At the behest of Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, the General Assembly Judiciary Committee has significantly watered down Freedom of Information legislation designed to re-open police investigatory files of arrests.
The Government Administration and Elections Committee had adopted a bill (H.B. 6750) that relied on state FOI statute 1-210(b)(3), which provides these eight exemptions:
the identity of informants not otherwise known or the identity of witnesses not otherwise known whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known, (B) the identity of minor witnesses, (C) signed statements of witnesses, (D) information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action, (E) investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general public, (F) arrest records of a juvenile, which shall also include any investigatory files, concerning the arrest of such juvenile, compiled for law enforcement purposes, (G) the name and address of the victim of a sexual assault or injury or risk of injury, or impairing of morals or (H) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction. pursuant to section 1-216;
Under 210, if it isn’t exempt, it needs to be released.
The state Supreme Court ruled last July that FOI statute 1-215 trumps 1-210. The court asked the legislature to revisit the issue.
215 is much more restrictive and allows for nothing more than name of person arrested, date, time and place of arrest and a police report or press release that need say no more than name, rank and serial number. What Kane gave the Judiciary Committee is based on 215 also calls for the arrest affidavit to be released if there is a warrant; or a summary of the facts if no warrant. But what that does is still limit what can be released.
Judiciary opted for Kane’s version. The debate continues in the General Assembly.
Discussion begins at 1 hour 45 minutes 40 seconds.