CRAWFORD, Texas -on Monday signed a bill aimed at giving the public and the media greater access to information about what the government is doing. The new law toughens the , the first such makeover to the signature public-access law in a decade. It amounts to a congressional pushback against the Bush administration's movement to greater secrecy since the terrorist attacks of 2001.
The legislation creates a system for the media and public to track the status of their FOIA requests. It establishes a hot line service for all federal agencies to deal with problems and an ombudsman to provide an alternative to litigation in disclosure disputes.
The law also restores a presumption of a standard that orders government agencies to release information on request unless there is a finding that disclosure could do harm.
Agencies would be required to meet a 20-day deadline for responding to FOIA requests. Nonproprietary information held by government contractors also would be subject to the law.
More here, including one error: the final version of the bill did NOT reverse the Ashcroft memo...