To complement the story I wrote for Saturday's newspaper regarding how the revised Freedom of Information Act has affected local governments, here are some final numbers the Attorney General released today regarding who is using the new public access counselor's review system and how they are using it:
In 2010, there were 5,242 new matters before the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor. The Illinois sunshine laws continue to be used most by the general public rather than the media, with 92 percent of requests and inquiries being submitted by members of the public.
Snapshot of 2010 PAC Activities and Actions:
- New matters before the Public Access Counselor: 5,242;
- Requests to review from those who have been denied records under FOIA or file complaints related to OMA: 37 percent;
- Review requests closed: 1,335; Review requests open: 630; Closure rate: 68 percent;
- Requests from public bodies for pre-authorization to deny a records request: 63 percent;
- Public body pre-authorization requests closed: 2,992; pre-authorization requests open: 285; Closure rate: 91 percent;
- Review requests submitted by the media: 159 requests; and review requests submitted by the public: 1,806.
Illinois top five public bodies for highest number of appeals to its FOIA and OMA decisions:
- 162: Illinois Department of Corrections;
- 135: Chicago Police Department;
- 74: Illinois State Police;
- 54: Village of Wapella; and
- 41: Quincy School District #172.