Friday, July 1, 2016

President Obama Signs FOIA Reform Bill into Law on 50th Anniversary; Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 6/30/16

Luis Ferre Sadurni, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; President Obama Signs FOIA Reform Bill into Law on 50th Anniversary:
"President Barack Obama today signed a bill that significantly reforms and improves access to public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The signing marked the culmination of open government advocates' battle to reform part of FOIA ahead of the law's 50th anniversary on July 4th.
One of the most notable provisions is the law's mandate for agencies to operate from a presumption of openness, ensuring that information is withheld only under one of FOIA's nine exemptions. The bill codifies Obama's 2009 memorandum sent on his first day in office — which ordered federal departments to operate under this presumption.
The law also paves the way for the creation of a single online portal to accept FOIA requests for any agency, similar to FOIAonline, already in use by 12 agencies and offices. The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) will also be strengthened with the reforms, permitting it to make recommendations for improving FOIA without necessarily seeking input from other agencies.
A White House fact sheet provides more details about the law and announced new members of the FOIA Advisory Committee."

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