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Resource ID: #487
Subject: 228
Source: 975Andrew Becker, Ellen Gabler, Djordje Padejski, Duffy Carolan
Affiliation: FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee, Office of Government Information Services,
Date: 2014

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Description

**Updated to reflect IRE by Design panel information**

What can be done to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act?

We had a chance to set the agenda of the newly formed FOIA Modernization Advisory Committee. The group includes one of our own: IRE member Andrew Becker. We are working together to solicit and collect as much input on the administration of FOIA as possible. The goal: To boost the influence journalists have on the committee, chiefly composed of government employees.

The committee has been the most significant conduit for change to open records laws since the FOIA was enacted in 1966. It’s mission is to “improve the administration of the law.” The agency that oversees this group, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), works to help requesters like you solve FOIA-related issues. A representative of OGIS is aware of our efforts and was at the conference with her notebook ready.

Are fees your biggest roadblock to information? Blanket redactions? Response time? Something else? Let’s decide together.

Listen to the reform happen. Steering the committee’s direction isn’t all we’re doing.

This is also a chance for you to join the growing #FOIAFriday community. More than a hashtag, #FOIAFriday is a space to share tips, ask for advice and coordinate efforts to improve access to public information.

From New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) to California’s Public Records Act (CPRA) and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.

Leading the discussion Saturday are journalists Ellen Gabler and Djordje Padejski, and attorney Duffy Carolan. Gabler’s award-winning story for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on deadly delays in newborn screening programs drew heavily from data obtained via records requests filed around the country. Padejski founded FOIA Machine, an online platform that automates FOIA requests and helps journalists keep track of documents. Carolan is a lawyer with extensive experience representing journalists seeking information via state and federal open records laws. All will share tips from their experience obtaining, litigating and fighting for public records.

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