Restore Open Government Act
Returning from the 108th Congress is the Restore Open Government Act,
introduced once again by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., on May 12, 2005. This bill
goes a little further than the Open Government Act in terms of substantive
changes proposed for FOIA and is intended to address many of the key actions
taken by the Bush administration that have restricted access to government
information. The bill specifically proposes:
heads of government agencies to observe the new standard by which the Department
of Justice would defend the denial of a FOIA request in court.
safeguarding of information on weapons of mass destruction.
“pseudo-classification” designations for government information (such as
Sensitive Security Information, Sensitive Homeland Security Information,
Sensitive but Unclassified, etc.). This report would be completed within nine
months of the enactment of the act and would include information on:
names and number of various pseudo-classifications used by government agencies.
- Any guidance, instructions, regulations or directives used by the
agencies in these areas.
- The number of documents categorized by each
agency in the past three years.
- The number, level and experience of agency
personnel authorized to make these designations.
- The cost of
- The extent to which pseudo-classified
documents have been released under FOIA.
- The extent to which
pseudo-classifications have been used to withhold information that is not
classified pursuant to an executive order.
and by George H.W. Bush on Jan. 18, 1989, that have restricted access to
government information under the Presidential Records Act.
Advisory Committees, which can now be kept secret as a result of the United
States Supreme Court decision in Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District
of Columbia (2004).
Infrastructure Information Act of 2002.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Government Reform and the Committee
on Homeland Security. Neither has taken action on it.