Senate Approves Bill Requiring Citations for FOIA Exemptions

Legislation will "ensure an open and deliberative process"

The Senate Wednesday night approved by unanimous consent a bill that requires Congress to make it clear to the public when legislation is attempting to create a statutory exemption to the Freedom of Information Act.

The OPEN FOIA Act requires any legislation attempting to carve out a FOIA exemption to clearly site where in the FOIA act such exemptions are allowed, to "ensure an open and deliberative process."

"Too often these proposals slip through legislation without open discussion, undermining open government," said the Sunshine in Government Initiative, which backed the bill, which must still get House approval and the president's signature before it becomes the law of the land.

Somewhat ironically, the bill was attached to the bill that created such a carve out for "certain photographic records relating to the treatment of any individual engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001."

Though that carve-out hardly escaped public scrutiny and debate.

The administration originally planned to release detainee photos after the ACLU sued, but the president reversed that position, saying releasing them would not add anything and could inflame anti-American sentiment.