February 26, 2014
The House on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would make Freedom of Information requests easier with potentially faster response times.
H.R. 1211, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2014 was co-sponsored by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and puts into action an executive memorandum from President Barack Obama that calls on all agencies to have a “presumption of disclosure” to all FOIA decisions.
Perhaps most significantly for journalists, the bill would create a centralized online portal for FOIA requests under the Office of Management and Budget, and set up a group that will recommend future improvements to the FOIA process. Currently FOIA requests can be a complicated and complex process of going through different agencies and offices, who often take weeks or months to respond.