FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2007
Rick Blum 703-807-2100
The Sunshine in Government Initiative (SGI) applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing legislation (H.R. 1309) to strengthen how federal agencies implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The strong bipartisan vote in the House (308-117) reaffirms the commitment of Congress to open government.
SGI applauds Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA), and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) for their hard work putting this package of reforms together. Congress last strengthened FOIA in 1996, and since then the law has become less and less effective as a tool for the public to use government records to become informed about government activities in our democracy.
While the House was voting on H.R. 1309, the Senate Judiciary Committee today heard stories of the public using FOIA to get information through FOIA that they otherwise could not. Lengthy delays and persistent backlogs hamper the publicâ€™s ability to make informed choices in their communities. SGI appreciates the efforts of Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) for sponsoring the legislation (S. 849) in the Senate to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
We applaud Congress — both the House and Senate — for acting to strengthen the public’s right to know. Significant reforms are long overdue. Open government is a nonpartisan issue. The legislation introduced today is bipartisan and builds on last year’s proposals. We look forward to see Congress continue to move on this legislation quickly.
The Sunshine in Government Initiative is a coalition of ten media groups promoting open and accountable government.
For more information about the legislation, go to www.sunshineingovernment.org.