Public Records Information
In efforts to keep the state of Illinois government open and honest, the Pro Disclosure Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1984. This gives the residents of Illinois access to public information regarding the workings of the state government with the right to inspect, copy or reproduce public records. The statutes is in largely based on the federal freedom of information act, also known as the FOIA. As there are limitations to information that can be released, the state's statutes provide descriptions and details of what is made available as public records. This act also outlines the procedures of the government and the entity's duties in responding to its residents information requests.
While the FOIA lets it's residents request information from their government for purposes of scrutiny and transparency, this right is also extended to other government records. The Illinois state police can be requested to conduct criminal history record searches of convictions. This allows anyone to look into another person's past criminal background. Home ownership in Illinois is above the national average at nearly 70 percent. These property and real estate records are held by county recorders where you can request deed information of Illinois homeowners. The department of public health maintains information of deaths, births, divorces and marriages occurring in Illinois where a request can be simply made by anyone online. State and local courts are also under the FOIA rules which allows the public to request courthouse records of trials, cases, filings and its operations. There are limitations in place to where personal information of a person will not be revealed.
Illinois became part of the union December 3rd, 1818. With approximately 13 million residents and nearly 58,000 square miles, the prairie state is the 25th largest state by land and the 5th most populated after California, New York, Texas and Florida. It's major industries are agriculture, mining, cattle and manufacturing.
The government of Illinois is based on a 3 branch system. The executive branch is divided in several state offices such as the governor's office, agencies, boards and commissions as well as the management, budgeting and taxes amongst other duties. The legislative branch is the state's general assembly made of the its senate and house of representatives. Divided in 59 districts, the legislature deals with the laws and constitution of the state. The judicial branch is the state's court system which includes its supreme, appellate and circuit courts. There are 23 judicial circuits in 130 locations throughout the state and serves as the general trial court.
There are 102 counties in Illinois, it has 1,299 municipalities with 1,431 townships and 3,145 special districts. City government includes the mayor's office, treasurer, clerk, city council and other local offices and services. Chicago is the largest city in Illinois with more than half of the state's residence living within its borders. It is the 3rd most populated city in the U.S. after New York and Los Angeles. Forming cities and municipalities are a way to give residents of Illinois local power and a voice when it comes to governing their areas.
Illinois Court Information
The Illinois circuit courts have exclusive civil jurisdiction (including administrative agency appeals), and small claims jurisdiction, where the amount in controversy is $2,500 and below, exclusive domestic relations, criminal cases, traffic, juvenile jurisdiction and hold venue to preliminary hearings.
The appellate courts must hear (have "mandatory jurisdiction" over) various civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, original proceedings, interlocutory decision cases and may hear (have "discretionary jurisdiction" over) various civil, and interlocutory decision cases.
The state's supreme court is the highest court with mandatory jurisdiction in various civil, capital criminal, criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, disciplinary, original proceeding and interlocutory decision cases. Discretionary jurisdiction in various civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, certified questions from federal courts, original proceeding and interlocutory decision cases.
Illinois Public Records Questions and Answers