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(Jan 02, 2008) New legislation was enacted December 31 designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The new law broadens the definition of "news media" entities that are entitled to waiver of fees for FOIA requests to include non-traditional news sources. It liberalizes the standard for recovery of attorney fees in lawsuits in response to agency denials of requests for information. The legislation for the first time provides penalties for agencies that fail to comply with time limits for complying with requests, by forbidding the agency from assessing search or copying fees in such cases. The new law clarifies that agency records contained in electronic format, and records kept for an agency by an entity under government contract for records management purposes, are subject to FOIA. The legislation also creates a new office within the National Archives and Records Administration with authority to review agency compliance with FOIA, and to provide mediation services to requesters as an alternative to litigation. (Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007, Public Law No. 110-175, 121 Stat. 2516, available at

Author: Luis Acosta More by this author
Topic: Freedom of information More on this topic
Jurisdiction: United States More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/02/2008