Saturday, December 19, 2009

Illinois Attorney general names FOIA enforcer

Cara Smith, deputy chief of staff for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, has been named the agency’s new public access counselor charged with enforcing the state Freedom of Information Act.

“I’m very excited,” said Smith, the attorney general’s point person in a FOIA overhaul approved by the legislature earlier this year that’s intended to increase access to public records. “The law has been unenforceable for so long, people in Illinois have no idea what they’re even entitled to.”
Don Craven, acting director of the Illinois Press Association, praised Smith.

“She’s an excellent choice,” Craven said. “She was very involved in the rewrite of the Freedom of Information Act. During those discussions, it seemed very clear to those of us in favor of open government and transparency that her heart is in the right place.”

On Jan. 1, revisions to the Freedom of Information Act aimed at making government more transparent will take effect. That’s just two weeks away, but lawyers familiar with public-records laws acknowledge plenty of uncertainty.

Read more at The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.
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