skip to main content

H.R. 1615 (114th): DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 25, 2015 (Introduced).


I

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1615

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 25, 2015

(for himself, Mr. McCaul, Mr. Katko, Mr. Hurd of Texas, Mr. Walker, Mr. Loudermilk, Ms. McSally, and Mr. Ratcliffe) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security

A BILL

To direct the Chief FOIA Officer of the Department of Homeland Security to make certain improvements in the implementation of section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015.

2.

Department of Homeland Security Freedom of Information Act implementation

(a)

Deadline for updating regulations

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief FOIA Officer of the Department of Homeland Security, as appointed pursuant to section 552(j) of title 5, United States Code, shall finalize and issue an updated regulation implementing section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), which shall include—

(1)

public guidance on procedures to be followed when making requests under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code;

(2)

updated guidance to the components of the Department responsible for processing such requests;

(3)

detailed information on fees and costs associated with such requests; and

(4)

detailed information on the appeals process for such requests.

(b)

Identification of costs

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief FOIA Officer, in coordination with the Chief Financial Officer of the Department and the heads of each of the relevant components of the Department, shall identify the total annual cost to the Department of implementing section 552 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Guidance

The Chief FOIA Officer shall develop guidance on reporting standards related to the direct and indirect costs to the Department associated with the processing of requests made under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code.

(c)

Cost savings

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief FOIA Officer, in collaboration with the heads of each of the relevant components of the Department, shall identify and eliminate unnecessary and duplicative actions taken by the Department in the course of processing requests made under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code.

(d)

FOIA tracking systems

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief FOIA Officer shall develop a plan to automate the processing of requests made under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code to the Department. Such plan shall take into account the specific needs of each of the components of the Department responsible for processing such requests and address required and recommended technology capabilities and elements. Such plan shall include an assessment of the costs and benefits associated with establishing and using electronic processing systems to process requests made under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code.

(e)

FOIA backlog

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief Privacy Officer of the Department, in consultation with the Chief FOIA Officer, shall update and issue guidance to the heads of each of the relevant components of the Department regarding the goal of reducing the backlog in processing requests made under paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of section 552(a) of title 5, United States Code, by 50 percent between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018.

(f)

Report

(1)

Semiannual privacy report

The Chief FOIA Officer shall include in each semiannual privacy report submitted under section 1062(f) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 2000ee–1(f)) each of the following:

(A)

The total costs to the Department of meeting the requirements of section 552 of title 5, United States Code, for the period covered by the report.

(B)

An assessment of progress made toward meeting the backlog goals pursuant to subsection (e) during the period covered by the report and the periods covered by the two preceding reports.

(2)

Fiscal year 2016 requirements

The Chief FOIA Officer shall include in the second semiannual privacy report for fiscal year 2016 each of the following:

(A)

A description of any cost savings identified under subsection (d).

(B)

The plan developed under subsection (d).