Freedom Of Information Act – does the current FOIA Law benefit your office?

Hafa Adai Fellow GovLoopers!

It’s been a while since I last blogged (more like vented) here in GovLoop, so here goes nothing!

On Guam, a bill – Bill No. B215-30 (LS) – FOIA update.pdf – was introduced by one of our local senators – Senator Ray Tenorio (R) – regarding updates to the local version of the Freedom Of Information Act.

I am upset because I approached another senator with regards to updating the local FOIA to be more reflective of the Federal FOIA.

Let me clarify my gripe:

[1] According to Guam’s current Freedom of Information Act [5gc010 sunshine act.pdf]:
…[a] §10103.(d) : the government has four (4) days, including weekends and holidays to respond to a request for access to public records; and
…[b] §10103.(e) : an extension to fulfill requests should be no longer than ten (10) days including weekends and holidays.

[2] Bill 215 (attached above) does the following proposed changes:
…[a] Section one (1) of the bill amends §10103.(d) to two (2) days, excluding weekends and holidays AND gives three agencies an additional two (2) days to respond AND gives all agencies an additional four (4) days for records older than six (6) months; and
…[b] Section two (2) of the bill amends §10103.(e) to eight (8) days, excluding weekends and holidays AND gives three agencies an additional eight (8) days to extend AND gives all agencies an addition eight (8) days for records older than six (6) months.

I LOVE every amending section of the bill EXCEPT the very first amendment – reduction of initial response time from four (4) days to two (2) days.

My agency is one of the “three priviledged” agencies given more time and definitely will benefit with the passage of Bill 215; however, am I wrong for thinking “government-wide” when I worry that my colleagues from other agencies will have to rush their response time within two days?

As I continued to read Bill 215 over and over and over… I started to like almost every aspect of the bill as it is written… almost…

I still feel two (2) days should be changed.. maybe back to four (4) days… what do you think?

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Amanda Blount

Considering how our archives are filed, can we have 7 days? No really. The shorter amount of days for certain agencies seems harsh. But, are they totally electronic? If we were electronic, maybe that would be enough time. But, for now, I am glad we don’t have to live up to those expectations.

Anita Arile

To date Bill 30-215 has not yet been passed.. *sigh*… all the while, I’m receiving “abusive-type” correspondences for documents within my department… so inconvenient and unnecessary… *sigh*

Anita Arile

Update at June 2, 2011.

The bill (Bill 215) was never passed by the previous legislature. The ironic end of this blog is: the senator that introduced the bill is now our island’s Lt. Governor. So far, so good…