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Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) became law on July 4, 1966 in the United States when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act, and came into effect from the year 1967. On October 2, 1996 the then President, Bill Clinton approved and signed the Amends to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act.

Only federal agencies are subject to the FIOA. However, all of the states, as well as the District of Columbia and some territories, have enacted similar laws to require disclosures by agencies of the state and of local governments. Some of these though, are significantly broader than others. Read below where questions have been answered by the Experts regarding The Freedom of Information Act.

Do non-profit organizations come under the purview of the Freedom of Information Act?

No, generally a non-profit organization does not come under the purview of the Federal Freedom of Information Act, as this applies only to federal government agencies.

How would the Freedom of Information Act be applied to issues pertaining to the states, especially in the state of California?

The federal Freedom of Information Act has a corresponding law in each state. In California, this is known as the Public Records Act. You may go to the following website for more information:
http://ag.ca.gov/publications/summary_public_records_act.pdf

Can someone use the Freedom of Information Act to get copies of the police reports? What procedure does one have to follow?

One can get in touch with the local precinct for a FOIL form to fill out and submit, after which it will take about 4 to 8 weeks to obtain the necessary papers. The other option is to file a lawsuit where the court concerned will issue a subpoena.

Even though there is a "Freedom of Information Act", why can’t one view the healthcare legislation on the internet?

This is because Congress does not fall under the purview of the FOIA. Only agencies and departments which are of the executive branch departments, agencies, and offices, federal regulatory agencies and federal corporations are subject to the FIOA. In addition to Congress, the federal courts, and parts of the Executive Office of the President which function solely to advise and assist the President, do not come under the purview of the FOIA.

Is it possible for a person to request information regarding his or her retirement records in Louisiana from the Retirement System?

The Act has no provision for a person to view his or her retirement records as these do not come under the category of public records. However, since an individual is the “subject” of these records, the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System can be requested to furnish the relevant records.

Information pertaining to requesting public records from the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System can be got here.

The Freedom of Information Act is one of those laws which reflect the tremendous freedom people have in a democracy though there are agencies and departments which are not subject to the Act. When one is seeking certain information and is unsure whether or not the department or agency falls under the purview of the Freedom of Information Act, an Expert is available in most cases to answer questions and clarify doubts. What’s more, asking an Expert can also be faster and more affordable than not seeking answers.
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