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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

News of the FOIA deal...

The news is good, thus far....

A behind-the-scenes agreement reached Friday night clears the way for swift passage of a bill that strengthens the Freedom of Information Act for the first time in a decade.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, was placed on “the hot line,” a term used for a bundle of bills that are expected to pass without objection just before lawmakers depart for the August recess.

The measure had been held up by a “secret hold,” a parliamentary maneuver invoked by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., despite widespread support from conservative and liberal open-government groups.

Chief among Kyl’s concerns was a provision that eliminates exemptions for disclosing government records if an agency fails to meet the 20-day statutory deadline set in the law. He was concerned that the provision would inadvertently release sensitive information about national security. He also was concerned that the bill would cost the government too much because one provision would require federal agencies to pay for court fees when a requester wins a court fight over releasing records.


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