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Transparency In Government Act 2008 (Revised)

10 section comments

Title VII - Strengthening FOIA

Sec. 701. Digital access to completed FOIA responses.

  1. Each agencyis required to make available all materialscontained inthe agency's completed response to a FOIA request in a structured database; searchable, sortable, downloadable database; or in a format searchable by text as appropriate.

    1. All information is presumed to be available in an electronic format as described above unless the agency demonstrates that excessive cost would place an undue burden on the agency.

  2. All information provided under subparagraph (a) above shall be made available to the public electronically, free of charge througheach agency's Web site.

Sec. 702. Limitations on extensions for agency response.

The Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552(a)(6)(B) is amended to provide that, when an agency determines that unusual circumstances exist that prevent the agency from responding to a FOIA request within the time limits prescribed, the agency may provide written notice setting forth the unusual circumstances for extending the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No such notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than ten working days per extension, and the total number of extensions must not be greater than 60 days past the original date due.

Sec. 703. Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays.

  1. Establishment- There is established the Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays (in this Act referred to as the `Commission') for the purpose of conducting a study relating to methods to help reduce delays in processing requests submitted to Federal agencies under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the `Freedom of Information Act').

  2. Membership-

    1. IN GENERAL- The Commission shall be composed of 16 members of whom--

      1. 3 shall be appointed by the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate;

      2. 3 shall be appointed by the ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate;

      3. 3 shall be appointed by the chairman of the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives;

      4. 3 shall be appointed by the ranking member of the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives;

      5. 1 shall be appointed by the Attorney General of the United States;

      6. 1 shall be appointed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

      7. 1 shall be appointed by the Archivist of the United States; and

      8. 1 shall be appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States.

    2. QUALIFICATIONS OF CONGRESSIONAL APPOINTEES- Of the 3 appointees under each of subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D) of paragraph (1)--

      1. at least 1 shall have experience in submitting requests under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, to Federal agencies, such as on behalf of nonprofit research or educational organizations or news media organizations; and

      2. at least 1 shall have experience in academic research in the fields of library science, information management, or public access to Government information.

  3. Study- The Commission shall conduct a study to--

    1. identify methods that--

      1. will help reduce delays in the processing of requests submitted to Federal agencies under section 552 of title 5, United States Code; and

      2. ensure the efficient and equitable administration of that section throughout the Federal Government; and

    2. examine whether the system for charging fees and granting waivers of fees under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, needs to be reformed in order to reduce delays in processing requests.

  4. Report- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit a report to Congress and the President containing the results of the study under this section, which shall include--

    1. a description of the methods identified by the study;

    2. the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission regarding--

      1. each method identified; and

      2. the charging of fees and granting of waivers of fees; and

    3. recommendations for legislative or administrative actions to implement the conclusions of the Commission.

  5. Staff and Administrative Support Services- The Comptroller General of the United States shall provide to the Commission such staff and administrative support services, including research assistance at the request of the Commission, as necessary for the Commission to perform its functions efficiently and in accordance with this section.

  6. Information- To the extent permitted by law, the heads of executive agencies, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Research Service shall provide to the Commission such information as the Commission may require to carry out its functions.

  7. Compensation of Members- Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation for services performed for the Commission.

  8. Travel Expenses- The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.

  9. Applicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall apply to the Commission.

  10. Termination- The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the submission of the report under subsection (e).