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Category Archives: Legislation

DOJ, 18F Report on “Discovery Phase” of National FOIA Portal

“Today, OIP is pleased to announce the results of its collaboration with GSA’s 18F team on the discovery phase of development of a National FOIA Portal.  As we enter development, we want to again solicit both public and agency participation in providing feedback on our work. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to build a “consolidated online request portal that allows a member of the public to submit a request for records…to any agency from a single website.”   In April 2017, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) announced its partnership with the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 18F team to create a consolidated online request portal.  To begin the project, OIP compiled a team with members including its own FOIA subject matter experts, 18F’s digital services team, and technical staff from DOJ’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and contractor support.  The team began by embarking on a “discovery phase” that included conducting extensive research, interviewing requesters, agencies, and the advocacy community, and testing prototypes of possible functionality.  The discovery phase focused on four categories of potential functionality:  the ability to submit a request to any agency, interoperability (i.e., making the new portal work with other existing systems), generating status updates, and the option to search for already released records. This report (link is external) marks the completion of the discovery phase and highlights the team’s findings and recommendations for development.  Moving forward, we are building the National FOIA Portal using 18F’s agile approach to development and user-centered design research.  Work is divided into short periods of iteration called sprints.  During each sprint the scope of work is planned, executed, and tested with users in order to inform the next iteration (sprint).  “Agile” development focuses on iterative solutions guided by stakeholder feedback.  It also helps ensure that the final deliverables meet the actual needs of end users, which for this project includes both requesters and agencies…”

FAS – Senate Intelligence Authorization Report Filed

Steven Aftergood – Secrecy News/FAS: “Do the security clearance procedures that are used for granting access to classified information actually serve their intended purpose? To help answer that question, the Senate Intelligence Committee mandated a review of security clearance requirements, including “their collective utility in anticipating future insider threats.” See the Committee’s new report on… Continue Reading

New Report on Improving Effectiveness of Government Programs

“September 7, 2017 the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released the following statement in response to the release of the report of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking: “Taxpayers deserve to know that the programs they fund are working—especially when those programs are meant to help lift people out of poverty. But too often, Washington measures… Continue Reading

AALL Calls on Federal Courts to Address PACER Fees

News release: “The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) on September 6, 2017] filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, calling on the judicial body to ensure that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) makes electronic federal court records freely available “to the greatest extent… Continue Reading

Bulk Downloads of Congressional Data Now Available

“Using the ProPublica Congress API, developers can access details on each of the thousands of bills introduced in every two-year session. But they used to have to download those details one bill at a time, and be able to write API calls in software code. Now you can download information on all of the bills… Continue Reading

CRS Report – Domestic Terrorism: An Overview

Via FAS – Domestic Terrorism: An Overview, Jerome P. Bjelopera, Specialist in Organized Crime and Terrorism. August 21, 2017. “The emphasis of counter terrorism policy in the United States since Al Qaeda’s attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) has been on jihadist terrorism. However, in the last decade, domestic terrorists—people who commit crimes within the… Continue Reading

GPO and LC partner on release of digitized Congressional Record 1931-1940

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) partners with the Library of Congress to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1931-1940 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers debates and proceedings of the 72nd thru the 76th Congresses. This era of Congress covers historical topics such as: The Great Depression The last two… Continue Reading

EFF – Congress is At Home, So Pay Your Members a Visit

EFF: “It’s August. In the United States, that means members of Congress will be swinging back home to their home districts to check in with their state-side staffers, hit some fundraisers, and maybe host a few public events. You can meet them. Constituents can request meetings with members of Congress while they are home this… Continue Reading

Toolkit For State Legislators to Create Environmental Legislative Action

A Curated List of Environmental Laws That Both Protect The Environment and Support Economic and Job Growth – “Laws that protect the environment and the health of citizens, while simultaneously supporting economic and job growth, are being passed in state legislatures across the United States. These laws are more important than ever before and, increasingly,… Continue Reading

Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act

“The bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in the US House of Representatives on July 26, 2017. Co-sponsored by Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS-3), Mike Doyle (D-PA-14), and Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA-19), FASTR will accelerate scientific discovery and fuel innovation by making articles reporting on publicly funded scientific research freely accessible… Continue Reading

Axios – The sky-high pay of health care CEOs belies effort to kill ACA

Bob Herman – AXIOS: “The CEOs of 70 of the largest U.S. health care companies cumulatively have earned $9.8 billion in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and their earnings have grown faster than most Americans’ during that time, according to an Axios analysis of federal financial documents.Why it matters: The… Continue Reading

Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 estimated to increase number of uninsured by 32 million

Follow up to previous posting of May 24, 2017 – CBO Analysis of American Health Care Act of 2017, on July 19, 2017 CBO the cost estimate on H.R. 1628, Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017: “CBO and JCT estimate that enacting this legislation would reduce federal deficits by $473 billion over the coming decade… Continue Reading