Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Little More Open Government in Illinois

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Little More Open Government in Illinois

Article excerpt

A compromise between members of the press and municipal officials in Illinois should lead to more open government - but not much more. News organizations had wanted to require elected officials to keep a verbatim record of any closed-door meetings, in case those sessions are later judged to have been closed improperly. But the compromise legislation requires only a summary of the meetings. Once governments see how that provision works out, they should be willing to go further.

Currently, government bodies that want to close meetings don't even have to issue an agenda, and no one can check on what they do. Even when their secrecy is challenged, they can stall releasing records for so long that the information sought by the press or the public is useless. No wonder the general counsel for news organizations seeking tighter rules called the current laws "toothless tigers."

To give open meetings regulations more bite, the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Municipal League met to craft a compromise that could win legislative approval. …

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