Open Government Laws & FOIA Requirements
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
Open Government Laws
The following provides direct links to the main laws regulating open government in Illinois.
In addition, the Illinois Attorney General has provided extensive guidance regarding the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and Illinois Open Meetings Act:
Individuals who wish to file a Freedom of Information Act request may find Forms and sample letters here:
Sample Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request Letter
The Center for Open Government offers the following sample Freedom of Information Act request letter below. Make sure to keep a copy of the letter you submit.
Copy the text in the box below and paste it into your word processor, where you can customize the letter with the information particular to your request (highlighted below).
DATE THE LETTER
NAME OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION OFFICER
ADDRESS OF PUBLIC BODY
Dear Sir or Madam:
Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/1 et seq., this letter requests a copy of the following public records:
If any record or any part of a record responsive to this request is included in a record or part of a record determined to be unresponsive to my request, then I request an in person inspection of the entire document. As you are aware, the Illinois Freedom of Information Act requires that all non-exempt parts of any partially-exempt documents must be disclosed. I expect that your office shall produce all responsive records. However, if your office withholds any records or parts of records, please provide the legal exemption for this withholding, the basis on which the exemption is invoked and the address to which an appeal should be addressed.
This letter authorizes payment of $___ for copying the responsive records or materials. If any charge in excess of $___ will be required to satisfy this request, please obtain my approval before the fee is incurred. You may reach me at [include address, phone number and/or email].
This request [is or is not] for a commercial purpose.
[OPTIONAL - If you are requesting that the public body waive any fees for copying the documents, you must attach a statement of the purpose of the request, and whether the principal purpose of the request is to access or disseminate information regarding the health, safety and welfare or legal rights of the general public.]
If you have any questions or if I can clarify this request, you may reach me at [include address, phone number and/or email]. Thank you for your consideration.
Enforcing the Laws
If you run into problems with your Freedom of Information Act request or have concerns regarding how a public entity is conducting its business, please contact the Center for Open Government for a free consultation on your legal issue. Feel free to use our Submit an Inquiry page.