ProPublica, which conducts journalism in the public interest and uses FOIA and other transparency laws more than most national media ventures has this summary of roadblocks its writers have encountered with gaining access to records.
The Sixth Circuit has joined all other federal circuits that have ruled on the issue of whether mug shots taken by the federal government need to be released via FOIA requests and decided that the privacy of the individual overrides any public interest in the photo. The Detroit Free Press brought the case and has more here.
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that emails maintained on private email accounts can still be subject to FOIA - the Washington Post has more on the decision.
This is an evolving issue that arises when government officials do official government business on private emails. The issue has arisen for over the past decade and has spanned multiple presidential administrations.
The way to stop this from happening in the first place is strong Record Management policies including training of ALL agency officials, hopefully on their first day in office. Knowledge of the proper way to retain records, including the use of email, will cause many problems to not occur in the first place as well as increase transparency in the government.
Politico has this on the rapid increase in the State Department's FOIA backlog - I really believe this goes well beyond FOIA Operations staff. State Department Management needs to address the issue by rapidly increasing resources to the FOIA staff. Readers of this blog know I've offered suggestions on things they can do (create a special task force outside of FOIA to address the records issue emails, hire actual FOIA trained personnel from outside State Department to process FOIA records, etc...). Problems at this agency have been around for over a decade and span numerous presidential administrations - this is the culmination of what occurs when non appointed but high level agency management fail to pay attention to FOIA matters.
Attendance is going fast for the ASAP National Training Conference in Arlington, Virginia on July 18-20. Those agencies with training money for 2016 have no better value than this event. Registration details can be found here.
The National Law Review has this summary of the changes to the FOIA in the new law. Rumor has it that the law will be sent to the White House in time for a signing to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the FOIA on July 4th.
Update: The bill has been sent to the White House and the timing will allow it to be signed on July 4th.