H.R.1211 - FOIA Act113th Congress (2013-2014)
Summary: H.R.1211 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)
Reported to House amended (07/16/2013)
FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2013 or the FOIA Act - (Sec. 2) Amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to:
- require federal agencies to make public information disclosed under FOIA available in an electronic, publicly accessible format;
- require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure the existence and operation of a single, free website (i.e., FOIAonline) for submitting requests for records and receiving automated information about the status of a FOIA request;
- revise the standard for exempting information under FOIA to require foreseeable harm from disclosure;
- expand the functions and reporting requirements of the Office of Government Information Services;
- expand the rights of individuals making a FOIA request to appeal an adverse determination;
- require agencies to determine whether the release of agency records would contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of government;
- require agencies to document additional search or duplication fees;
- require agencies to submit annual FOIA reports to the Director of the Office of Government Information Services, in addition to the Attorney General;
- expand the duties of the Chief FOIA Officer of each agency to require an annual compliance review of FOIA requirements;
- establish the Chief FOIA Officers Council to develop recommendations for increasing compliance with FOIA requirements; and
- require each agency to update its FOIA regulations within 180 days of the enactment of this Act.
(Sec. 3) Requires: (1) OMB to establish a three-year pilot program to review the benefits of FOIAonline (the electronic online portal FOIAonline.regulations.gov) to process requests and release information as required by FOIA, (2) OMB to establish a plan to evaluate FOIAonline at no less than three agencies that have not previously participated in FOIAonline, and (3) the head of each federal agency participating in the pilot program to report to Congress on the impact of the program on agency processes under FOIA and whether the agency will continue to participate in FOIAonline.
(Sec. 4) Requires the Inspector General of each federal agency to: (1) periodically review compliance with FOIA disclosure requirements, including the timely processing of requests, assessment of fees and fee waivers, and the use of disclosure exemptions; and (2) make recommendations to the head of an agency, including recommendations for disciplinary action. Makes the improper withholding of information under FOIA a basis for disciplinary action.