Illinois States Attorneys Association
Income and Expenses
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(included in Total Income)
Opposition to FOIA improvements
The States Attorneys Association opposed changes to strengthen the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Senate Bill 189, sponsored by Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), would do the following:
- Narrow and clarify personal privacy exemptions,
- Require heightened scrutiny when public bodies seek to use the privacy or preliminary draft exemptions,
- Limit copying charges,
- Require public bodies to produce records electronically,
- Shorten the time that public entities have to respond to a request to five days,
- Impose a fine on any entity attempting to violate the act by $1000,
- and require entities to appoint an official responsible for requests.
The Illinois State's Attorneys Association argued in a letter to Governor Pat Quinn that the new Illinois FOIA is too costly, a threat to law enforcement, an undue burden on local governments, and a usurpation of prosecutors’ duties by the Illinois Attorney General's Office.
The establishment of a Public Access Counselor was particularly troubling to the association. The Counselor would be within the attorney general's office acts as the final authority in cases where a government body has denied a request for records, documents, or other information. The state’s attorneys say such decisions should be made in court after they bring charges against government bodies alleged to be in violation of the act.
"Criminal prosecution by the State’s Attorney of any FOIA violation more than capably addresses effective enforcement without adding another cumbersome and costly layer of government," the state’s attorneys association says in its letter to Quinn. The letter says enforcement of FOIA cases should be handled the same way as Open Meetings Act violations are now handled.
Although Governor Quinn commuted 167 death sentences in Illinois in 2003, the Association members continue pursuing the death penalty when they deem it appropriate. The Association is involved in the death penalty issue in Illinois in other ways. It proposed several measures for reinstating a sensible death penalty policy, such as making it a capital crime to kill a child 16 or younger, as opposed to the law at age 12. It also generally works to check the governor's broad clemency power.
The Illinois States Attorneys Association was a part of a task force for examining the Animal Control Act and recommending ways to update and improve it, and reported its findings to the General Assembly in January 2007.
It has a representative in the Illinois Integrated Justice Information System Governing Board
- Form 990, Illinois States Attorneys Association 2008
- Form 990, Illinois States Attorneys Association 2007
- Form 990, Illinois States Attorneys Association 2006
- "Transparency legislation will reform open government laws in Illinois"
- Northwest Herald, "New FOIA finds local supporters," March 11, 2009
- "Our Opinion: Sign FOIA bill, governor," State Journal-Register, August 3, 2009
- "Government needs to be kept out in the open," The Southern, August 8, 2009
- "Illinois Prosecutors Assess Death Penalty's New Era," New York Times, January 14, 2003
- "DuPage leaders revive death penalty debate," Daily Herald, February 12, 2008
- "Governor commutes all of Illinois' death row inmates," Daily News, January 12, 2003
- "State's attorneys angry but helpless," Herald News, January 12, 2003
- "Owners of vicious dogs put on short leash," The News-Gazette, June 1, 2006 (dead link)
- Illinois State's Attorneys Association Conference (timed out)
- In-house CLE Training Programs - Cook County State's Attorney's Office
- Illinois Integrated Justice Information System (IIJIS) Governing Board