My record of FOIA defense stands

To the Editor:

Contrary to your Dec. 10 headline, I do not support secrecy in government. In fact, I was the sponsor of the original Illinois Freedom of Information Act and I have advanced additional improvements to the act over the years. I would never turn my back on our commitment to government transparency and accountability.
As a result of some recent court decisions, questions were raised in Springfield about the appropriate interpretation of some of the important changes to the act that were approved in 2009. We introduced language reflecting one of those interpretations in order to start the conversation.

Staff and I met with many interested parties to discuss the bill. It became quite clear — quite quickly — that the interpretation proposed didn’t match up with the recollections of other drafters, including those from the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Nor did it match the interpretation of advocates who also worked on the 2009 bill, advocates that included the Illinois Press Association and the ACLU.

We did the right thing: we dropped the bill. I refused to call the bill for a vote in Committee, and I will not reintroduce the bill during the next Illinois General Assembly. Should the measure reappear, I’ll do my best to defeat it.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25)