Freedom of Information Act
"Let the people know the facts, and the county will be safe." President Abraham Lincoln, 1861
Open and honest government is the cornerstone of American democracy. FOIA is intended to ensure that members of the public have access to information about their government and its decision-making process.
The Illinois General Assembly had declared, in the first paragraph of FOIA, that it is:
The public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest. 5ILCS 140/1.
FOIA balances the public's right to know with individual privacy rights and legitimate governmental interests, and establishes procedures to facilitate the inspection and copying of records.