Government Classification Reform
April 23, 2013
The ALA participated in a letter (pdf) to President Obama urging him "to promptly establish and provide active White House leadership for a Security Classification Reform Steering Committee to help correct what you have called “the problem of overclassification.”"
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reform
H.R. 1211: the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2014 (introduced 3/15/13)
S. 2520: FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 (introduced 6/24/14)
December 8, 2014
S. 2520 passed the Senate with an amendment by unanimous consent and was sent to the House.
November 20, 2014
November 19, 2014
October 23, 2014
ALA joined with open government advocates in a letter (pdf) to President Obama regarding his FOIA agenda; identifying six core components that should be legislatively mandated.
June 26, 2014
The ALA expressed our appreciation of the introduction of S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 in a letter (pdf) with over forty organizations to Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Cornyn (R-TX).
June 24, 2014
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
February 26, 2014
H.R. 1211 was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
February 25, 2014
H.R. 1211, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2014 passed the House with a 410-0 vote under suspension of the rules.
February 24, 2014
The ALA united with 26 other organizations in a letter (pdf) to members of the House of Representatives urging them to vote for the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2014. H.R. 1211 is a bipartisan bill that would “amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to promote greater government transparency and accountability”.
April 30, 2013
The ALA joined with like minded groups to write a letter (pdf) “to thank [Melanie Pustay, Office of Information Policy (OIP), U.S. Department of Justice] for providing data on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases in an open, machine-readable format as part of the 2012 FOIA Litigation and Compliance Report.”
March 15, 2013
Chairman Issa (R-CA) introduced H.R. 1211, Freedom of Information Act with two co-sponsors, Reps. Elijah Cummings ([D-MD) and Mike Quigley (D-IL).
February 19, 2013
The following letters were sent:
- The first letter was sent to Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings of the US House of Representatives, House Oversight and Government Reform to thank them for their letter to the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy. "We greatly appreciate the breadth and detail of your requests for information from OIP. As you know, outdated FOIA regulations, excessive fee assessments, growing FOIA backlogs, and the misuse of exemptions are issues that continually frustrate FOIA requesters and are major concerns for many in the transparency community."
- The second letter was sent to President Obama asking him "to bring renewed attention to issues that continue to plague government-wide implementation, compliance, and enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)."
Action during the 112th Congress
The Faster FOIA Act of 2011 (S. 1466) sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Tester (D-MT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) passed the Senate by unanimous consent on August 1, 2011. Rep. Brad Sherman (CA-27) introduced the companion bill, H.R. 1564, in the House on April 14, 2011. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform.
Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would establish a commission that would be required to make recommendations to Congress and the President for reducing impediments to the processing of FOIA requests. While backlogs have presented a longstanding problem in agency implementation of the FOIA, the conditions and practices that create those backlogs are somewhat enigmatic. By conducting a thorough study of the root causes of FOIA processing delays and developing concrete recommendations, the commission will help agencies successfully implement President Obama's directive to reduce the significant backlogs of outstanding FOIA requests.
ALA’s Position: The ALA supports passage of the Faster FOIA Act of 2011. Public access to information by and about the government is a basic tenet of a democratic society. The Faster FOIA Act of 2011 would help to make more government information available to the public.
Access to Government Information
H.R. 1233: The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2013
November 26, 2014
H.R.1233 was signed by the President and became Public Law No: 113-187.
September 10, 2014
H.R. 1233 passed the Senate with amendments.
February 10, 2014
The ALA joined with interested organizations in a letter (pdf) to Director John. P. Holdren, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President “in response to the White House’s plan to perform a comprehensive review of Big Data and The Future of Privacy, -- request the OSTP solicit public comments so as to encourage meaningful public participation in the development of this important policy”.
January 22, 2014
The ALA sent a letter (pdf) to General Clapper, Office of the Director of National Intelligence to "respectfully requests that you reconsider the decision to discontinue distribution of the Open Source Center’s translations of foreign news media". The ALA also comments that "discontinuing the World News Connection (WNC) when the Obama administration is calling for increased declassification and transparency in foreign surveillance activities is counterintuitive at best".
This letter has also been shared with the Senate and House Select Committee on Intelligence.
January 14, 2014
H.R. 1233 passed the House and was sent to the Senate.
The ALA joined with like-minded organizations in a letter (pdf) to Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings of the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding H.R. 1233, the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2013.
“H.R. 1233 imposes a time limit in which a former president must assert any claim of privilege upon a determination of the Archivist to make available to the public a record of that former president. The bill also establishes processes for managing the disclosure of records upon the assertion of privilege by a former president, and grants to the incumbent president the power to decide whether or not to uphold any privilege claim of a former president, absent a court order to the contrary.”
March 12, 2013
The ALA joined with like-minded groups to send a letter (pdf) to the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration, asking for their support of the H.R. 1380, Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, introduced by Representative Mike Quigley.
ALA Council Resolutions
Protection, 2004 (pdf)
Action during the 112th Congress
- The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (S. 743) – Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced the bill on April 6, 2011 and on May 8, 2012 the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent. The companion bill in the House, H.R. 3289 was introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on November 1, 2011 and on September 28, 2012 the bill passed the House with an amendment. The Senate unanimously voted on November 13th to accept the bill with the House amendment and on November 16th the bill was sent to the President. The bill became Public Law No: 112-199 on November 27th after being signed by the President. This act will expand the scope of whistleblower protections in the federal government, including providing whistleblower rights to employees of the Transportation Security Administration.
- Non-Federal Employee Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011 (S. 241) – Introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on January 31, 2011. This bill would provide whistleblower protections for government contractors who provide information involving federal funds. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight.
- Congressional Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011 (S. 586) – Sen. Charles Grassley (R- IA) introduced S. 586 on March 15, 2011. This bill would apply whistleblower rights to congressional employees. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
ALA’s Position: The ALA supports passage of whistleblower legislation to ensure the American public's Right to Know – which promotes government accountability and fosters public participation; a long standing value of both libraries and librarians.
Less Access to Less Information by and about the U.S. Government by the ALA Washington Office
Government Information Web page Archive
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