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Weigh in on the FOIA Improvement Act

The public’s right to know is at the heart of the United States’ founding, enabling public debate and informed dissent. The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reflects this tenet by giving any member of the public the ability to ask for a copy of a government record, and giving them the ability to ask a Court to intervene if the government refuses to comply with the law.

 

Agencies Begin to Publish Open Gov Plans 3.0

According to updated guidance the Administration issued on agency open government plans, agencies were supposed to publish updated plans to make themselves more open, participatory and collaborative. To help the open government community keep track of which agencies have posted plans and make it easy to see what kind of activities agencies intend to engage in over the next two years, OpenTheGovernment.org created the below spreadsheet.

Testimony: Controlled Unclassified Information

On May 29th, 2014 Executive Director Patrice McDermott testified before the Subcommittee on Government Operations of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Her testimony addressed the growing use of the unclassified designation of information in executive branch departments and agencies.

Open Government Working Group Meeting Recap: May 14, 2014

Members of civil society are invited to attend meetings of the interagency open government working group on a quarterly basis. Our notes on the content of the meeting are below. 

Open Data Bill Sent to President’s Desk

On Monday, April 28th, the House of Representatives passed the DATA Act. The Senate passed the same version of the bill earlier this month. The act, if signed into law, will create uniform standards for federal spending data and allow the government and public to more easily track spending across government.

Senate Passes the DATA Act

On April 10th, the Senate passed a bill that will establish uniform federal standards for publishing government spending data. The Data Act ensures that spending information will be available as open, machine readable data. The House passed a similar bill late last year, and is expected to approve the Senate’s version.

A Step Forward for Legislative Data

By the start of the next Congress, greater opportunities will exist for the public to have better access to information about the legislative process thanks to language included in a House Appropriations bill. The language, championed by Representative Quigley, directs the Clerk to work with the Librarian of Congress and Public Printer to publish bill status information in a way that computers can easily process, making it easily reusable by apps and websites.

Opening Doors at the Department of Justice

On April 8 OpenTheGovernment.org and a number of our partners sat down with Tony West, the Associate Attorney General (the number three person at the Department of Justice DOJ),  to discuss areas where we believe DOJ could take significant steps to make the department more open and accountable. 

OTG at 10: Discussing the Coalition's Founding and Future at the Newseum

The Freedom of Information Day celebration kicked off with a discussion about OpenTheGovernment.org's founding, achievements, and future. Watch the video of the panel below. 

Join the New Federal Open Government Discussion Group

The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently launched a new Federal Open Government Discussion Group to create space for open government advocates from inside and outside the government to collaborate on issues. The group is open to anyone and intended to support on-going discussions about U.S. Federal open government efforts, including the Open Government Partnership, Federal agency Open Government Plans, the Freedom of Information Act, and other related issues. The list is co-moderated by OSTP and OpenTheGovernment.org. To join, visit the group page and request to be added.

The Classified Section

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

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