Rep. Cook Votes For Increased Government Transparency
WASHINGTON - Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for S.337, the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Improvement Act of 2016. The bill was passed by the House with overwhelming support and previously passed the Senate earlier this year by unanimous consent.
The FOIA Act of 2016 amends FOIA to increase transparency and accountability in government by improving public accessibility of government records. The bill establishes a single website for making FOIA requests, directs agencies to make records available in an electronic format, restricts the use of exemptions by agencies to withhold information from the public, and clarifies procedures for handling frequently requested documents and charging fees. It also requires agencies to report additional information to Congress on FOIA matters
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was originally enacted in 1966 and has been updated several times since. It allows any person to request and obtain existing and unpublished agency records on any topic for any reason. The Act grants the public presumptive access to agency records unless the material falls within nine exception categories.
Cook said, “FOIA is critical for allowing the public access to government records. We need to ensure that government decisions and records are transparent and readily available. This law makes important updates to FOIA to ensure that access to government documents keeps pace with technological updates.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts