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Major Provisions of 1996 FOIA Amendments

Electronic Record Provisions

  • Definition of "record" -- subsection (f) (2)
  • Format of disclosure -- subsection (a) (3) (B)
  • Electronic searches -- subsections (a) (3) (C) (D)
  • Electronic reading room -- subsections (A) (2)-- applies to records created on or after 11/1/96
  • Reading room treatment for selected FOIA-disclosed records -- subsections (a) (2) (D) (E)
  • Computer redaction/deletion specification -- subsection (b)

Time Limit/Backlog Provisions

  • Initial time limit -- subsection (a) (6) (A) (i)
  • Multitrack processing -- subsection (a) (6) (D)
  • Unusual circumstances -- subsection (a) (6) (B)
  • Exceptional circumstances -- subsection (a) (6) (C)
  • Expedited processing -- subsection (a) (6) (E)

Reports and Reference Guide

  • Annual reports -- subsection (e) -- changed to fical year timetable, as of report for fiscal year 1998, due 2/1/99
  • Reference materials and guides -- subsection (g)

Implementation Dates

  • General effective date -- 180 days after enactment (3/31/97)
  • Effective date for time limit/backlog provisions -- one year after enactment (10/2/97)
  • Annual reports -- shift to new fiscal year timetable and new form for FY 1998 report (due 2/1/99)
  • Reading room records created on or after 11/1/96 -- must be available electronically as of 11/1/97
  • Index of selected FOIA-disclosed records must be on-line by 12/31/99

Last revised: December 1, 2003

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