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Illinois governor calls for better adherence to state FOIA

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  1. Freedom of Information
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday called for state agencies to improve the handling of valid state Freedom of Information Act…

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday called for state agencies to improve the handling of valid state Freedom of Information Act requests, thus promoting a more open government, reports the Associated Press.

Freedom of Information Act requests ought to be deemed valid, Quinn wrote in a memo to state agencies, unless they clearly fall within one of Illinois’ 56 legal exemptions to disclosure.  The governor also "specifically ordered agencies not to withhold information simply to avoid embarrassment," the AP said.

"A government that shrouds itself in secrecy and shuts out the sunshine of public scrutiny is one that will neither earn nor deserve the respect and trust of the people," Quinn said in the memo.

The governor, who has been in office less than a month, was sworn in after the impeachment of his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, amid a high-profile corruption and misconduct case.  The AP reports Blagojevich had a poor record of upholding FOIA principles.