ILLINOIS HOUSE BILL 1869 TO LIMIT AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
Proposed House Bill 1869 would end the publication of all public announcements in local newspapers in favor of the publication of information solely on government websites. This would end Illinois citizens’ ability to obtain notices from weekly, union, rural or community newspapers. We ask that you contact your representative and note your opposition to HB 1869.
House Bill 1869 ends the publication of public notices in newspapers in favor of that information being published only on government web sites. This is not a good idea for a number of reasons:
Many people, including the elderly, minorities, people in rural areas and those at a financial disadvantage, do not have access to the Internet and will not be able to receive the information provided in the notices;
There are no standards or requirements in the legislation regarding how the notices must be posted and no penalty if the government body fails to actually post a notice or does so incorrectly;
There is no requirement that the information must remain available for any length of time. Currently, a person can look at a past publication of a newspaper and find the notice they are interested in;
Newspaper publication is considered so reliable that courts in Illinois accept the published contents as evidence and it is actually required for many court actions.
It is important that the citizens of Illinois are able to receive public notices that are reliable and secure, that those notices are available to anyone who would like to review them and that they can review them at any time. It is also important that local government does not have a monopoly on providing information to the public. Newspapers provide accurate, reliable and permanent records for all citizens.
In these trying times it is vitally important to ensure that newspapers remain viable sources of information and that we are not limited to receiving only the information that the government wants to publish.
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