The bill in question is HB1716, SA1. The information I have is from BGA Think Tank, the weblog of the Better Government Association in Illinois.
If this legislation passes, a citizen who makes more than 50 FOIA requests in one year, 15 in thirty days, or 7 in seven days, can be labeled a recurrent requester, and would have no designated timeline for receiving their requester documents.
The bill is supported by the Illinois Municipal League, under the rubric that it would allow governments to "recoup extraordinary costs that are not generally anticipated under FOIA."
Who is the person who files frequent FOIA requests? Are they the busybody who is creating a lot of work for overworked municipal staff, or are they the diligent citizen who has found no other way for a public body to maintain its openness than by going through a formal written FOIA request for every document? It's partly a matter of perspective.
Consider the Michigan cases of citizens who filed thousands of FOIA requests. Is that abuse? Jerry McNeely sent in 3000 plus requests in 180 days according to news reports, and eventually a judge found the city of Kalamazoo had done nothing wrong by not responding to them on time.
Thanks to Muck Rock News for the tip to this story.
More coverage and advocacy:
Citizen Advocacy Center is against the bill, calling the problem "undocumented". (Facebook)
Daily Herald, "Senate committee approves FOIA restrictions".
Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican, was the only committee member to oppose the measure. He said he could support it if there was an exact amount of time set for local governments to respond to recurrent requesters, but “reasonable” is too vague and allows for loopholes.