What It Is and Process to Request

FOIA is the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140), records in possession of public agencies may be accessed by the public upon written request. Pursuant to 5 ILCS 140, Section 2 (c), a public record is any records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communication, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used, received, in possession of or under the control of any public body.

Some records are, however, not available for disclosure via the FOIA process; these types of records are described under Section 7 of FOIA, specifically 5 ILCS 140, Section 7 (1) (a) through (y) and Section 7.5 (Statutory Exemptions). Some FOIA disclosures may also be restricted by confidentiality provisions imposed by other state and federal statutes, such as the Illinois Oil & Gas Act, the state Criminal Code, etc. The FOIA process does not supersede applicable statutory or judicial mandates concerning confidentiality, proprietary business/trade matters, a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy matters, etc.