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Ask Your Senators to Support the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Urge for a Senate Vote Immediately!

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (S. 849), and to urge Majority Leader Harry Reid or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to support bringing the bill to the floor in early June. Unfortunately — and ironically, since this is an open government bill — there remains an anonymous hold on the bill preventing it from being scheduled. See Senator Leahy’s Press Release.

S. 849 is the result of the bipartisan efforts of Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and Committee Member John Cornyn, both sponsors of the bill. The OPEN Government Act has bipartisan support in the Senate, and the bill includes reforms to reduce backlogs, delays, and restrictions in responding to FOIA requests; provide incentives for agency compliance; and in general, strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, ensuring openness and accountability from federal agencies.

The House passed a companion bill, the Freedom of Information Act of 2007 (H.R. 1309), on March 15, by a substantial margin of 308 to 117.

ALA recently joined over 100 business, public interest, and historical associations to endorse S. 849 and urge the Senate leaders to schedule a vote. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations, recently urged support of S.849 (PDF).

The OPEN Government Act would demonstrate bipartisan Congressional leadership and would help to boost public confidence in government. Please urge your Senators to support this important legislation and to ensure the bill’s quick movement to the Senate floor for a vote.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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