S. 394 (109th): OPEN Government Act of 2005

Feb 16, 2005 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)
Died (Reported by Committee)
John Cornyn
Senator from Texas
Read Text »
Last Updated
Sep 21, 2006
16 pages
Related Bills
H.R. 867 (identical)

Referred to Committee
Last Action: Feb 16, 2005


This bill was introduced on September 21, 2006, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted.

Introduced Feb 16, 2005
Referred to Committee Feb 16, 2005
Reported by Committee Sep 21, 2006
Full Title

A bill to promote accessibility, accountability, and openness in Government by strengthening section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), and for other purposes.


No summaries available.

6 cosponsors (4D, 2R) (show)

Senate Judiciary

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Primary Source

THOMAS.gov (The Library of Congress)

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S. stands for Senate bill.

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The bill’s title was written by its sponsor.

GovTrack’s Bill Summary

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Library of Congress Summary

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

9/21/2006--Reported to Senate without amendment.
Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2005 or OPEN Government Act of 2005 -
Section 3 -
Amends the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), with respect to document duplication fees, to prohibit a federal agency from denying news media status to a news media representative solely on the absence of institutional associations of the requester and requires consideration of the requester's prior publication history.
Requires an agency, if a requester has no prior publication history or current affiliation, to consider the requester's stated intent at the time the request is made to distribute information to a reasonably broad audience.
Section 4 -
Provides that, for purposes of recovery of attorney fees and other litigation costs, a complainant has substantially prevailed if :
(1) the complainant has obtained a substantial part of its requested relief through a judicial or administrative order or an enforceable written agreement; or
(2) the complainant's pursuit of a nonfrivolous claim or defense has been a catalyst for a voluntary or unilateral change in position by the opposing party that provides a substantial part of the requested relief.
Section 5 -
Directs the Attorney General to: (1) notify the Special Counsel of civil actions taken for arbitrary and capricious rejections of requests for agency records; and (2) annually submit reports on the number of such actions taken. Requires the Special Counsel to annually submit reports to Congress on the actions taken by the Special Counsel regarding civil actions taken for such rejections of requests for agency records.
Section 6 -
Provides for the commencement of the 20-day time limit within which agencies shall determine whether to comply with a request for agency records on the day in which the request is first received. Prohibits agencies from tolling a request without the consent of the party filing the request.
Prohibits an agency, if the agency fails to comply with the applicable time limit provisions of the FOIA with respect to a request, from asserting any exemption to that request, unless disclosure:
(1) would endanger U.S. national security;
(2) would disclose personal private information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974 or proprietary information; or
(3) is otherwise prohibited by law.
Permits a court to waive the application of such amendment if the agency demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that there was good cause for the failure to comply with the applicable time limit provisions.
Makes such amendment effective one year after enactment of this Act.
Section 7 -
Requires agencies to establish: (1) a system to assign tracking numbers for requests for information; and (2) telephone or Internet service that provides the status of requests. Makes such amendment effective one year after enactment of this Act.
Section 8 -
Prohibits requiring an agency to make public matters that are specifically exempted from disclosure by statute provided that such statute, if enacted after the date of enactment of this Act, specifically states that the exemption applies.
Section 9 -
Revises reporting requirements for annual agency reporting to the Attorney General concerning FOIA requests to require additional information.
Section 10 -
Redefines "record" under the FOIA to include any information that is maintained by a contractor for an agency.
Section 11 -
Establishes the Office of Government Information Services within the U.S. Administrative Conference to:
(1) review section FOIA policies and procedures by administrative agencies;
(2) conduct audits of administrative agencies on such policies and compliance and issue reports detailing the results of such audits;
(3) recommend policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of the FOIA, including whether agencies are receiving and spending adequate funds to ensure compliance with the FOIA; and
(4) offer mediation services between persons making requests under the FOIA and administrative agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation and, at the discretion of the Office, issue advisory opinions if mediation has not resolved the dispute.
Makes such amendments effective one year after enactment of this Act.
Section 12 -
Requires the Comptroller General each of the three years after enactment of this Act, to report on implementation of provisions for the protection of voluntarily shared critical infrastructure information under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, including:
(1) the number of persons in the private sector and the number of state and local agencies that voluntarily furnished records to the Department of Homeland Security;
(2) the number of requests for access to records granted or denied;
(3) such recommendations considered appropriate regarding improvements in the collection and analysis of sensitive information held by persons in the private sector, or by state and local agencies, related to vulnerabilities of and threats to critical infrastructure, including the response to such vulnerabilities and threats; and
(4) an examination of whether the nondisclosure of such information has led to increased protection of critical infrastructure.
Requires that such reports be submitted in unclassified form and permits them to include a classified annex.
Section 13 -
Requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to report on personnel policies related to FOIA.

House Republican Conference Summary

The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

No summary available.

House Democratic Caucus Summary

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