FOIA Reform Bill Advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved S-337 to compel agencies to respond more quickly and openly to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The bill would establish a single website for making FOIA requests; direct agencies to make records available in an electronic format; reduce the number of exemptions agencies can use to withhold information from the public; clarify procedures for handling frequently requested documents and charging fees; establish a Chief FOIA Officers Council; and require agencies to prepare additional reports for the Congress on FOIA matters.

Presidential memoranda and Justice Department guidelines have directed agencies to provide more FOIA information to the public on a timely basis, but widespread dissatisfaction with delays and lack of openness continue. Continue>>>