Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Open Government Act Revitalizes FOIA

Good news for fans of a more transparent government (AP). For once the legislative branch of the United States does something right. Highlights: 1. "Presumption of disclosure" restored. Agencies should release information by default unless there is a reason not to. 2. It passed unanimously and with a large number of sponsors from both sides of the aisle (more likely to be veto-proof). 3. Twenty day deadline or the agency has to pay for the search and duplication fees - likely to lead to much faster turnaround time. 4. As mentioned in the AP story, this also works for government records held by third party contractors. I am proud but moderately surprised to see John Kyl (AZ) as one of the sponsors. I was pretty sure there would never be anything I would agree with him on. For once I can send him a note of actual support:
I'd like to express how happy I am with the Senator's support of the new Freedom of Information Act legislation he is sponsoring. A great republic such as ours requires accountability in its people and its government, and it sounds as if this will make it easier to assure such for the latter. Thank you.
What needs to happen now is the enforcement of current laws limiting the power of the executive specifically, rather than passing laws that justify the lawbreaking done by that branch. This is a good, though small, step away from the direction the country has been headed for six years.

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