Lawmakers and open-government advocates in Illinois are hoping to turn corruption lemons into transparency lemonade, the Chicago Tribune reports, with a new push for long-overdue reform in the state Freedom of Information Act.
Backers of a pair of bills that would renovate the public records system reportedly think the political environment left behind by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested last year on corruption charges and soon after impeached, might finally be favorable to change. The Tribune weighed in this weekend with a lengthy list of grievances against the state’s current FOIA set-up, including its long, byzantine roster of gaping-wide exemptions:
Ultimately, changing and improving access to public records in Illinois will require a legal and cultural transformation. The legal changes can help drive the cultural changes, however, by vividly illustrating to Illinois public officials that the people demand and deserve better access to the public records they paid for and own.