By Jennifer Wessner Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD–The Illinois House voted on Tuesday to overturn Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto on a bill that originally kept private the performance evaluations of all public employees.
In 2009, the General Assembly revamped Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to give the public greater access to government information.
But in the last year, the General Assembly has taken steps to reduce the amount of information that is available.
Lawmakers amended the FOIA law last January to exempt performance reviews of teachers, superintendents and administrators.
This past spring, lawmakers again amended the law, through House Bill 5154, to make the performance reviews of all government employees off limits.
Quinn used his amendatory veto power on HB 5154 this summer and changed the law to allow only the evaluations of law enforcement to be exempt.
On Tuesday, the Illinois House took the issue up again and voted overwhelmingly to overturn Quinn’s veto. The vote in the House was 77 to 36 in favor of the original bill.
State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, brought the measure up during Tuesday’s veto session.
“I'd like to override the governor's veto on House Bill 5154," Chapa La Via said.
Melissa Hahn, president of Illinois News Broadcasters Association, said she is disappointed by the Illinois House’s decision to override the governor’s veto.
“We are opposed to the bill in its entirety, as it was originally proposed and after it was tinkered with by Gov. Pat Quinn and made to only affect law enforcement positions and their evaluations,” Hahn said. “We sincerely hope that the Illinois Senate chooses to literally ignore the bill and let it die.”
The bill is expected to come before the Senate in the next few weeks.