Open Gov Community Responds to FOIA Bill Committee Passage

See a round-up of our partners' statements about the FOIA Improvement Act below. OpenTheGovernment.org's statement is available here.

American Society of News Editors

The American Society of News Editors applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S 2520, the FOIA Improvements Act of 2014, by voice vote this morning. ASNE has supported this bill since its introduction earlier this year and hopes that the entire Senate will move quickly to pass this legislation.

“The federal Freedom of Information Act has long needed a tune up to ensure the law continues to serve the public’s interest and provides individual citizens and the press a means for overseeing the affairs of their government,” said ASNE President Chris Peck of The Riverton (Wyo.) Ranger. “This bill will fix some very important problems that have become evident in recent years. We are especially happy to see additional support given to the Office of Government Information Services and welcome a centralized FOIA ‘portal,’ both of which make it easier for those outside the corridors of power to participate in government.”

As the nation’s largest trade association for editors of daily news outlets, ASNE’s core mission includes promoting the First Amendment and newsgathering rights of reporters and editors. That is why ASNE welcomes this step forward for S 2520 and applauds the leadership shown by the bill’s original co-sponsors, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Minority Member of the Judiciary Committee. ASNE invites its members to thank senators on the Judiciary Committee who passed S 2520 and to reach out to their senators to request a floor vote on S 2520 as soon as possible.

Cause of Action

“The FOIA Improvement Act sets limits on the ability of agencies to stonewall requesters, which is why the Senate Judiciary’s approval is a move in the right direction for all who have an interest in a more transparent federal government,” said Dan Epstein, Executive Director of Cause of Action. “As a watchdog group working on behalf of taxpayers, we support steps to establish greater accountability for agencies that currently hinder government transparency through FOIA.”

Public Citizen

"Public Citizen applauds the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for its passage of S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the nation’s landmark right-to-know law and S. 2520 makes important improvements that will allow groups like ours—fighting for the common good—to gain the information needed to better hold our nation’s leaders accountable and ensure the rights of citizens are being upheld."

Project On Government Oversight

"We are very excited by the swift passage of the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act out of the Judiciary Committee and hope to see it pass the full Senate before the end of this session. This bill is the result of substantial collaboration between Congress and civil society organizations and includes changes that are imperative to make sure the FOIA works as it was intended."

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