08/08/2014 02:00 pm ET Updated Oct 08, 2014

The BGA fights for FOIA requests

In July, The Better Government Association sued the Illinois High School Association for denying a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request for information about sports sponsorships. The IHSA says they are a nonprofit and therefore exempt from such requests, while the BGA maintains that citizens have a right to see the information since the organization is paid for by tax dollars.

BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw wrote that his organization is committed to holding government agencies accountable for making information available to news organizations and average citizens whom he believes have a right to see it.

The BGA also has sued Cook County, Chicago Animal Control, the Chicago Transit Authority Pension Fund and several municipalities, which Shaw said was in an effort to keep financial and political information public and to call out organizations where hints of possible corruption could be seen.

The public's right to know how government works is critical to a healthy democracy, Shaw says.

While the BGA believes open information about government is important to Illinoisans' well-being, it seems that many Illinoisans already feel like they're doing just fine. Illinois ranked 22nd among all states in a massive survey asking residents how they viewed their health and well-being. That ranking is an improvement from 2012.The rankings were based on residents' self-reporting on their feelings about their own life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to services. Check out the cool map and breakdowns by Illinois congressional district and major metro areas. You'll feel better about yourself if you do.