U.S. congressional efforts to amend the Freedom of Information Act

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The Freedom of Information Act, which allowed for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the U.S. government, originally took effect in 1966. Over the years, Congress has considered measures to make access to these documents either easier or more difficult. This page focuses on these efforts. [1]

Contents

Legislation

110th Congress

Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007

On March 14, 2007, the House considered the Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1309), sponsored by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. [2]


Specifically, the bill would state the following:

  • A government agency with a request for information may not reject that request if the requester is with the news media, but can not show institutional associations. Prior publication history (including books, magazines and newspaper articles, newsletters, television and radio broadcasts and internet publications) is valid evidence of these associations. If there is no publishing history, the agency must then consider the requester’s stated intent to distribute the information to a reasonably broad audience. [3]
  • A suit filed in compliant of denial can allow for attorney fees to be paid. If a request is denied for arbitrary or capricious reasons, a civil action can be brought by the requester. [4]
  • After one year from enactment of this bill, an agency must decide on providing the information within 20 days of the request. [5]
  • A system of tracking numbers is to be developed to track individual requests and a telephone or internet service is to be established that allows for requesters to consult on the status using the tracking number provided within ten days of the request. [6]

The bill passed by a 308-117 vote.


Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  2. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  3. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  4. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  5. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  6. Robert McElroy, "Freedom Of Information Requests Process Clarified and Improved," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.

External resources

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