Policy and News Updates for July 29, 2008


In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Bills to Improve Flow of Information Government-wide Move Through House

II. Legislation to Increase Transparency and Openness of the Smithsonian Institution Introduced

III. House Subcommittee Schedules Hearing on Bill to Regulate the State Secrets Privilege

News from Coalition Partners & Others

National Coalition Against Censorship Announces Annual Film Contest

The National Coalition Against Censorship released deadlines and specifics for the Youth Free Expression NetworkMy Vote For Free Speech!

 

CREW Honors 30 Federal Whistleblowers

Citzen’s for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) released a report, Those Who Dared: 30 Officials Who Stood Up For Our Country. According to Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, the report will be updated online "as other individuals who exhibited the same level of integrity are identified."

 

Federation of American Scientists launches the Office of Technology Assessment Archive

The Federation of American Scientists has unveiled the Office of Technology Assessment Archive. OTA served as an independent branch of the U.S. Congress that provided nonpartisan science and technology advice from 1972 until it was defunded in 1995. The site allows the public to access over 720 reports and documents produced by OTA, including many that have not been available to the public previously.

 

Sunshine Week Open Government Letters Published Online

Sunshine Week and PublishaLetter.com – a new Web site that helps people submit letters to the editors of newspapers around the world – have partnered to give the public an opportunity to write letters in an online round-table about open government issues.

 

I. Bills to Improve Flow of Information Government-wide Move Through House

On Wednesday, July 23rd, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), and the Committee’s Ranking Member, Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced HR 6576, the Reducing Information Control Designations Act and HR 6575, the Over-Classification Reduction Act . Both bills would empower the head of the National Archives to draft regulations to control use of classification or control markings, encourage federal employees to challenge overly restrictive actions and provide penalties for government officials or contractors who over-use the control measures. The measures were approved by the full committee at a business meeting later the same day. HR 6576, the Reducing Information Control Designations Act is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday, July 29th.

 

II. Legislation to Increase Transparency and Openness of the Smithsonian Institution Introduced

Senator Charles Grassley has introduced S.3276, a bill to make the Smithsonian Institution subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), parts of the Privacy Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

OpenTheGovernment.org’s Director, Patrice McDermott, was quoted in a Washington Post article on the issue.

 

III. House Subcommittee Schedules Hearing on Bill to Regulate the State Secrets Privilege

On Thursday, July 31st at 12:30 pm the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on the "State Secrets Protection Act of 2008." A similar bill, S. 2533, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year.

Our upcoming Secrecy Report Card, a full accounting of government secrecy indicators produced annually by OpenTheGovernment.org, will analyze the use of the state secrets privilege over the last decade.

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