FOIA Reform Bill Gets Senate Hearing

march 2, 2007  10:41 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a March 14 hearing to discuss a new bill from Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would put teeth into the Freedom of Information Act, Cox Newspapers reports. The bill seeks to end chronic FOIA delays, like those reported in a new study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, which found that the federal government's performance was at its lowest point since agencies first began reporting in 1998. The bill would allow requesters to recover attorney fees if they are forced to go to court and would create an ombudsman to oversee FOIA disputes. Witnesses at the upcoming hearing include Tom Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press, representing the Sunshine in Government Initiative. A subcommittee in the House of Representatives held a hearing on FOIA reform two weeks ago.