Make Your Voice Heard on FOIA Reform; Support the FOIA Improvement Act Today
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), responding to both federal agencies refusal to embrace President Obama’s mandate to adopt a “presumption in favor of disclosure” and their continued misapplication of the b(5) FOIA exemption, have introduced the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014. The Act will make it easier for everyday Americans to use the FOIA to request and receive documents by fixing the b(5) “withhold it because you want to” FOIA exemption, cementing fairness into the fee system, and strengthening the FOIA ombuds office, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). Thanks to the much-needed fixes it introduces, the bill is supported by a broad coalition of open government advocates, including the National Security Archive.
But, for these important reforms to be felt, the FOIA Improvement Act needs the public’s vocal support! Even though the House has already passed a similar bill, it must pass several more hurdles before it can be written into law.
Check out the links below for further information on the bill, and then contact your Senators to encourage them to support it (you can even ask for a meeting during their August recess), write editorials and Letters to the Editor for your local paper, and help ensure the bill’s success.
- Section-by-section analysis of The FOIA Improvement Act, S. 2520
- Redline of FOIA as Amended by S. 2520
- Letter of Support for S. 2520 Signed by More Than 50 Groups
- Recent Abuses of the Predecisional Exemption
- Explanation of S.2520’s Exemption 5 Amendment
- Op-eds in Support of S. 2520
- Jones: Stop the FOIA runaround, Detroit News, Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Enquirer, Burlington [VT] Times News, Battle Creek [MI] Enquirer, Petersburg [VA] Progress-Index, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Bryan County [GA] News, Jacksonville [IL] Journal-Courier, Nacogdoches [TX] Daily Sentinel, Montgomery [AL] Advertiser, Bradford [VT] Journal Opinion, Deming [NM] Headlight, Price [UT] Sun Advocate, Casper [WY] Star-Tribune, York [PA] Dispatch, Orangeburg [SC] Times and Democrat, Phoenixville News
- Bennett: President Obama Can (and Should) Embrace the FOIA Improvements ActThe Hill
- Our View: Freedom of Information Act needs to be fixed.Glenn Falls [NY] Post-Star