Mississippi to shorten request response time

I see the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill to shorten the amount of time an agency has to respond to a records request, from 14 days to seven days (see story).

“Right now it’s 14 days, two weeks; that’s about the longest in the country and frankly in most cases it’s too long to wait,” Mississippi state Sen. David Blount said.

Yeah, he’s right. Fourteen days is WAY too long to get a simple response. So why does the most powerful government in the world need 20 days to respond to a FOIA request? Time to change the response time at the federal level too.

I’ve found in my research that five days is reasonable. In Arizona, where there is no statutory deadline for response, agencies respond on average in about five days (when I sent requests to all school districts and all law enforcement agencies). If Arizona had a seven-day deadline it is likely we would get responses even later. In my opinion, any statutory deadline longer than five days is bad for citizens. There should either be no deadline or make it three business days. After all, it doesn’t take that long to look at a request and then provide a response, even if it is “we need another week or two to round up the records.”

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