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]

SGI honors Miriam Nisbet for contributions to open government

Following are the remarks of Rick Blum presenting the Sunshine in Government Award to Miriam Nisbet at the Newseum Institute on October 31, 2014.   I am Rick Blum with the Sunshine in Government Initiative, and I would like to thank the Newseum Institute and OpenTheGovernment.org – Gene Policinski, Amy Bennett and Patrice McDermott — for today’s program and for allowing me a few moments right now. I promise to be brief. Members of our coalition felt strongly we couldn’t let Miriam retire without pausing to celebrate her contributions to open government, and it is a testament to her career [More]

Senate FOIA hearing leads off snowy Sunshine Week

Sunshine Week started with lots of snow here in the nation’s capital. With a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and FOI Day conference at the Newseum already behind us, there’s already been plenty of sunshine to this annual celebration of transparency. Dave Cullier, a professor and FOIA expert at the University of Arizona, gave excellent expert testimony on the current status of FOIA before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 11. If you watch Dave’s testimony, you’ll see why he’s been in demand. He’s making three trips out to DC for Sunshine Week-related activities.

#FOIAsurvey update re: FOIAonline

Our efforts to survey federal agencies (@sgichris, #FOIAsurvey) about FOIAonline are starting to bear fruit. We have put out feelers to most of the forty agencies and departments responsible for over 99% of FOIA requests each year, and we can identify some trends: There is definitely more interest. We had expected as much, since the FOIAonline portal offers distinct benefits for individual agencies and requesters, as well as members of each group in the aggregate, but it’s nice to have this recognized by additional agency FOIA personnel. There are plenty of existing contracts. Which is how things should be; we’re [More]