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FCW : April 15, 2016
Trending of federal IT professionals said their agency is as vulnerable to cyberattacks today as it was a year ago 55% 12 April 15, 2016 FCW.COM The Senate passed the FOIA Improve- ment Act of 2016 by unanimous con- sent on March 15. The bill’s sponsors, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Pat- rick Leahy (D-Vt.), praised their col- leagues for approving a measure that provides better access to government information. Among other things, the bill would put the Office of Management and Bud- get in charge of creating a one-stop online portal for filing all Freedom of Information Act requests, with the goal of getting agencies to respond more quickly and disclose more information. OMB would take the lead on the portal in consultation with the Justice Department, whose Office of Informa- tion Policy tracks FOIA requests and responses governmentwide. OMB would also be responsible for estab- lishing standards for interoperability between the portal and any software agencies use to handle FOIA requests. In addition, the bill would require agencies to operate under a “presump- tion of openness” when considering the release of information and would give more authority to the Office of Gov- ernment Information Services at the National Archives and Records Adminis- tration, which deals with FOIA disputes. A recent majority staff report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee criticized various agencies for undermining FOIA and highlighted a “broken” process. “Hun- dreds of thousands of requests are made each year, and hundreds of thousands of requests are backlogged, marked with inappropriate redactions or otherwise denied,” the report states. Leahy, ranking member of the Sen- ate Judiciary Committee, said, “Our very democracy is built on the idea that our government should not oper- ate in secret. The FOIA Improvement Act will help open the government to the 300 million Americans it serves and ensure that future administrations place an emphasis on openness and transpar- ency.” He urged the House to take simi- lar action. In January, the House passed the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act on a voice vote. The House and Sen- ate bills are similar but not identical, so further legislative action is needed to send legislation to the White House. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), author of the House bill, said in a statement that he looks “forward to hammering out the details between the two bills to send a final solution to the president’s desk for his approval as soon as possible.” — Aisha Chowdhry FOIA bill includes governmentwide portal We want to know what you think. Take the 2016 FCW Reader Survey today! FCW.com/ReaderSurvey 0415fcw_003-013.indd 12 3/23/16 9:13 AM
March 30, 2016
April 30, 2016