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U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill Claims to Facilitate ‘Better Public Access’ to Gov’t Records

21st Century Wire says..

We’ll believe it… when, and if we are even allowed to see it (redacted)…


Mary Clare Jalonick
AP/All Gov

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Tuesday backed legislation to make it easier for Americans to obtain government records.

The bipartisan bill, passed by voice vote, would require federal agencies to consider the release of government information under “a presumption of openness” as opposed to a presumption that the information is secret.

The legislation aims to reduce the amount of exemptions the government uses to withhold information and would create a single portal through which individuals can submit a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request. Currently, FOIA requests are handled by each separate agency, each with its own rules about how to submit a request.

“Today’s vote sends a clear message that the American people have a fundamental right to know what their government is doing,” Cornyn said.

(…) “We cannot leave it to the next president to decide how open the government should be,” Leahy said. “We have to hold all presidents and their administrations accountable to the highest standard.”

Republicans in Congress have complained that the Obama administration hasn’t been fully transparent in sharing records with lawmakers and the public, while the White House has criticized Congress for exempting itself from the requirements. FOIA does not apply to Congress.

The House passed a similar bill in January. Because the two bills are not identical, the House will have to act again to send the legislation to President Barack Obama. Maryland Rep. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, urged Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to promptly pass the Senate bill, saying FOIA reform is long overdue…

Continue this story at All Gov

READ MORE FOIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire FOIA Files



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