skip to main content

S. 1160 (89th): An Act to amend section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 324, of the Act of June 11, 1946 (60 Stat. 238), to clarify and protect the right of the public to information, and for other purposes


The text of the bill below is as of Jul 4, 1966 (Passed Congress).

Summary of this bill

Source: Wikipedia

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute. This amendment was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his misgivings, on July 4, 1966, and went into effect the following year.

As indicated by its long title, FOIA was actually extracted from its original home in Section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Section 3 of the …


250                                PUBLIC LAW 89-487-JULY 4, 1966                    [80 STAT.

                  Public Law 89-487
  July 4, 1966                                        AN ACT
    *-^' ^^^^^    To amend section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 324, of the
                   Act of June 11, 1946 (60 Stat. 238), to clarify and protect the right of the
                   public to information, and for other purposes.

                     Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Representatives of the
 Public infoma-    United States of A^nerlca in Congress assembled. That section 3, chap-
 5 use 1002.       ter 324, of the Act of June 11, 1946 (60 Stat. 238), is amended to read
                  as follows:
                     "SEC. 3. Every agency shall make available to the public the follow-
                  ing information:
                     " ( a ) PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER.—Every agency shall
                  sef)arately state and currently publish in the Federal Register for the
                  guidance of the public (A) descriptions of its central and field organi-
                  zation and the established places at which, the officers from w^hom, and
                  the methods whereby, the public may secure information, make sub-
                  mittals or requests, or obtam decisions; (B) statements of the general
                  course and method by which its functions are channeled and deter-
                  mined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and
                  informal procedures available; (C) rules of procedure, descriptions
                  of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and
                  instructions as to the scope and contents of all papers, reports, or
                  examinations; (D) substantive rules of general applicability adopted
                  as authorized by law, and statements of general policy or interpreta-
                  tions of general applicability formulated and adopted by the agency;
                  and ( E ) every amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing.
                  Except to the extent that a person has actual and timely notice of the
                  terms thereof, no person shall in any manner be required to resort to,
                  or be adversely affected by any matter required to be published in the
                  Federal Register and not so published. For purposes of this sub-
                  section, matter which is reasonably available to the class of persons
                  affected thereby shall be deemed published in the Federal Register
                  when incorporated by reference therein with the approval of the
                  Director of the Federal Register.
                     "(b) AGENCY OPINIONS AND ORDERS.—Every agency shall, in ac-
                  cordance with published rules, make available for public inspection
                  and copying (A) all final opinions (including concurring and dissent-
                  ing opinions) and all orders made in the adjudication of cases, (B)
                  those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted
                  by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register, and
                   (C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect
                  any member of the public, unless such materials are promptly pub-
                  lished and copies offered for sale. To the extent required to prevent
                  a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, an agency may
                  delete identifying details when it makes available or publishes an
                  opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruc-
                  tion : Provided^ That in every case the justification for the deletion
                  must be fully explained in writing. Every agency also shall main-
                  tain and make available for public inspection and copying a current
                  index providing identifying information for the public as to any
                  matter which is issued, adopted, or promulgated after the effective
                  date of this Act and which is required by this subsection to be made
                  available or published. No final order, opinion, statement of policy,
                  interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that affects any member
                  of the public may be relied upon, used or cited as precedent by an
                  agency against any private party unless it has been indexed and either

80 STAT. ] PUBLIC LAW 89.487-JULY 4, 1966 251 made available or published as provided by this subsection or unless that private party shall have actual and timely notice of the terms thereof. "(c) AGENCY RECORDS.—Except with respect to the records made available pursuant to subsections (a) and ( b ) , every agency shall, upon request for identifiable records made in accordance with pub- lished rules stating the time, place, fees to the extent authorized by statute and procedure to be followed, make such records promptly available to any person. Upon complaint, the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the agency records are situated shall have jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from the with- holding of agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant. I n such cases the court shall determine the matter de novo and the burden shall be upon the agency to sustain its action. I n the event of noncompliance with the court's order, the district court may punish the responsible officers for contempt. Except as to those causes which the court deems of greater importance, proceedings before the district court as author- ized by this subsection shall take precedence on the docket over all other causes and shall be assigned for hearing and trial at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way. " ( d ) AGENCY PROCEEDINGS.—Every agency having more than one member shall keep a record of the final votes of each member in every agency proceeding and such record shall be available for public inspection. "(e) EXEMPTIONS.—The provisions of this section shall not be appli- cable to matters that are (1) specifically required by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of the national defense or foreign policy; (2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of any agency; (3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute; (4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from any person and privileged or confidential; (5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with the agency; (6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would consti- tute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (7) investi- gatory files compiled for laAv enforcement purposes except to the extent available by law to a private party; (8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological and geophysi- cal information and data (including maps) concerning wells. "(f) LIMITATION or EXEMPTIONS.—Nothing in this section author- izes withholding of information or limiting the availability of records to the public except as specifically stated in this section, nor shall this section be authority to withhold information from Congress. " (g) PRIVATE P A R T Y . - ^ A S used in this section, 'private party' means any party other than an agency. " ( h ) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This amendment shall become effective one year following the date of the enactment of this Act." Approved July 4 , 1966.