Better Government Association

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

When Illinois public officials are dismissed for misconduct, they sometimes are
awarded large severance packages – which are paid for by taxpayers. A new proposal approved by the Senate would stop the practice.

ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution. 

The Democrats want to hand off control of legislative map drawings to what they call an independent commission. Republicans agree, but say they want more people on the commission and more public hearings.

Both also say they want to change the constitution to take partisan advantage out of future map making.

Most Freedom of Information Act requests come from people outside of the journalism field.

"We get requests every single day from regular citizens who are interested just in knowing what the government is up to," according to Annum Haider, civic engagement coordinator with the Better Government Association. "They are trying to get more information to be more engaged."

The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Illinois High School Association has no obligation to release internal documents.  

The watchdog Better Government Association wanted to get records from the IHSA (which organizes high school athletic tournaments) on its sponsorship deals with the likes of Gatorade and Nike. To this end, it filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act, which  is supposed to make sure anyone can get documents, memos, and even emails from a government body. However, the court treats IHSA as a private non-profit organization.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

An Illinois watchdog group takes a case against the Illinois High School Association to the state's highest court Tuesday. That’s regarding whether IHSA is subject to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.