The Illinois Freedom of Information Act

Kyle T. Kirts, of Dayton, Ohio, an attorney for the past 15 years, currently focuses on criminal defense, probate, and landlord-tenant cases. Earlier in his career, he worked as an agency counsel at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA). While at DCCA, Kyle Kirts handled requests for public records made through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The FOIA’s purpose consists of promoting government transparency and openness by allowing public access to government records. These records range from reports and letters to recordings and other documentary materials. Agencies do not divulge confidential records or trade secrets.

All requests for information must be in writing, via letters, faxes, or e-mails. Persons must describe unambiguously the information they want and identify the request as an FOIA inquiry. Documents under 50 pages come at no cost; longer documents cost 15 cents per page.

Legislation passed in 2009 strengthened the FOIA by making permanent a public access counselor position within the state attorney general’s office.