This week the House of Representatives, by voice vote, approved H.R. 6575, the “Over-Classification Reduction Act.” The legislation directs the Archivist of the United States, in consultation with the heads of affected agencies, to promulgate regulations to prevent the over-classification of information throughout the federal government. The Archivist is charged with clarifying when classified products should be prepared in a standard format and when classified products should be prepared in an unclassified format.
This week, OpenTheGovernment.org released its fifth annual report on indicators of government secrecy. The 2008 Secrecy Report Card shows both a continued expansion of government secrecy across a broad array of agencies and actions and some movement toward more openness and accountability, particularly in the Congress.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), recently announced plans to lease a new built-to-suit facility in St. Louis, MO to replace the Military Personnel Records Center and a portion of the Civilian Personnel Records Center. Initial occupancy of the new building is scheduled for March 2010.
Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein recently announced the appointment of John Hamilton to the position of Director of Congressional Affairs for the National Archives. Mr. Hamilton will assume his new position on September 15, 2008.
The National Endowment for the Humanities, in cooperation with the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office, recently announced that applications are being accepted for the sixth We the People Bookshelf project. Part of the NEH’s We the People program, the Bookshelf encourages young people to read and understand great literature while exploring themes in American history.