Are you a supporter of the [Freedom of Information Act] (FOIA)? Of course you are. Well, there’s a pretty solid FOIA bill introduced by Senators Leahy and Cornyn (S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act) coming out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would create a presumption of access to government information, address some of the overuse of exemptions to FOIA, and strengthen several other areas of FOIA. Here is a section by-section explanation of the bill. The House has already passed a similar bill, H.R. 1211: FOIA Act.
Unfortunately, my Senator, Diane Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a possible obstacle. We are quickly running out of legislative days for the bill to be enacted during this session of Congress and we need Senator Feinstein’s support to make sure the Senate Judiciary Committee marks up the bill as soon as they return from the August recess.
If you’re in CA, please contact Senator Feinstein TODAY!! and ask her to support the bill.
And if you’re in a different state, contact your Senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support the bill too!
Thanks to OpenTheGovernment.org and the 50 other groups who are spearheading this effort and keeping the pressure up to pass this important legislation to make FOIA work better for the American public!
Earlier this year, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VIT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act. The bill has generated a lot of enthusiasm in the open government community because it puts reins on agencies’ overuse of the exemption covering “pre-decisional material” by requiring that they weigh the public interest in the release of the record. The bill also strengthens the Office of Government Information Services, which was created in 2007 to help enforce the law and to help settle FOIA disputes out of court, and makes other common-sense changes to the way agencies process requests for records.
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