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Tell Senate to act on passing FOIA reform bill

 
The passing of the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015 (HR 653) by the House of Representatives on Jan. 11 represents a major step forward toward some much needed reform of the federal Freedom of Information Act. However, the time for celebration is premature as there is still work to be done. In 2014, similar legislation passed both the House and Senate, but because they differed from each other, time ran out before one bill could be presented to the president for signature. We don't want that to happen again, and you can make sure it doesn't.
 
The passing of the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015 (HR 653) by the House of Representatives on Jan. 11 represents a major step forward toward some much needed reform of the federal Freedom of Information Act. However, the time for celebration is premature as there is still work to be done. In 2014, similar legislation passed both the House and Senate, but because they differed from each other, time ran out before one bill could be presented to the president for signature. We don't want that to happen again, and you can make sure it doesn't.
 
This press release from the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a nine-member coalition of media organizations, including ASNE, expresses our satisfaction with the House vote and thanks the bill's sponsors, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), as well as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) for their work. 

As SGI Director Rick Blum notes, the vote "shows that Congress can find common ground to make government more transparent and accountable." However, as the SGI's recently updated "Fix FOIA by 50" (the name refers to the upcoming 50th birthday of the federal FOIA on July 4) clearinghouse page shows, there is an urgent need to pass a bill and a lot of work to reach that goal. You can find background material regarding the House and Senate FOIA bills and the importance of the federal FOIA, both nationally and locally, on the SGI website, including everything you will need as you call on your senator to demand that this legislation be brought to the Senate floor and passed sooner rather than later. Remember, Sunshine Week 2016 is coming up soon (March 13-19) and provides an excellent opportunity to put this front and center before your readers and your senators.
 
You can contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at goldberg@fhhlaw.com or 703-812-0462 if you have any questions about the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2015. 

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