House panel renews bid to improve government response to information requests under FOIA

Associated Press

A House committee is renewing efforts to make government agencies more responsive to freedom-of-information requests.

The House unanimously passed a similar effort last year. But objections by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia kept it from becoming law.

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The House oversight committee on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would make it harder for federal agencies to reject requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act. Agencies would have to show that the requested disclosure is barred by law or would cause specific harm to interests protected by the law.

Rockefeller has retired from the Senate. In 2014 he cited concerns that companies might use time-consuming information requests to delay investigations into their conduct.

The Associated Press is a member of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, which supports the legislation.