Statement by SPJ President Dana Neuts regarding Sen. Rockefeller’s hold on FOIA bill
Update 12/12/14: SPJ is disappointed that the House Majority Leader didn’t put S.2520 on the legislative calendar. The reforms contained in the FOIA bill were much-needed, but unfortunately the bill became victim to lobbyists, an unnecessary and unexpected hold in the Senate and jostling for position with a number of other bills the House prioritized above it in the final hours of this legislative session. The bill would have made government more open and accountable – things that are essential to a healthy democracy. We hope Sens. Leahy and Cornyn, and others who support open government, will revisit the issue and continue to fight for FOIA reform at the next opportunity.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2014
Dana Neuts, SPJ National President, 360.920.1737 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317.361.4134, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists strongly urges Sen. Jay Rockefeller to lift his hold on the bipartisan Freedom of Information Act bill, S. 2520, which would make government more open and accountable.
SPJ also urges its members – and anyone interested in the preservation of open government – to post on the senator’s Facebook page, tweet him at @SenRockefeller and call his office (202-224-6472) to tell him that FOIA reform is needed now.
The FOIA bill fixes systemic weaknesses in the Freedom of Information Act. It requires federal agencies to adopt a presumption of openness, strengthens the government office that assists with dispute resolution and puts a 25-year limit on agencies withholding materials that are part of the deliberative process. The bill has been endorsed by more than 70 organizations from across the political spectrum.
Sen. Rockefeller’s concerns are unfounded and should have been raised earlier in the process.
SPJ believes that freedom of information is vital to a healthy and sustainable democracy and encourages those in support of open government to take action immediately.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit spj.org.