The Government Printing Office (GPO) has operated as the sole clearinghouse and manager of most federal documents for years. The GPO is responsible not only for overseeing the printing of the multitude of documents produced by the federal government each year, much of which is contracted out to private printers, but also for ensuring that the documents are properly archived with federal depository libraries.
On July 23, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced the creation of a new Office of Citizen Services and Communications that will incorporate the Office of FirstGov, which oversees the federal government’s web portal, the Information Technology Office and the Intergovernmental Solutions Office. GSA Administrator Stephen Perry promised that the new office will serve as a "single front door to the services and information" the public requires in the medium it prefers.
On the first anniversary of the implementation of a key federal law designed to improve technology access for all persons with, and within, federal agencies, questions and concerns about the level of compliance continue to loom.
The secrecy proposal began in President Bush’s proposal for the creation of a new Homeland Security Department as a single vague and overly broad sentence describing a new FOIA exemption for information concerning “infrastructure” and “vulnerabilities” that was “voluntarily submitted.” Numerous information provisions which go much further have now been proposed to replace this section of Homeland Security Act.
Hearings continue in both the House and Senate on the Administration’s Homeland Security proposal. Since introducing the President’s proposal to create a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, has testified almost nonstop before numerous congressional committees. Yet even with these many hearings on the biggest bureaucratic reshuffling in decades the President’s bill seems to have avoided serious criticism from Congress.
In 1999, President Clinton signed the Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act (P.L. 106-40), and also directed the Justice Department (DOJ) to conduct a study of site security at chemical plants. An interim report on the study was due August 5, 2000, and the final report was to be completed by August of 2002. DOJ missed the first deadline, offering a lack of funding as the excuse for not getting the interim report out on time.
The Senate unanimously passed legislation on June 27 that pushes the federal government to provide greater Internet access to information and services, authorizing $345 million over the next four years for an e-government fund, just one part of the bill.
The administration opposed this legislation (S. 803, the E-Government Act) as originally introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), but negotiations over the last year led to a compromise agreement and cleared the way for passage.