Text: S.337 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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[S. 337 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

        S.337

                     One Hundred Fourteenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,
           the fourth day of January, two thousand and sixteen


                                 An Act


 
               To improve the Freedom of Information Act.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the ``FOIA Improvement Act of 2016''.
SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO FOIA.
    Section 552 of title 5, United States Code, is amended--
        (1) in subsection (a)--
            (A) in paragraph (2)--
                (i) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by 
            striking ``for public inspection and copying'' and 
            inserting ``for public inspection in an electronic 
            format'';
                (ii) by striking subparagraph (D) and inserting the 
            following:
        ``(D) copies of all records, regardless of form or format--
            ``(i) that have been released to any person under paragraph 
        (3); and
            ``(ii)(I) that because of the nature of their subject 
        matter, the agency determines have become or are likely to 
        become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the 
        same records; or
            ``(II) that have been requested 3 or more times; and''; and
                (iii) in the undesignated matter following subparagraph 
            (E), by striking ``public inspection and copying current'' 
            and inserting ``public inspection in an electronic format 
            current'';
            (B) in paragraph (4)(A), by striking clause (viii) and 
        inserting the following:
            ``(viii)(I) Except as provided in subclause (II), an agency 
        shall not assess any search fees (or in the case of a requester 
        described under clause (ii)(II) of this subparagraph, 
        duplication fees) under this subparagraph if the agency has 
        failed to comply with any time limit under paragraph (6).
            ``(II)(aa) If an agency has determined that unusual 
        circumstances apply (as the term is defined in paragraph 
        (6)(B)) and the agency provided a timely written notice to the 
        requester in accordance with paragraph (6)(B), a failure 
        described in subclause (I) is excused for an additional 10 
        days. If the agency fails to comply with the extended time 
        limit, the agency may not assess any search fees (or in the 
        case of a requester described under clause (ii)(II) of this 
        subparagraph, duplication fees).
            ``(bb) If an agency has determined that unusual 
        circumstances apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to 
        respond to the request, an agency may charge search fees (or in 
        the case of a requester described under clause (ii)(II) of this 
        subparagraph, duplication fees) if the agency has provided a 
        timely written notice to the requester in accordance with 
        paragraph (6)(B) and the agency has discussed with the 
        requester via written mail, electronic mail, or telephone (or 
        made not less than 3 good-faith attempts to do so) how the 
        requester could effectively limit the scope of the request in 
        accordance with paragraph (6)(B)(ii).
            ``(cc) If a court has determined that exceptional 
        circumstances exist (as that term is defined in paragraph 
        (6)(C)), a failure described in subclause (I) shall be excused 
        for the length of time provided by the court order.'';
            (C) in paragraph (6)--
                (i) in subparagraph (A)(i), by striking ``making such 
            request'' and all that follows through ``determination; 
            and'' and inserting the following: ``making such request 
            of--
                ``(I) such determination and the reasons therefor;
                ``(II) the right of such person to seek assistance from 
            the FOIA Public Liaison of the agency; and
                ``(III) in the case of an adverse determination--

                    ``(aa) the right of such person to appeal to the 
                head of the agency, within a period determined by the 
                head of the agency that is not less than 90 days after 
                the date of such adverse determination; and
                    ``(bb) the right of such person to seek dispute 
                resolution services from the FOIA Public Liaison of the 
                agency or the Office of Government Information 
                Services; and''; and

                (ii) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking ``the 
            agency.'' and inserting ``the agency, and notify the 
            requester of the right of the requester to seek dispute 
            resolution services from the Office of Government 
            Information Services.''; and
            (D) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(8)(A) An agency shall--
        ``(i) withhold information under this section only if--
            ``(I) the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would 
        harm an interest protected by an exemption described in 
        subsection (b); or
            ``(II) disclosure is prohibited by law; and
        ``(ii)(I) consider whether partial disclosure of information is 
    possible whenever the agency determines that a full disclosure of a 
    requested record is not possible; and
        ``(II) take reasonable steps necessary to segregate and release 
    nonexempt information; and
    ``(B) Nothing in this paragraph requires disclosure of information 
that is otherwise prohibited from disclosure by law, or otherwise 
exempted from disclosure under subsection (b)(3).'';
        (2) in subsection (b), by amending paragraph (5) to read as 
    follows:
        ``(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that 
    would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in 
    litigation with the agency, provided that the deliberative process 
    privilege shall not apply to records created 25 years or more 
    before the date on which the records were requested;''; and
        (3) in subsection (e)--
            (A) in paragraph (1)--
                (i) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by 
            inserting ``and to the Director of the Office of Government 
            Information Services'' after ``United States'';
                (ii) in subparagraph (N), by striking ``and'' at the 
            end;
                (iii) in subparagraph (O), by striking the period at 
            the end and inserting a semicolon; and
                (iv) by adding at the end the following:
        ``(P) the number of times the agency denied a request for 
    records under subsection (c); and
        ``(Q) the number of records that were made available for public 
    inspection in an electronic format under subsection (a)(2).'';
            (B) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:
    ``(3) Each agency shall make each such report available for public 
inspection in an electronic format. In addition, each agency shall make 
the raw statistical data used in each report available in a timely 
manner for public inspection in an electronic format, which shall be 
made available--
        ``(A) without charge, license, or registration requirement;
        ``(B) in an aggregated, searchable format; and
        ``(C) in a format that may be downloaded in bulk.'';
            (C) in paragraph (4)--
                (i) by striking ``Government Reform and Oversight'' and 
            inserting ``Oversight and Government Reform'';
                (ii) by inserting ``Homeland Security and'' before 
            ``Governmental Affairs''; and
                (iii) by striking ``April'' and inserting ``March''; 
            and
            (D) by striking paragraph (6) and inserting the following:
    ``(6)(A) The Attorney General of the United States shall submit to 
the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the 
President a report on or before March 1 of each calendar year, which 
shall include for the prior calendar year--
        ``(i) a listing of the number of cases arising under this 
    section;
        ``(ii) a listing of--
            ``(I) each subsection, and any exemption, if applicable, 
        involved in each case arising under this section;
            ``(II) the disposition of each case arising under this 
        section; and
            ``(III) the cost, fees, and penalties assessed under 
        subparagraphs (E), (F), and (G) of subsection (a)(4); and
        ``(iii) a description of the efforts undertaken by the 
    Department of Justice to encourage agency compliance with this 
    section.
    ``(B) The Attorney General of the United States shall make--
        ``(i) each report submitted under subparagraph (A) available 
    for public inspection in an electronic format; and
        ``(ii) the raw statistical data used in each report submitted 
    under subparagraph (A) available for public inspection in an 
    electronic format, which shall be made available--
            ``(I) without charge, license, or registration requirement;
            ``(II) in an aggregated, searchable format; and
            ``(III) in a format that may be downloaded in bulk.'';
        (4) in subsection (g), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), 
    by striking ``publicly available upon request'' and inserting 
    ``available for public inspection in an electronic format'';
        (5) in subsection (h)--
            (A) in paragraph (1), by adding at the end the following: 
        ``The head of the Office shall be the Director of the Office of 
        Government Information Services.'';
            (B) in paragraph (2), by striking subparagraph (C) and 
        inserting the following:
        ``(C) identify procedures and methods for improving compliance 
    under this section.'';
            (C) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:
    ``(3) The Office of Government Information Services shall offer 
mediation services to resolve disputes between persons making requests 
under this section and administrative agencies as a nonexclusive 
alternative to litigation and may issue advisory opinions at the 
discretion of the Office or upon request of any party to a dispute.''; 
and
            (D) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(4)(A) Not less frequently than annually, the Director of the 
Office of Government Information Services shall submit to the Committee 
on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the President--
        ``(i) a report on the findings of the information reviewed and 
    identified under paragraph (2);
        ``(ii) a summary of the activities of the Office of Government 
    Information Services under paragraph (3), including--
            ``(I) any advisory opinions issued; and
            ``(II) the number of times each agency engaged in dispute 
        resolution with the assistance of the Office of Government 
        Information Services or the FOIA Public Liaison; and
        ``(iii) legislative and regulatory recommendations, if any, to 
    improve the administration of this section.
    ``(B) The Director of the Office of Government Information Services 
shall make each report submitted under subparagraph (A) available for 
public inspection in an electronic format.
    ``(C) The Director of the Office of Government Information Services 
shall not be required to obtain the prior approval, comment, or review 
of any officer or agency of the United States, including the Department 
of Justice, the Archivist of the United States, or the Office of 
Management and Budget before submitting to Congress, or any committee 
or subcommittee thereof, any reports, recommendations, testimony, or 
comments, if such submissions include a statement indicating that the 
views expressed therein are those of the Director and do not 
necessarily represent the views of the President.
    ``(5) The Director of the Office of Government Information Services 
may directly submit additional information to Congress and the 
President as the Director determines to be appropriate.
    ``(6) Not less frequently than annually, the Office of Government 
Information Services shall conduct a meeting that is open to the public 
on the review and reports by the Office and shall allow interested 
persons to appear and present oral or written statements at the 
meeting.'';
        (6) by striking subsections (j) and (k), and inserting the 
    following:
    ``(j)(1) Each agency shall designate a Chief FOIA Officer who shall 
be a senior official of such agency (at the Assistant Secretary or 
equivalent level).
    ``(2) The Chief FOIA Officer of each agency shall, subject to the 
authority of the head of the agency--
        ``(A) have agency-wide responsibility for efficient and 
    appropriate compliance with this section;
        ``(B) monitor implementation of this section throughout the 
    agency and keep the head of the agency, the chief legal officer of 
    the agency, and the Attorney General appropriately informed of the 
    agency's performance in implementing this section;
        ``(C) recommend to the head of the agency such adjustments to 
    agency practices, policies, personnel, and funding as may be 
    necessary to improve its implementation of this section;
        ``(D) review and report to the Attorney General, through the 
    head of the agency, at such times and in such formats as the 
    Attorney General may direct, on the agency's performance in 
    implementing this section;
        ``(E) facilitate public understanding of the purposes of the 
    statutory exemptions of this section by including concise 
    descriptions of the exemptions in both the agency's handbook issued 
    under subsection (g), and the agency's annual report on this 
    section, and by providing an overview, where appropriate, of 
    certain general categories of agency records to which those 
    exemptions apply;
        ``(F) offer training to agency staff regarding their 
    responsibilities under this section;
        ``(G) serve as the primary agency liaison with the Office of 
    Government Information Services and the Office of Information 
    Policy; and
        ``(H) designate 1 or more FOIA Public Liaisons.
    ``(3) The Chief FOIA Officer of each agency shall review, not less 
frequently than annually, all aspects of the administration of this 
section by the agency to ensure compliance with the requirements of 
this section, including--
        ``(A) agency regulations;
        ``(B) disclosure of records required under paragraphs (2) and 
    (8) of subsection (a);
        ``(C) assessment of fees and determination of eligibility for 
    fee waivers;
        ``(D) the timely processing of requests for information under 
    this section;
        ``(E) the use of exemptions under subsection (b); and
        ``(F) dispute resolution services with the assistance of the 
    Office of Government Information Services or the FOIA Public 
    Liaison.
    ``(k)(1) There is established in the executive branch the Chief 
FOIA Officers Council (referred to in this subsection as the 
`Council').
    ``(2) The Council shall be comprised of the following members:
        ``(A) The Deputy Director for Management of the Office of 
    Management and Budget.
        ``(B) The Director of the Office of Information Policy at the 
    Department of Justice.
        ``(C) The Director of the Office of Government Information 
    Services.
        ``(D) The Chief FOIA Officer of each agency.
        ``(E) Any other officer or employee of the United States as 
    designated by the Co-Chairs.
    ``(3) The Director of the Office of Information Policy at the 
Department of Justice and the Director of the Office of Government 
Information Services shall be the Co-Chairs of the Council.
    ``(4) The Administrator of General Services shall provide 
administrative and other support for the Council.
    ``(5)(A) The duties of the Council shall include the following:
        ``(i) Develop recommendations for increasing compliance and 
    efficiency under this section.
        ``(ii) Disseminate information about agency experiences, ideas, 
    best practices, and innovative approaches related to this section.
        ``(iii) Identify, develop, and coordinate initiatives to 
    increase transparency and compliance with this section.
        ``(iv) Promote the development and use of common performance 
    measures for agency compliance with this section.
    ``(B) In performing the duties described in subparagraph (A), the 
Council shall consult on a regular basis with members of the public who 
make requests under this section.
    ``(6)(A) The Council shall meet regularly and such meetings shall 
be open to the public unless the Council determines to close the 
meeting for reasons of national security or to discuss information 
exempt under subsection (b).
    ``(B) Not less frequently than annually, the Council shall hold a 
meeting that shall be open to the public and permit interested persons 
to appear and present oral and written statements to the Council.
    ``(C) Not later than 10 business days before a meeting of the 
Council, notice of such meeting shall be published in the Federal 
Register.
    ``(D) Except as provided in subsection (b), the records, reports, 
transcripts, minutes, appendices, working papers, drafts, studies, 
agenda, or other documents that were made available to or prepared for 
or by the Council shall be made publicly available.
    ``(E) Detailed minutes of each meeting of the Council shall be kept 
and shall contain a record of the persons present, a complete and 
accurate description of matters discussed and conclusions reached, and 
copies of all reports received, issued, or approved by the Council. The 
minutes shall be redacted as necessary and made publicly available.''; 
and
        (7) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(m)(1) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in 
consultation with the Attorney General, shall ensure the operation of a 
consolidated online request portal that allows a member of the public 
to submit a request for records under subsection (a) to any agency from 
a single website. The portal may include any additional tools the 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget finds will improve the 
implementation of this section.
    ``(2) This subsection shall not be construed to alter the power of 
any other agency to create or maintain an independent online portal for 
the submission of a request for records under this section. The 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall establish 
standards for interoperability between the portal required under 
paragraph (1) and other request processing software used by agencies 
subject to this section.''.
SEC. 3. REVIEW AND ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS.
    (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the head of each agency (as defined in section 
551 of title 5, United States Code) shall review the regulations of 
such agency and shall issue regulations on procedures for the 
disclosure of records under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, 
in accordance with the amendments made by section 2.
    (b) Requirements.--The regulations of each agency shall include 
procedures for engaging in dispute resolution through the FOIA Public 
Liaison and the Office of Government Information Services.
SEC. 4. PROACTIVE DISCLOSURE THROUGH RECORDS MANAGEMENT.
    Section 3102 of title 44, United States Code, is amended--
        (1) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) 
    and (4); and
        (2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
        ``(2) procedures for identifying records of general interest or 
    use to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and 
    for posting such records in a publicly accessible electronic 
    format;''.
SEC. 5. NO ADDITIONAL FUNDS AUTHORIZED.
    No additional funds are authorized to carry out the requirements of 
this Act or the amendments made by this Act. The requirements of this 
Act and the amendments made by this Act shall be carried out using 
amounts otherwise authorized or appropriated.
SEC. 6. APPLICABILITY.
    This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall take effect on 
the date of enactment of this Act and shall apply to any request for 
records under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, made after 
the date of enactment of this Act.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.

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