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New FOIA Bill Introduced

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas have introduced the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014.

FOIA's 48th birthday is July 4.

The new bill would require federal agencies to adopt a "presumption of openness" when FOIA requests are made, which means reducing the "overuse" of FOIA exemptions.

Also under the bill, the Office of Government Information Services, created in 2007 by the OPEN Government Act (another Leahy-Cornyn coproduction), would be employed to help mediate FOIA disputes.

In addition to the new bill and the OPEN Government Act, the pair also combined on the 2009 OPEN FOIA Act, which "requires Congress to clearly state its intentions when providing statutory exemptions to FOIA in new legislation" and in 2012, on Senate passage of the Faster FOIA Act, to curb FOIA backlogs and speed requests and granting of requests.

Click here of a summary of the new bill.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.