U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Establish FOI Commission

27 May 2011

The U.S. Senate May 26 passed a bill (S. 627) to establish a Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays. 

The “Faster FOIA Act of 2011” would mandate that the commission:

– identify methods that will help reduce delays in processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to federal agencies:

– ensure the efficient and equitable administration of FOIA throughout the federal government;

– examine whether the system for charging fees for such requests and granting waivers of such fees needs to be reformed;

– determine why the government’s use of FOIA exemptions increased during FY2009, whether the increase contributed to delays, what efforts were made by federal agencies to comply with President Obama’s January 21, 2009 Presidential Memorandum on Freedom of Information Act Requests, and whether those efforts were successful; and

–  make recommendations on how the use of exemptions may be limited.

While the bill passed without objection in the Senate, no parallel bill has been offered in the House of Representatives.

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