McHenry blog wins 'recurrent requester' battle with county
The McHenry County Blog is news media and thus exempt from classification as a "recurrent requester," the Edgar County Watchdogs reported recently.
Neil Olsen, the Illinois assistant attorney general in the Public Access Bureau, issued the official determination that classifies the blog as news media under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The designation allows the online publication to continue to submit and expect timely responses to FOIA requests.
The issue stems from McHenry County Blog publisher Cal Skinner’s FOIA requests to the county, which he uses to report on politics and governmental action. In an alleged effort to reduce its obligation to respond to Skinner, McHenry County designated him as a recurrent requester.
Under FOIA rules, public bodies can take longer to respond to recurrent requesters, but the law exempts news media from the classification.
The watchdog group said it expects the same outcome in its conflict with the City of Carlinville, which is attempting to classify the group as a commercial requester.
"Carlinville will fail just a McHenry County failed," the group posted on its Illinois Leaks website. "Let’s just hope Carlinville gets a refund from its attorney for his horrible legal advice."
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