More Chances to Wish FOIA A Happy Birthday!

If you missed seeing the original Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) signed by President Lyndon Johnson that was on display during our Sunshine Week Event, the National Archives is giving you another opportunity to wish the law a happy 50th birthday in person!

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and David S. Ferriero (right), Archivist of the United States, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act at the 2016 Sunshine Week program, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information, at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2016. NARA photo by Jeffrey Reed.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and David S. Ferriero (right), Archivist of the United States, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act at the 2016 Sunshine Week program, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information, at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2016. NARA photo by Jeffrey Reed.

We are happy to announce that between June 15 and September 14, 2016, the FOIA will be on display in the National Archives’ permanent exhibition “Records of Rights” in the David M. Rubenstein Gallery. Members of the public can drop by during the Museum’s operating hours to view the exhibit for free.

Members of the press will have a special opportunity to photograph or videotape the document before it is placed on display. This informal press-only event will be on Monday June 13 in the National Archives’ Conservation Lab. See the press release for additional information.

FOIA has changed a great deal over the past 50 years. In addition to the major updates Congress has given the law about once every 10 years, Court rulings—including more than 20 Supreme Court decisions—have continually affected how agencies administer FOIA.

As most of you likely know, OGIS is one of the newer features of FOIA: in October 2014, the Newseum hosted an event marking the 5th anniversary of our office. As OGIS’s former Director James Holzer pointed out during his address at the 2016 National Freedom of Information Day Celebration, OGIS is in its best position yet to act as a change agent in the administration of FOIA; we have helped mediate FOIA disputes between Federal agencies and requesters in all 50 states and in 22 foreign countries, and we have a robust FOIA compliance program in place that provides tailored recommendations on how to improve an agency’s FOIA program.

As we honor FOIA’s 50th birthday, we hope you will also all join us in looking forward to its next 50 years!

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