FOIA: The Ombudsman Needs to Grow

When Congress improved FOIA last year, it built in some growing pains for the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). Today, we’re seeing those pains in longer than usual waits for replies from OGIS. The office has reportedly been inundated with requests for assistance as FOIA requesters navigate FOIA. In response, they’ve had to triage the Office’s response to help requests. OGIS was never intended to add another level of waiting to the FOIA process, but FOIA reformers in Congress knew growing pains were inevitable. To fulfill its mission, OGIS will have to become bigger than its current size to [More]

PRESS RELEASE: Media coalition celebrates President Obama signing of FOIA reforms into law as FOIA turns 50 on July 4

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 30, 2016 [Link to PDF version]   Media coalition celebrates President Obama signing of FOIA reforms into law as FOIA turns 50 on July 4  President Barack Obama’s signature on the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 marks a high point in the half century history of the federal Freedom of Information Act. “We are pleased to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the original Freedom of Information Act with a stronger FOIA,” said Rick Blum, director of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media associations that has strongly supported efforts [More]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Coalition Applauds House Approval of FOIA Reforms

PRESS RELEASE                                                               Media coalition applauds House approval of FOIA reforms: House unanimous vote sends FOIA reforms to President’s desk ahead of FOIA’s 50th anniversary on July 4 The media associations in the Sunshine in Government Initiative applaud today’s House vote to approve the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (S. 337). After years of work on this bipartisan, bicameral set of reforms to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), members [More]

MEDIA ADVISORY: House to vote today on FOIA reforms

FOIA Improvement Bill Scheduled for House Vote Today House vote today could send FOIA reforms to president’s desk before FOIA’s 50th anniversary on July 4 [Media Advisory [pdf]] The U.S. House is scheduled to vote today on S. 337 (pdf), the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. If approved, bipartisan reforms to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would go to the President’s desk for signature just days before transparency advocates celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the original FOIA into law on July 4, 1966. The FOIA reforms the House will vote on are a high-water [More]

PRESS RELEASE: Media coalition asks every Senator to support FOIA reform ahead of 2016 Sunshine Week

A coalition of media groups today urged every U.S. Senator to support legislation that establishes a presumption of openness in law, encourages agencies to use public-friendly technology, and makes other changes to the way agencies respond to requests for information from the public. The Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI) sent a letter to every senator encouraging support for legislation that would improve the way federal agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. “These changes would help ensure the government discloses information the way Congress intended a half century ago when Congress enacted the original Freedom of Information Act,” [More]