"In a gloomy news week dominated by the slaughter of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. and its aftermath, it is understandable that Congressional approval of unrelated legislation easing access to government records has not garnered tons of public attention. But Monday’s House passage of the bipartisan Freedom of Information Improvement Act previously approved by the Senate (also by a unanimous vote) now sends to the White House a major FOIA reform bill and blast against Washington’s culture of unwarranted government secrecy. President Obama has said he’ll sign the measure — a fitting way to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation’s premier transparency law this July 4th. The bill’s foremost accomplishment is that it will embed in federal law a “presumption of openness,” making it clear that “sunshine, not secrecy, is the default setting of our government” and “government information belongs in the hands of the people,” as Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the Senate’s foremost Democratic champion of the legislation puts it... The idea is to make it harder for agency officials deny release of government information sought under the FOIA. The “presumption of openness” was first laid out as executive branch policy by President Bill Clinton, only to be reversed by his successor, President George W. Bush. President Obama reinstated it in 2009 as one of his first acts upon taking office, but his administration has been criticized for straying from the commitment to openness in practice, even lobbying against a similar version of the legislation that nearly passed both houses of Congress two years ago."
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know; Huffington Post, 6/17/16
Dorothy Samuels, Huffington Post; Progress Worth Noting: Congress Strengthens The Freedom Of Information Act And The Public’s Right To Know: