Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has directed state agency directors and state lawyers to “take all steps necessary to make information as accessible as possible” and better comply with the Freedom of Information Act, reports the GateHouse News Service. Quinn spokesman Bob Reed said the directive is intended to let state workers know they “should have a pro-disclosure attitude toward FOIA.” Certain types of information, such as medical files and security information, are exempt from the act.
A common criticism is that state agencies often deny requests for information based on broad interpretations of these exemptions. In his memo, Quinn ordered FOIA requests to be considered “in favor of disclosure” instead of secrecy. “In particular, FOIA requests shall be complied with in full conformity with both the letter and spirit of FOIA, and no decision to withhold information sought in a FOIA request shall be made to avoid embarrassment or for any speculative or other improper purpose,” he wrote.