Wednesday, December 27, 2017

SEC proposes FOIA regs revamp

By Lene Powell, J.D.

The SEC is seeking comment on proposed amendments to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations. The amendments would reflect changes required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 and update and clarify other procedural provisions. Comments will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Required changes. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 amended FOIA to address various procedural issues, including records format, timelines, and appeals. The SEC proposes to make four changes to conform its regulations to the Act:
  • Revise Section 200.80(a) to provide that, for records that FOIA requires to be made available for public inspection, they will be made available in electronic format.
  • Revise Section 200.80(c) relating to grounds for request denial, including that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption.
  • Revise provisions relating to assistance from Office of FOIA Services’ FOIA Public Liaisons and dispute resolution.
  • Revise Section 200.80(g) relating to fee waivers.
Updates and clarifications. The proposed amendments would also make numerous other procedural changes, including updates and clarifications relating to submission methods, the 20-day statutory time limit for responses, and aggregation of related requests.