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H.R. 1974 (112th): Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act

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

9/10/2012--Reported to House amended, Part I. Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act - (Sec. 2) Requires the Public Printer (GPO) to establish and maintain a website accessible by the public for obtaining electronic copies of all congressionally mandated reports in one place. Prohibits GPO from charging a fee, requiring registration, or imposing any other limitation in exchange for access to the website.

Requires that such website provide, with respect to each congressionally mandated report: (1) a citation to the statute or conference report requiring the report; (2) an electronic copy of the report, including any transmittal letter; (3) the ability to retrieve a report through searches based on the title of the report, the reporting federal agency, the date of publication, each congressional committee receiving the report, and other search data; (4) the time and date when the report was required to be submitted and when it was submitted to the website; (5) access to the report not later than 30 calendar days after its submission to Congress; and (6) a permanent means of accessing the report electronically.

Requires such website to include: (1) a means for bulk download of all congressionally mandated reports or a selection of reports retrieved using a search; (2) a means for each agency head to publish on the website each congressionally mandated agency report; and (3) a list form for all reports that can be searched, sorted, and downloaded by reports submitted within the required time, reports submitted after their required date of submission, and reports not submitted.

(Sec. 3) Requires the head of each federal agency to publish the agency's congressionally mandated reports on the website in an open format that is platform independent, machine readable, and available to the public without restrictions, including restrictions that would impede the reuse of information in the reports. Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidance to agencies on the implementation of this Act.

(Sec. 4) Deems a federal agency to have complied with a statutory requirement to submit a report to Congress if the agency: (1) publishes a complete and unredacted copy on the website established by this Act; and (2) notifies the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate, and each congressional committee to which a report must be submitted of the report's availability on the website. Prohibits any report posted on the website from being changed or removed, with the exception of technical changes, without the express, written consent of each such congressional committee.

(Sec. 5) Provides that nothing in this Act shall be construed to require the disclosure of information or records that are exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Requires agencies to redact from reports information that may not be publicly released, to indicate where such redactions are made in the report, and to identify the exemption under which each redaction is made.

(Sec. 6) Defines "congressionally mandated report" as a report that is required to be submitted to either chamber of Congress or any committee of Congress by statute or by a conference report that accompanies legislation enacted into law.

(Sec. 7) Requires this Act to be implemented not later than one year after its enactment.