Obama signs FOIA reform bill into law

The FOIA reform bill, which aims for greater transparency, was signed into law by President Obama.
The FOIA reform bill, which aims for greater transparency, was signed into law by President Obama.

Just shy of the Freedom of Information Act's (FOIA) 50th birthday, President Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act into law Thursday.

The bipartisan bill, which got the nod from the House in mid-June, “codifies a statutory presumption of openness,” which places the burden on agencies to justify withholding information rather than on the requester to justify release, according to a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform press release.

The FOIA reform bill makes transparency and disclosure of information a part of everyday business, and directs the Office of Management (OPM) and Budget to establish a single access website to allow users to submit their requests and review the status rather than submitting requests to agencies individually. Among the reforms, agencies must make “disclosable records and documents available for public inspection in an electronic format” as well as those that have been frequently requested (three or more times). 

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