Monday, July 23, 2007

Proposed Legislation Tries to Shed Light on FOIA Problems

Monday, July 23, 2007

An op-ed piece by David Carr in the July 23, 2007 New York Times reflects on the need for greater transparency in government activity, citing some government agencies that have Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that are more than 15 years old. The column asserts that the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in Our National Government Act of 2007, sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), would streamline the efficiency of FOIA by stiffening the penalties for agencies that fail to comply with the 20-day deadline on FOIA requests.

However, Senator John Kyl (R-Arizona) has expressed concerns over the security risks that he feels the bill poses in its present form. According to Kyl’s press secretary, Ryan Patmintra, the senator doesn’t dispute the need for greater FOIA efficiency, but “wants to make a good bill better” by suggesting improvements that would preserve the security of government operations.

Most everyone in the news industry agrees that something needs to be done soon. Paul J. Boyle, senior vice president of the Newspaper Association of America, says that the current FOIA system is “broken” and “needs to be repaired.” This bill, he says would put “real deadlines” behind already-existing statutes and give agencies an “incentive to comply.”

0 Responses to “Proposed Legislation Tries to Shed Light on FOIA Problems”

Post a Comment