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Openness groups submit comments on OMB’s “Circular A-130” guidance

Today, Association of Research Libraries, Government Accountability Project, and American Association of Law Libraries submitted comments on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s revisions to the governing document establishing policies for the management of federal information resources. We were joined by 7 other organizations in our coalition.

Openness groups call for DHS FOIA provisions to enshrine the “presumption of openness”

Open government and accountability organizations submitted comments yesterday on the proposal to amend the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The letter expresses concerns that certain provisions of the proposed regulations could hinder the FOIA process, and provides recommendations on how the new provisions can go further to ensure greater access to public interest information.

International Right to Know Day 2015: calls for legislative reforms and Executive actions to improve FOIA

In recognition of International Right to Know Day, calls on the Obama Administration to adopt meaningful commitments and support legislative reforms that would significantly improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

New OGIS Report Highlights Need for FOIA Reform; Observes “lack of knowledge” about FOIA Guidelines

In its second National Action Plan (NAP) for the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the White House committed to standardizing FOIA practices across federal agencies, improving agency FOIA processes by reducing backlogs and promoting proactive disclosure, and increasing FOIA trainings across the government. A new report from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), made public on Friday, shows that the Administration’s commitments thus far have not led to significant FOIA improvements in poor-performing agencies, and illustrates the need for the government to adopt more ambitious commitments on FOIA in its forthcoming third Plan.

Sunshine Week’s Transparency Legislation; CISA Threats Move Forward

This Sunshine Week, members of Congress stepped up to introduce legislation to increase openness and accountability in all branches of the federal government. Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley introduced legislation to require the Supreme Court’s open proceedings to be televised. Similar legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2012 and 2010. Rep. Gerard Connolly introduced identical legislation (HR 94) in February.

Tell Congress to #ReformFOIA

Two Freedom of Information Act reform bills are pending in Congress this Sunshine Week. Both pieces of legislation take steps to address the challenges facing the public's most important open government tool. Use the Sunlight Foundation's tool and call or Tweet your members of Congress and urge them to support FOIA reform.

FOIA Under the Microscope: Center for Effective Government, National Security Archive, and Cause of Action Release Reports

Sunshine Week is a perfect time to reflect on the current state of the Freedom of Information Act. Three coalition partners issued reports that examine FOIA’s implementation.

Supreme Court Has a Responsibility to Open Up

Describing the US Federal Courts’ approach to technology, Chief Justice John G. Roberts invoked the Supreme Court building’s engraving that illustrates the fable of the tortoise and the hare. In the 2014 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary, Roberts defended the judiciary’s slow adoption of modern technology, citing funding, cybersecurity concerns, and equality of access. “Unlike commercial enterprises,” Roberts notes, “the courts cannot decide to serve only the most technically-capable or well-equipped segments of the public.” It’s a worthy but bewildering concern from a court that restricts access to its history-making arguments to approximately 50 members of public.

FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting: January 27, 2015

In December 2013, the White House committed to establish a FOIA Modernization Advisory committee in its second open government National Action Plan. The committee includes FOIA experts from inside and outside government and includes subcommittees examining proactive disclosure, FOIA fees and fee categories, and oversight. The committee holds regular public meetings. On January 27th, each subcommittee reported on its activities and future plans.

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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