blank).
7        (x) Maps and other records regarding the location or
8    security of generation, transmission, distribution,
9    storage, gathering, treatment, or switching facilities
10    owned by a utility, by a power generator, or by the
11    Illinois Power Agency.
12        (y) Information contained in or related to proposals,
13    bids, or negotiations related to electric power
14    procurement under Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power
15    Agency Act and Section 16-111.5 of the Public Utilities
16    Act that is determined to be confidential and proprietary
17    by the Illinois Power Agency or by the Illinois Commerce
18    Commission.
19        (z) Information about students exempted from
20    disclosure under Sections 10-20.38 or 34-18.29 of the
21    School Code, and information about undergraduate students
22    enrolled at an institution of higher education exempted
23    from disclosure under Section 25 of the Illinois Credit
24    Card Marketing Act of 2009.
25        (aa) Information the disclosure of which is exempted
26    under the Viatical Settlements Act of 2009.



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1        (bb) Records and information provided to a mortality
2    review team and records maintained by a mortality review
3    team appointed under the Department of Juvenile Justice
4    Mortality Review Team Act.
5        (cc) Information regarding interments, entombments, or
6    inurnments of human remains that are submitted to the
7    Cemetery Oversight Database under the Cemetery Care Act or
8    the Cemetery Oversight Act, whichever is applicable.
9        (dd) Correspondence and records (i) that may not be
10    disclosed under Section 11-9 of the Illinois Public Aid
11    Code or (ii) that pertain to appeals under Section 11-8 of
12    the Illinois Public Aid Code.
13        (ee) The names, addresses, or other personal
14    information of persons who are minors and are also
15    participants and registrants in programs of park
16    districts, forest preserve districts, conservation
17    districts, recreation agencies, and special recreation
18    associations.
19        (ff) The names, addresses, or other personal
20    information of participants and registrants in programs of
21    park districts, forest preserve districts, conservation
22    districts, recreation agencies, and special recreation
23    associations where such programs are targeted primarily to
24    minors.
25        (gg) Confidential information described in Section
26    1-100 of the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal Act of



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1    2012.
2        (hh) The report submitted to the State Board of
3    Education by the School Security and Standards Task Force
4    under item (8) of subsection (d) of Section 2-3.160 of the
5    School Code and any information contained in that report.
6        (ii) Records requested by persons committed to or
7    detained by the Department of Human Services under the
8    Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act or committed to
9    the Department of Corrections under the Sexually Dangerous
10    Persons Act if those materials: (i) are available in the
11    library of the facility where the individual is confined;
12    (ii) include records from staff members' personnel files,
13    staff rosters, or other staffing assignment information;
14    or (iii) are available through an administrative request
15    to the Department of Human Services or the Department of
16    Corrections.
17        (jj) Confidential information described in Section
18    5-535 of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois.
19        (kk) The public body's credit card numbers, debit card
20    numbers, bank account numbers, Federal Employer
21    Identification Number, security code numbers, passwords,
22    and similar account information, the disclosure of which
23    could result in identity theft or impression or defrauding
24    of a governmental entity or a person.
25        (ll) (kk) Records concerning the work of the threat
26    assessment team of a school district.



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1    (1.5) Any information exempt from disclosure under the
2Judicial Privacy Act shall be redacted from public records
3prior to disclosure under this Act.
4    (2) A public record that is not in the possession of a
5public body but is in the possession of a party with whom the
6agency has contracted to perform a governmental function on
7behalf of the public body, and that directly relates to the
8governmental function and is not otherwise exempt under this
9Act, shall be considered a public record of the public body,
10for purposes of this Act.
11    (3) This Section does not authorize withholding of
12information or limit the availability of records to the
13public, except as stated in this Section or otherwise provided
14in this Act.
15(Source: P.A. 100-26, eff. 8-4-17; 100-201, eff. 8-18-17;
16100-732, eff. 8-3-18; 101-434, eff. 1-1-20; 101-452, eff.
171-1-20; 101-455, eff. 8-23-19; revised 9-27-19.)
18    (5 ILCS 140/9)  (from Ch. 116, par. 209)
19    Sec. 9. (a) Each public body denying a request for public
20records shall notify the requester in writing of the decision
21to deny the request, the reasons for the denial, including a
22detailed factual basis for the application of any exemption
23claimed, and the names and titles or positions of each person
24responsible for the denial. Each notice of denial by a public
25body shall also inform such person of the right to review by



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1the Public Access Counselor and provide the address and phone
2number for the Public Access Counselor. Each notice of denial
3shall inform such person of his right to judicial review under
4Section 11 of this Act.
5    (b) When a request for public records is denied on the
6grounds that the records are exempt under Section 7 of this
7Act, the notice of denial shall specify the exemption claimed
8to authorize the denial and the specific reasons for the
9denial, including a detailed factual basis and a citation to
10supporting legal authority. Copies of all notices of denial
11shall be retained by each public body in a single central
12office file that is open to the public and indexed according to
13the type of exemption asserted and, to the extent feasible,
14according to the types of records requested.
15    (c) Any person making a request for public records shall
16be deemed to have exhausted his or her administrative remedies
17with respect to that request if the public body fails to act
18within the time periods provided in Section 3 of this Act.
19    (d) The public body shall include with each denial of a
20request for public records an index that includes:
21        (i) a description of the nature of the contents of
22    each document withheld, or each deletion from a released
23    document;
24        (ii) the date on which each document withheld was
25    created;
26        (iii) each author and recipient of each document



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1    withheld;
2        (iv) a statement of the exemption or exemptions
3    claimed for each withheld document or each deletion in a
4    released document.
5    (e) A public body denying a request for public records
6shall place in an interest-bearing escrow account or other
7segregated account of the public body the sum of $7,500 for
8each request denied. The deposited funds shall remain in the
9account for a period of 60 days after the date of the public
10body's final denial of a request, or, if a requester has sought
11review under Section 9.5 of this Act or filed an action under
12Section 11 of this Act, until the review process has been
13completed or a final order has been entered. If a
14determination is made that the public body improperly denied a
15request to inspect or copy a public record, the deposited
16funds shall be awarded to the requester in addition to or as
17part of any other award. This paragraph (e) does not apply to
18requests made by a recurrent requester.
19(Source: P.A. 96-542, eff. 1-1-10.)
20    (5 ILCS 140/9.5)
21    Sec. 9.5. Public Access Counselor; opinions.
22    (a) A person whose request to inspect or copy a public
23record is denied by a public body, except the General Assembly
24and committees, commissions, and agencies thereof, may file a
25request for review with the Public Access Counselor



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1established in the Office of the Attorney General not later
2than 60 days after the date of the final denial. The request
3for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and
4include (i) a copy of the request for access to records and
5(ii) any responses from the public body.
6    (b) A person whose request to inspect or copy a public
7record is made for a commercial purpose as defined in
8subsection (c-10) of Section 2 of this Act may not file a
9request for review with the Public Access Counselor. A person
10whose request to inspect or copy a public record was treated by
11the public body as a request for a commercial purpose under
12Section 3.1 of this Act may file a request for review with the
13Public Access Counselor for the limited purpose of reviewing
14whether the public body properly determined that the request
15was made for a commercial purpose.
16    (b-5) A person whose request to inspect or copy a public
17record was treated by a public body, except the General
18Assembly and committees, commissions, and agencies thereof, as
19a voluminous request under Section 3.6 of this Act may file a
20request for review with the Public Access Counselor for the
21purpose of reviewing whether the public body properly
22determined that the request was a voluminous request.
23    (c) Upon receipt of a request for review, the Public
24Access Counselor shall determine whether further action is
25warranted. If the Public Access Counselor determines that the
26alleged violation is unfounded, he or she shall so advise the



HB3624- 24 -LRB102 10989 HEP 16321 b

1requester and the public body and no further action shall be
2undertaken. In all other cases, the Public Access Counselor
3shall forward a copy of the request for review to the public
4body within 7 business days after receipt and shall specify
5the records or other documents that the public body shall
6furnish to facilitate the review. Within 7 business days after
7receipt of the request for review, the public body shall
8provide copies of records requested and shall otherwise fully
9cooperate with the Public Access Counselor. If a public body
10fails to furnish specified records pursuant to this Section,
11or if otherwise necessary, the Attorney General may issue a
12subpoena to any person or public body having knowledge of or
13records pertaining to a request for review of a denial of
14access to records under the Act. To the extent that records or
15documents produced by a public body contain information that
16is claimed to be exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of this
17Act, the Public Access Counselor shall not further disclose
18that information.
19    (d) Within 7 business days after it receives a copy of a
20request for review and request for production of records from
21the Public Access Counselor, the public body may, but is not
22required to, answer the allegations of the request for review.
23The answer may take the form of a letter, brief, or memorandum.
24The Public Access Counselor shall forward a copy of the answer
25to the person submitting the request for review, with any
26alleged confidential information to which the request pertains



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1redacted from the copy. The requester may, but is not required
2to, respond in writing to the answer within 7 business days and
3shall provide a copy of the response to the public body.
4    (e) In addition to the request for review, and the answer
5and the response thereto, if any, a requester or a public body
6may furnish affidavits or records concerning any matter
7germane to the review.
8    (f) Unless the Public Access Counselor extends the time by
9no more than 30 business days by sending written notice to the
10requester and the public body that includes a statement of the
11reasons for the extension in the notice, or decides to address
12the matter without the issuance of a binding opinion, the
13Attorney General shall examine the issues and the records,
14shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and shall
15issue to the requester and the public body an opinion in
16response to the request for review within 60 days after its
17receipt. The opinion shall be binding upon both the requester
18and the public body, subject to administrative review under
19Section 11.5.
20    In responding to any request under this Section 9.5, the
21Attorney General may exercise his or her discretion and choose
22to resolve a request for review by mediation or by a means
23other than the issuance of a binding opinion. The decision not
24to issue a binding opinion shall not be reviewable.
25    Upon receipt of a binding opinion concluding that a
26violation of this Act has occurred, the public body shall



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1either take necessary action immediately to comply with the
2directive of the opinion or shall initiate administrative
3review under Section 11.5. If the opinion concludes that no
4violation of the Act has occurred, the requester may initiate
5administrative review under Section 11.5.
6    Except as provided in subsection (e) of Section 9 of this
7Act, a A public body that discloses records in accordance with
8an opinion of the Attorney General is immune from all
9liabilities by reason thereof and shall not be liable for
10penalties under this Act.
11    (g) If the requester files suit under Section 11 with
12respect to the same denial that is the subject of a pending
13request for review, the requester shall notify the Public
14Access Counselor, and the Public Access Counselor shall take
15no further action with respect to the request for review and
16shall so notify the public body.
17    (h) The Attorney General may also issue advisory opinions
18to public bodies regarding compliance with this Act. A review
19may be initiated upon receipt of a written request from the
20head of the public body or its attorney, which shall contain
21sufficient accurate facts from which a determination can be
22made. The Public Access Counselor may request additional
23information from the public body in order to assist in the
24review. A public body that relies in good faith on an advisory
25opinion of the Attorney General in responding to a request is
26not liable for penalties under this Act, so long as the facts



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1upon which the opinion is based have been fully and fairly
2disclosed to the Public Access Counselor.
3(Source: P.A. 97-579, eff. 8-26-11; 98-1129, eff. 12-3-14.)
4    (5 ILCS 140/11)  (from Ch. 116, par. 211)
5    Sec. 11. (a) Any person denied access to inspect or copy
6any public record by a public body may file suit for injunctive
7or declaratory relief.
8    (a-5) In accordance with Section 11.6 of this Act, a
9requester may file an action to enforce a binding opinion
10issued under Section 9.5 of this Act.
11    (b) Where the denial is from a public body of the State,
12suit may be filed in the circuit court for the county where the
13public body has its principal office or where the person
14denied access resides.
15    (c) Where the denial is from a municipality or other
16public body, except as provided in subsection (b) of this
17Section, suit may be filed in the circuit court for the county
18where the public body is located.
19    (d) The circuit court shall have the jurisdiction to
20enjoin the public body from withholding public records and to
21order the production of any public records improperly withheld
22from the person seeking access. If the public body can show
23that exceptional circumstances exist, and that the body is
24exercising due diligence in responding to the request, the
25court may retain jurisdiction and allow the agency additional



HB3624- 28 -LRB102 10989 HEP 16321 b

1time to complete its review of the records.
2    (e) On motion of the plaintiff, prior to or after in camera
3inspection, the court shall order the public body to provide
4an index of the records to which access has been denied. The
5index shall include the following:
6        (i) A description of the nature or contents of each
7    document withheld, or each deletion from a released
8    document, provided, however, that the public body shall
9    not be required to disclose the information which it
10    asserts is exempt; and
11        (ii) A statement of the exemption or exemptions
12    claimed for each such deletion or withheld document.
13    (f) In any action considered by the court, the court shall
14consider the matter de novo, and shall conduct such in camera
15examination of the requested records as it finds appropriate
16to determine if such records or any part thereof may be
17withheld under any provision of this Act. The burden shall be
18on the public body to establish that its refusal to permit
19public inspection or copying is in accordance with the
20provisions of this Act. Any public body that asserts that a
21record is exempt from disclosure has the burden of proving
22that it is exempt by clear and convincing evidence.
23    (g) In the event of noncompliance with an order of the
24court to disclose, the court may enforce its order against any
25public official or employee so ordered or primarily
26responsible for such noncompliance through the court's



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1contempt powers.
2    (h) Except as to causes the court considers to be of
3greater importance, proceedings arising under this Section
4shall take precedence on the docket over all other causes and
5be assigned for hearing and trial at the earliest practicable
6date and expedited in every way.
7    (i) If a person seeking the right to inspect or receive a
8copy of a public record prevails in a proceeding under this
9Section, the court shall award such person reasonable
10attorney's fees and costs. In determining what amount of
11attorney's fees is reasonable, the court shall consider the
12degree to which the relief obtained relates to the relief
13sought. The changes contained in this subsection apply to an
14action filed on or after January 1, 2010 (the effective date of
15Public Act 96-542).
16    (j) In accordance with the presumption set forth in
17Section 1.2 of this Act and good faith compliance with the Act,
18if If the court determines that a public body willfully and
19intentionally failed to comply with this Act, or otherwise
20acted in bad faith, the court shall also impose upon the public
21body a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 nor more than
22$5,000 for each occurrence. In assessing the civil penalty,
23the court shall consider in aggravation or mitigation the
24budget of the public body and whether the public body has
25previously been assessed penalties for violations of this Act.
26The court may impose an additional penalty of up to $1,000 for



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1each day the violation continues if:
2        (1) the public body fails to comply with the court's
3    order after 30 days;
4        (2) the court's order is not on appeal or stayed; and
5        (3) the court does not grant the public body
6    additional time to comply with the court's order to
7    disclose public records.
8    The changes contained in this subsection made by Public
9Act 96-542 apply to an action filed on or after January 1, 2010
10(the effective date of Public Act 96-542).
11    (k) The changes to this Section made by this amendatory
12Act of the 99th General Assembly apply to actions filed on or
13after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th
14General Assembly.
15(Source: P.A. 99-586, eff. 1-1-17; 99-642, eff. 7-28-16.)