Summary: S.621 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.621. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (03/14/2017)

Public Online Information Act of 2017

This bill establishes a Public Online Information Advisory Committee to: (1) coordinate the government's efforts to make information from all three branches of government available on the Internet, and (2) issue nonbinding guidelines on how the government should make public information available.

The government must make public records available on the Internet at no charge, except as imposed by federal law before this bill's enactment. The bill requires: (1) public records to be permanently available on the Internet; (2) current information technology to be applied to the formats and means through which records are made available; and (3) each agency to publish on the Internet a searchable, machine-processable list of all records it makes publicly available.

The bill delineates the roles of the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Electronic Government, and the chief information officers of independent regulatory agencies. It allows exceptions to the Internet publication requirement, including a process for an agency's request for an exception to be granted if: (1) there is a clear and convincing reason for the record to not be made available on the Internet, and (2) the harm caused by disclosure significantly outweighs the public's interest in having the record available on the Internet.

Inspectors general must periodically review agency compliance. Private individuals or organizations may file a complaint in federal court if an agency denies a request to place public records on the Internet.

The bill expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) judicial and legislative agencies adopt or adapt the advisory committee's recommendations, and (2) the Government Publishing Office make all of its publications permanently available on the Internet in a multiplicity of formats.