It is the public policy of this State that public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and that the people
have a right to be informed as to the conduct of their business.
- Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1.
Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of
the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official
acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access
is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments
and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest.
- Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan believes that an open, honest and accountable government, the cornerstone of a democracy, can be achieved
only through the free and open exchange of information between government and the public. In Illinois, our most important transparency
laws – the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA) – endeavor to open the workings of government to the public, shed light on
government actions and, in the process, strengthen our democracy.
In 2009, Attorney General Madigan worked with legislators and open government advocates to draft and pass landmark legislation (Senate Bill 189, Public Act 096-0542) to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act
to increase the transparency and accountability of governments at all levels. This law went into effect on January 1, 2010 and provides
new tools and provisions to make certain the public has timely access to public records and public meetings.
The updated law makes it easier to enforce FOIA and OMA and fight for open and accountable government by making permanent the Public
Access Counselor position within the Attorney General’s Office and empowering the Public Access Counselor with the
authority to resolve FOIA and OMA disputes.
On the pages of this website, you will find detailed information to help the public and government officials and employees to understand
and comply with FOIA and OMA. We encourage you to check this site routinely as new materials are made available.
We look forward to working with you to enforce the transparency laws and ensure that our government is open, accessible and accountable
to all the people of Illinois.
Who is the Public Access Counselor?
Under the updated law, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) will be a permanent part of the Office of the Attorney General.
Working under the direction and supervision of the Attorney General and with a team of attorneys and professional staff, the Public
Access Counselor’s mission is to help people obtain public documents and access public meetings.
Attorney General Madigan has appointed Sarah Pratt to the position of Acting Public Access Counselor. Her contact information is:
Acting Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Fax: (217) 782-1396
What does the Public Access Counselor do?
Under the new law, the Public Access Counselor has several responsibilities, including:
- Educational Materials
To provide educational materials to the public and to respond to informal inquiries.
- Advisory Opinions
To issue advisory opinions on FOIA and OMA in response to requests by public bodies.
- Mediate Disputes
To work to resolve or mediate disputes between members of the public and public bodies concerning FOIA requests and compliance with
- Requests for Review
To investigate and issue opinions in response to Requests for Review submitted by members of the public when a FOIA request has been denied by a public body or when it is alleged that a public body has
- Binding Opinions
To issue binding opinions on FOIA and OMA in response to Requests for Review submitted by members of the public.
- Electronic Training
To provide electronic training to all FOIA Officers and all persons designated by public bodies
to receive OMA training.