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Update on Presidential Records Act

1)  ALA joins with other open government organizations urging Presidential candidates to support the Presidential Records Act Amendments bill (PDF).

2) Last week, the Bush administration decided not to appeal a federal district court judge’s decision that invalidated a crucial section of Executive Order (EO) 13233, which broadened the rights of Presidents and former-Presidents to withhold federal records from the public for indefinite periods of time.

On October 1, a federal judge struck down the section of the EO that allows a former President to indefinitely delay the release of their records.The lawsuit was brought by Public Citizen soon after the Executive Order was issued in 2001 on behalf of itself, the American Historical Association, the National Security Archive, and other organizations.

Legislation (H.R. 1255, PDF) to overturn EO 13233 overwhelmingly passed the House by a veto-proof margin of 333-93 in March. Its companion bill in the Senate passed through Committee; however, when the Democratic leadership sought to bring the bill to the floor on September 29, Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) objected to consideration of the bill, and it remains tied up in the Senate.

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

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