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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Modernize FOIA

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Proposed legislation announced on Tuesday would “mandate a single online portal for all Freedom of Information Act requests across government,” according to an article in NextGov.

Modernizing FOIA requests has been a key part of the Project On Government Oversight’s open government reform agenda. Right now, there is a huge backlog of FOIA requests, which means the public has to wait months or even years to get their information. A single online portal would streamline the process and allow the government to more easily work through the backlog. Further reform is needed to address the growing number of national security exemptions used to keep information secret, but making a single online portal for FOIA requests would be a big step in the right direction.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings drafted the bill.

The bill would also strengthen existing FOIA policies, according to the article.

Issa’s and Cummings’ proposed legislation would also Beef [sic] up FOIA oversight, establish a council of agency chief FOIA officers and put the power of legislation behind a 2009 memorandum from Attorney General Eric Holder that required agencies to review FOIA requests with a “presumption of openness.”

The legislation would require agencies to post online any document that is requested more than three times through FOIA.

Read more at NextGov.

By: Andre Francisco
Former Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco At the time of publication, Andre Francisco was the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Government Secrecy

Authors: Andre Francisco

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