On Monday of this week, legislators introduced two bipartisan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) bills in both the U.S. House (H.R. 653) and the U.S. Senate (S.337). Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced H.R. 653, with Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) cosponsoring. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Action in the Senate was slightly more interesting; not only did Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) introduce S. 337 with Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Charles Grasssley (R-LA)—the ranking member and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee cosponsoring—but the Senate Judiciary Committee today passed the bill out of committee!
Earlier today, ALA joined with forty-six other groups to state our support for these bills (pdf) and to thank these men for introducing them. As the letter states, “Public oversight is critical to ensuring accountability, and the reforms embodied in both the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (H.R. 653), introduced by Representatives Issa and Cummings, and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2015 (S.337), introduced by Senators Cornyn and Leahy, are necessary to enable that oversight.”
It’s exciting to have this legislation be introduced and move so early in the 114th Congress and we will keep you informed as things move forward!