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Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Bills Propose Changes to FOIA


The recent controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account during her tenure as Secretary of State is the latest in a series of high-profile stories that have focused attention on the issue of government transparency. The United States Congress is currently considering two bills (S. 337 and H.R. 653) that would have a significant effect in this area. Both of these bills propose changes to a number of provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the interest of greater public access to government information. FOIA was enacted in 1966 and created a presumptive right of public access to government documents, with limited exceptions. The law was last amended in 2009. For those interested in learning more about the proposed legislation, a recent report of the Congressional Research Service provides background information and a side-by-side analysis of the two bills.    
 

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