A reader sends in this pro-transparency ruling in Illinois:
City officials must turn over electronic correspondence council members send and receive during meetings, regardless of what kind of media or means they use to do so, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday.
The legally binding opinion was sent to city officials and The News-Gazette after the city denied a July request from the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act seeking “all electronic communications, including cellphone text messages, sent and received by members of the city council and the mayor during city council meetings and study sessions since and including May 3.”
On Tuesday, the binding opinion from the attorney general’s office stated that “whether information is a ‘public record’ is not determined by where, how or on what device the record was created.”
The question is whether one or more members of a public body used the record to conduct the affairs of government, the office determined.
“The City’s argument that text messages and emails pertaining to public business which are generated from private equipment are not public records is clearly inconsistent with the General Assembly’s intention, as stated in section 1 of FOIA (5 ILCS 140/ 1 (West 2010)), that the public have ‘full disclosure of information relating to the decisions, policies, procedures, rules, standards, and other aspects of government activity,'” wrote Michael Luke, counsel to the attorney general.
Read more on The News-Gazette.