[govinfo] FW: OPEN Gov't Act / FOIA reform gets another vote, this time in House

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Steering Committee" <opengovsteer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 20:28:13 -0400

Patrice McDermott, Director
1742 Connecticut Ave NW, 3rd floor
Washington, DC 20009
202.332.OPEN (6736)

  From: Rick Blum [mailto:rblum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
To: FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 14:58:26 -0400
Subject: FW: MEDIA ADVISORY: OPEN Gov't Act / FOIA reform gets another vote, 
this time in House

Sorry for cross-posts.    
Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) has scheduled a vote on the OPEN Government Act in his 
subcommittee for tomorrow (Sep. 27) at 2pm in 2247 Rayburn House Office 
Building.  While FOIA reform is unlikely to pass this Congress, this move gives 
extra momentum to FOIA reform going into next year.  
Rick Blum  
Coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative  

  From: Rick Blum [mailto:rblum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, September 26, 2006 2:34 PM
To: 'rblum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'
Subject: MEDIA ADVISORY: OPEN Gov't Act / FOIA reform gets another vote, this 
time in House



For immediate release   

September 26, 2006  


Contact:  Rick Blum, coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative  

703-807-2100 or rblum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  


FOIA Reform Bill Up for Key House Vote:  

Momentum builds to promote open government  


A key House subcommittee has scheduled a vote tomorrow on the OPEN Government 
Act (H.R. 867), which would fix longstanding obstacles the public faces 
accessing government documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  


What:  Subcommittee vote on the OPEN Government Act (H.R. 867)  


Where:  House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance 
& Accountability  


When:  Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 2pm  


When:  Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2247  


Who:  The Subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) and the bill is 
sponsored in the House by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and has 31 House co-sponsors. 
 The OPEN Government Act has also been pushed on a bipartisan basis in the 
House by Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).    


The scheduled vote comes less than a week after the Senate Judiciary Committee 
approved the identical Senate version (S. 394) of the OPEN Government Act.  The 
attention Congress is giving this bill in both chambers reflects the urgency 
members of Congress feel about removing unnecessary obstacles the public faces 
getting government records and reforming the FOIA process.  On July 26, 
Chairman Platts held a hearing to review the Freedom of Information Act, which 
signed into law 40 years ago on July 4, 1966.  That hearing was Rep. Platts' 
second hearing focused on FOIA in as many years.  The hearings documented that 
FOIA has been a less reliable, less timely and less effective tool for the 



Among the specific reforms, the bill (1) helps FOIA requesters obtain timely 
responses to their requests by restoring meaningful deadlines for agency 
action, (2) requires agencies to create FOIA hotlines and request tracking 
systems to help the public follow up on requests, (3) creates an independent 
mediator to help resolve disputes and encourage alternatives to litigation, (4) 
makes it easier for requesters to recover attorney fees when litigation is 
unavoidable, and (5) penalizes agencies for delaying responses.   



The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of media groups committed 
to promoting policies that ensure the government is accessible, accountable and 
open. Public oversight is the ultimate safeguard of democracy. It is the 
inalienable right of citizens to examine and judge their government; and that 
right is served when news media act on behalf of the public to gain access to 




SGI Members:   


American Society of Newspaper Editors   

The Associated Press   

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies   

Coalition of Journalists for Open Government   

National Newspaper Association   

Newspaper Association of America   

Radio-Television News Directors Association  

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press   

Society of Professional Journalists  


Rick Blum
Coordinator, Sunshine in Government Initiative
1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone 703-807-2100
Fax 703-807-2109

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