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Bill aims to expose and limit exemptions to FOIA

A bill, the OPEN FOIA Act of 2008 (S.2746), was introduced in March by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). It would add an important provision to last year’s OPEN Government Act (PUBLIC LAW 110-175–DEC. 31, 2007) and attempt to make it harder for Congress to slip into bills language that would preclude the release of information to the public under FOIA.

More about the bill here:

  • S. 2746 at GovTrack.us
  • S. 2746 at Thomas
  • Congress Needs to Learn a Little Openness Itself, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), March 13, 2008. Excperpt: “The new bill requires that when Congress provides for any statutory exemption to FOIA, it must state its intention to do so clearly and explicitly. It seems unobjectionable, right? Nevertheless, last year the Administration did object, and offered so many changes that the language got watered down until it ultimately was dropped from the OPEN Government bill.”
  • Congress Is Pushed To Make More Information Public, by Michael Posner, CongressDaily, March 31, 2008 PM edition [subscription required]. Excerpt: “Often the congressional-written exemptions are tucked into fine print in the middle of complex bill language. An example cited by the Senate Judiciary Committee staff is an exemption in a consumer protection bill banning lead in toys that allows keeping some product information confidential if a foreign government requests it.

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