ENSURING OPEN AND HONEST GOVERNMENT

OMA and FOIA Public Site
  FOIA Officers, OMA Designee, and OMA Public Body Members must register before taking the training on the FOIA/OMA Portal. If you are a member of the public interested in accessing the training program, click on the public training link.

 
  X Register as a FOIA Officer, OMA Designee, or a OMA Public Body Member  
  X Continue to the OMA/FOIA Portal  

If you are a member of the general public and are interested in accessing the same training program that the FOIA/OMA officers are taking, click this link: General Public Training This training is not recorded and can be accessed as often as you like.
Public Access Counselor
Ensuring Open and Honest Government

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 Public Access Counselor. Her contact information is:

Sarah Pratt
Public Access Counselor
Office of the Attorney General
500 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Phone:
1-877-299-FOIA
(1-877-299-3642)
Fax: (217) 782-1396

E-mail: publicaccess@atg.state.il.us

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 OMA.

  • 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 violated OMA.

  • 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.