06.18.09

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Passage Of The OPEN FOIA Act

The Senate Wednesday night adopted the OPEN FOIA Act as part of S.1285.  The OPEN FOIA Act is co-authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). 

“I commend the Senate for unanimously passing the OPEN FOIA Act – a commonsense bill to promote more openness regarding statutory exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  For more than four decades, FOIA has served as perhaps the most important Federal law to protect the public's right to know.  The OPEN FOIA Act will help to ensure that FOIA remains a meaningful tool to help future generations of Americans access government information.

“This measure will make certain that when Congress provides for a statutory exemption to FOIA in new legislation, Congress states its intention to do so explicitly and clearly. The Freedom of Information Act is the cornerstone of our laws protecting the American people’s right to know what their government is doing.   New statutory exemptions to FOIA should always be carefully considered before they are enacted.  The OPEN FOIA Act will help to stop this practice and to shine more light on the process of creating legislative exemptions to FOIA.

“On July Fourth, our Nation will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act.  I can think of no greater tribute to this important milestone than for the Congress to reaffirm its longstanding and bipartisan commitment to FOIA by enacting this measure.  I urge the House of Representatives to promptly enact this open government legislation.”

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