[GSDI Legal Econ] USA - Key Open Government Reform Legislation Becomes Law

Roger Longhorn ral at alum.mit.edu
Tue Jan 8 04:59:08 EST 2008


 From Electronic Frontier Foundation news:/

/In one of his last official acts of 2007, President Bush signed into 
law the first major overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 
more than a decade. The Open Government Act of 2007 
<http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN02488:> makes 
much-needed changes to the FOIA process that will give Americans better 
access to information about their government at work, such as:

    * Ensuring that freelance and alternative journalists are considered
      representatives of the media, making it less expensive for them to
      get information from the government.
    * Providing for attorney fees when a requester's lawsuit prompts an
      agency to change its position on a request, even if a court
      doesn't order it.
    * Creating a tracking system to help make sure that FOIA requests
      don't become hopelessly tangled in red tape.
    * Establishing the Office of Government Information Services, which
      will be tasked with helping to resolve conflicts between agencies
      and requesters.
    * Penalizing agencies that don't process FOIA requests on time.
    * *Making it clear that requesters can get government records
      maintained by private contractors, not just the agencies themselves.*
    * Imposing greater reporting requirements to let Congress and the
      public know more about how agencies handle requests.

The changes made by the OPEN Government Act are a hard-fought victory 
that will help EFF and other requesters make better use of the FOIA and 
keep the government accountable to the people.

See the text at:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:4:./temp/~c110r1fAAl::

<ends>

Roger Longhorn
ral at alum.mit.edu



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