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Update on Open Government Legislation

Currently, the U.S. House and Senate have, in various stages, legislation to enhance and remove restrictions to important open government laws. Please check the Legislative Action Center periodically for information on how you can help.

The Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1309), introduced by Rep. Clay (D-MO), and the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (S. 849), introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Cornyn (R-TX), include reforms to FOIA to reduce backlogs and delays in responding to requests; provide incentives for agency compliance; and in general, strengthen FOIA.
— H.R. 1309 passed in March (308-117), and S.849 passed by unanimous consent in August. Negotiations on the two bills are underway. ALA is part of a coalition working on passage of this legislation.

The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1255), introduced by Rep. Waxman (D-CA), and the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (S. 886), introduced by Sen. Bingaman (D-NM), would revoke one of President Bush’s executive orders and other restrictions on access to presidential records.

— H.R. 1255 passed in March (333-93), and S. 866 is pending a full Senate vote.

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 985), introduced by Rep. Waxman (D-CA), and the Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act of 2007 (S. 274), introduced by Sen. Akaka (D-AK), would increase protection for federal whistleblowers who are instrumental in revealing information necessary for investigating and assuring oversight and public accountability.
— H.R. 985 passed (331-94) in March, and S. 274 is pending a full Senate vote.

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

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