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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Atlantic FOI two step: one forward, one back

A US congressional sub committee has endorsed legislation to strengthen the US Freedom of Information Act. Bill Summary: The Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 2007

The changes include the reaffirmation of the presumption in favour of disclosure unless harm can be demonstrated. Another - way behind the times from an Australian perspective - would establish an FOI Ombudsman to assist in the resolution of problems with agencies without the need to resort to litigation. The legislation has a long journey to navigate through the House and the Senate, and may or may not get a tick from the White House.

On the other side of the Atlantic, it's all hands on deck in the media and elsewhere to seek to head off proposed UK legislation that would significantly change the charging regime. There is also a private member's bill (Research Paper ) in the Parliament that removes the Houses of Parliament from the scope of the Act and exempts correspondence between MPs and public bodies.

Thanks to the UK Freedom of Information Blog for the UK leads

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