Changes to FOIA Procedural Rules
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
The Commission last made substantive revisions to its FOIA procedural rules, 29 CFR part 2702, in December 2007. 72 FR 71788-01 (Dec. 19, 2007). Since that time, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, Public Law 114-185, 130 Stat. 538, was passed and it made several substantive and procedural changes with regard to the administration of the FOIA. Among the changes is a requirement that each agency revise its FOIA Rules to reflect several new requirements, including our new procedure for engaging in dispute resolution through the FOIA Public Liaison and the Office of Government Information Services (“OGIS”) and the requirement that requesters be given a minimum of 90 days to file an administrative FOIA appeal.
In light of the new changes, the Commission took the opportunity to conduct a full review of its FOIA Rules, with the objective of performing a comprehensive cleanup so that the rules are more user-friendly for our requester community. In order to provide transparency as to its FOIA processes, the Commission has proposed both new rules and revisions to its current rules to better reflect the Commission’s actual practices. The proposed revisions include such changes as clarification on the types of information that a requester must provide in order to facilitate a FOIA search of the agency’s records, additional circumstances under which expedited processing will be granted, clarification on our FOIA appeals process, and increases in certain fees. The Commission is also proposing adding two new procedural rules, one addressing confidential commercial information and the other addressing the preservation of records.
However, even with the proposed changes highlighted above, the rules still retain much of the substantive practices and procedures currently in effect. In fact, the majority of the proposed revisions consist of modifying existing language, reorganizing the layout, isolating and/or relocating certain topics, and adding paragraph headers. We have also amended section headers and added four new sections (2702.9, 2702.10, 2702.11, and 2702.12) and several new paragraphs within existing sections to accommodate the new layout.
The proposed changes are described more fully in the attached PDF.