A Potentially Good House Bill

Ars Technica reports on some new changes to the Freedom of Information Act that could actually provide more transparency in the government.

In the case of denied FOIA requests, the bill would create an ombudsman’s office in an attempt to avoid litigation. When a denied request results in a lawsuit, HR 1309 would streamline the attorney’s fee recovery process when a court overrules a federal agency’s denial. Also, the Office of Special Counsel would gain the authority to take disciplinary action against officials who groundlessly deny requests.

Lastly, two measures that would improve access to government information are included in the bill. Government records held by private contractors would become subject to FOIA requests, a notable change to current law. Also, a broader selection of journalists would be eligible for reduced fees. In addition to considering the requester’s affiliation with print, broadcast, or Internet media, the agency would also consider the requester’s “stated intent… to distribute information to a reasonably broad audience.”

Follow this link for the full story.

Then maybe let your congressperson known that you support the bill.

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