RSVP Now for “OGIS at Five” – September 30, 2014 Newsletter

– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– OGIS: The Past Five Years and the Future(more)

News from Coalition Partners & Others

AALL Publishes White Paper on Access to Justice

The American Association of Law Libraries’ Access to Justice Special Committee published a new white paper that examines the role of law libraries supporting the access to justice movement. Access to justice includes the ability of the public to receive affordable legal services, access legal information forms, and more. The paper is available here.

Partners Fight for Information Under FOIA

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is seeking information under FOIA on several fronts. EPIC filed a new case regarding the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2012 e-voting security report. EPIC also obtained, through a long running FOIA case, a less redacted version of an Office of Legal Counsel memo on the warrantless wiretapping program.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) scored a victory in their lawsuit seeking confirmation of the Veterans Administration’s policy of encouraging under-diagnosis of PTSD to save money. Read more about the lawsuit here.

OGIS: The Past Five Years and the Future

On October 31st,, the Newseum Institute, and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) will host a half-day event examining OGIS’s successes and challenges in its first five years of operation. OGIS is tasked with mediating FOIA disputes and monitoring agency compliance with the law.

As you may know, the FOIA Improvement Act, currently set for mark-up in Senate Judiciary during the lame-duck session, would make significant changes to allow OGIS to meet its dual responsibilities. The bill would clarify OGIS’s ability to issue advisory opinions and allow the Office to report directly to Congress and the President. Assistant Director Amy Bennett noted in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March that Office of Management and Budget review of OGIS recommendations undercut OGIS’s ability improve agencies’ FOIA performance. Bennett also highlighted OGIS’s need for additional resources to promote and support the Office’s important work.

Panelists for the October 31st event, including OGIS staff and FOIA experts and practitioners, will address these changes and more. RSVP here.