Ward Room
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How Pat Quinn Limits Freedom

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How Pat Quinn Limits Freedom
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Governor Pat Quinn likes to sign bills.

Many of them are meaningless fodder for him to use in order to call a press conference.

On Friday, he signed one with teeth -- sharp, FOIA biting teeth. HB 1716 restricts FOIA access for "recurrent requesters" such as journalists, academics and watch dog groups under the guise of cost saving.

It has three main elements that have good government types peeved.

1. It lengthens the time required to respond to FOIA requests from five days to 21 days.

2. It allows for flags to be placed on recurrent FOIA requesters, or anyone who submits more than seven FOIA documents in a week.

3. It allows the government agency which has been solicited to charge for costs associated with retreiving the documents.

In the past, Quinn has been hailed as a champion of transparency. Now, however, advocacy groups are saying his actions have eroded that sentiment.

The law went into effect on Friday.

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