OPEN Government Act of 2007

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The OPEN Government Act of 2007 (S.849) —the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in Our National Government Act of 2007[1]—was introduced March 13, 2007, in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.).[2]

Contents

About S.849


Purpose

The Act is intended "To promote accessibility, accountability, openness in Government by strengthening section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), and for other purposes." The Act is also referred to as the Freedom of Information Reform Act of 2007.[3]

"The bill contains more than a dozen substantive provisions designed to achieve the following four objectives:[4] (as stated)

  1. Strengthen FOIA and close loopholes
  2. Help FOIA requestors obtain timely responses to their requests
  3. Ensure that agencies have strong incentives to act on FOIA requests in a timely fashion
  4. Provide FOIA officials with all of the tools they need to ensure that our government remains open and accessible
Main article: U.S. congressional efforts to amend the Freedom of Information Act

Status: "secret hold"

In March 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar Act (H.R.1326: OPEN Government Act of 2007[5]).

On April 12, 2007, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary "unanimously passed" the Act and "sent the measure forward to the full Senate for a vote".[6] On April 30, 2007, the bill was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar (No. 127) under General Orders.[7]

However, "a senator or senators" placed the bill on "a secret hold"[8], in effect blocking the bill from reaching the Senate floor for a May 24, 2007, vote.[9]

On May 31, 2007, Sen. Kyl "revealed his identity ... days after the bill's backers launched an e-mail and telephone campaig