Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reform

FOIA Improvement Act of 2016: Public Law No 114-185

This law codifies the “presumption of openness” for government documents for future administrations; harnesses technology to improve the FOIA process; limits, to a period of 25 years, the period of time that agencies may keep records of their internal deliberations confidential; and Increases the effectiveness of the FOIA by strengthening the Office of Government Information Services (created in the last FOIA reform bill, the OPEN Government Act of 2007).

H.R.653: FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015 (Introduced 2/2/15)

S.337: FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (Introduced 2/2/15)

A detailed comparison of these bills was completed by the National Security Archives.

June 30, 2016

Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 114-185. (TXT | PDF)

  • President Obama signed the bill into law just days before FOIA's 50th anniversary on July 4th.

June 22, 2016

Presented to the President

June 13, 2016

Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote. (text: CR H3714-3716)

March 15, 2016

Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

February 27, 2015

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s  Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing, “Ensuring Government Transparency Through FOIA Reform” on February 27th.  ALA joined with 9 other organizations to submit testimony that proposed an amendment to the House FOIA Reform bill that would allow all FOIA processors access to all electronic records systems for the processing of FOIA requests.

February 5, 2015

The ALA joined with 46 other like-minded groups to send a letter of support for the two FOIA bills to Senators Cornyn and Leahy and Representatives Issa and Cummings.

The Senate Judiciary approved S. 337.

February 2, 2015

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Ca) introduced H.R. 653 and Elijah Cummings (D-Md) and Mike Quigley (D-IL) cosponsored the bill. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) introduced S. 337 and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Charles Grasssley (R-Ia), the ranking member and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee cosponsored the bill. S. 337 was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.