Editorial: Finally! The state is doing something worthwhile

By on February 12, 2009

After a significant period of time in which Illinois government has been more focused on lying, cheating and stealing, the state is actually doing work that will help the public.

On Friday, the Illinois Press Association (IPA) announced that it has been working with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on creating an overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act. According to the announcement, the reforms will be introduced during this legislative session, and will amend “virtually every aspect of the FOI (Freedom of Information) process.”

Madigan has long been a proponent of free access to information. In 2004, she created a position within her office called the Public Access Counselor. According to the IPA, she spoke with various newspaper editors and publishers and committed to reforming current access laws.

We applaud the work of Madigan and those in her office, as well as those in and representing the IPA. It is due to their many hours of hard, frustrating work, just to get the current level of access to information the public “enjoys,” so the nticipation that their work will lead to even more access is a wonderful thing.

For those who wonder what is wrong with current “sunshine” laws, or why it is important for the public to have full access to the documents and information they need to observe the government, we invite you to visit illinoispress.org. There, you will find their annual awards known as the “Worsty Awards.”

The list is just a small sample of the ways in which all levels of government in Illinois, both at the state and local levels, either outright violate the existing laws or try to justify their actions by utilizing any of the vast number of loopholes and vagueness in the current Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act.

Some of the examples are literally funny due to the ignorance of those supposedly in charge of government entities; some are sad that so much can happen behind closed doors when those doors should remain open; but most are simply outrageous examples of why the law needs to be reformed.

We look forward to seeing the result of all this hard work; especially when in the past, this amount of hard work often would go to circumventing the law, not trying to make it better.

CORRECTION:
On page 7A of the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of the Elburn Herald, Sugar Grove resident Tom Scales’s comments were misconstrued. The flooding he referred to while describing children losing their shoes while walking on the grass was on the local baseball field, not in the yard of his home.

On page 9A of the Feb. 5 edition of the Elburn Herald, both basketball photos were taken by Mary Herra.

The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:

Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
e-mail: info@elburnherald.com
phone (630) 365-6446

About Ryan Wells

Ryan Wells is the owner and publisher of the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at RyanWells@elburnherald.com, or by calling (630) 703-9201, ext. 107.

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