Freedom of Information Act Legislation with Maloney Amendment Now Set to Become Law
WASHINGTON – Today, Congress passed S. 2488, The Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007 (OPEN ACT), legislation that attempts to reverse a decline in federal agencies' response time to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The bill, which is now headed to the President’s desk for his signature, includes language offered by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) during the bill’s consideration in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that provides a FOIA requester with more information about the exemption under which a deletion has been made from requested material.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), first passed in 1966, requires executive branch agencies to provide records to members of the public upon request. Nine categories of information are exempt from FOIA and are not required to be disclosed to the public. Although the law requires that agencies respond to a FOIA request within twenty days, backlogs and delays frequently occur with requesters not receiving the requested information for much longer periods of time.
“Requesters often wait months or years to find out the status of their requests or to obtain the information. As a result, the backlogs at agencies and departments continue to grow,” Maloney said. “This law will provide greater transparency and openness to the FOIA process.”