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FOIA is heating up!

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.

Photo by Craig Kohtz via Flickr
Photo by Craig Kohtz via Flickr

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!

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Jessica McGilvray

Jessica McGilvray is a former member of the Washington Office government relations team.

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  1. […] It’s taken just over a year for the Senate to vote on S. 337, the FOIA Improvement Act, but its unanimous approval yesterday is a wonderful way to celebrate Sunshine Week 2016! ALA and many other advocates’ attention will now be focused on clearing the final hurdles to marking FOIA’s 50th anniversary (fittingly on July 4th) with a White House signing ceremony. […]

  2. […] When the Senate bill was first introduced on February 2, 2015, at the start of this Congress, we were hopeful that FOIA reform would progress swiftly.  While that was not quite the case (the Senate bill passed on March 15th of this year and the House adopted its version on May 13th), Congress still successfully reconciled the two bills and sent the version just signed into law by the President on June 22nd. […]

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