FOIA law on Rauner’s refusal to reveal reform legislation

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has said for weeks that the reforms he wants for Illinois government are written in legislation, ready for lawmakers to debate.

But Rauner’s office rejected an Associated Press request under the Freedom of Information Act for copies of his “Turnaround Agenda” to boost the economy through changes to the business and legal climates.

FOIA allows government officials to keep documents secret if they’re “preliminary” and contain opinions that aren’t yet policy. Aides say the governor’s plans are “preliminary” because secret lawmaker groups are discussing them.

But FOIA has another exception — even “preliminary” documents must be disclosed if the government-agency chief identifies them publicly. Rauner has done that repeatedly.

The AP has appealed the decision to the attorney general’s public access counselor.