[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 189 (Monday, October 2, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 45679-45680]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21071]

Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 


Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 189 / Monday, October 2, 2017 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 45679]]


12 CFR Part 271

Rules Regarding Availability of Information

AGENCY: Federal Open Market Committee, Federal Reserve System.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Federal Open Market Committee (``Committee'') is 
finalizing its interim final rule amending the Committee's regulations 
under the Freedom of Information Act (``FOIA''). The FOIA Improvement 
Act of 2016 (``Improvement Act'') amended the FOIA and required each 
federal agency to review its FOIA regulations and to issue certain 
revisions by December 27, 2016. Substantive revisions to the 
Committee's Rules Regarding Availability of Information (``Rules'') 
were made to conform to the Improvement Act, and the Committee made 
other technical changes to the Rules in order to clarify the existing 
procedures for requesting information and to update contact 
information. The interim final rule became effective on December 27, 
2016. This rulemaking finalizes the interim rule with minor edits for 
consistency and clarification.

DATES: This final rule is effective on November 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew M. Luecke, Deputy Secretary, 
(202) 452-2576, Federal Open Market Committee, 20th Street and 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551; or Amory Goldberg, 
Counsel, (202) 452-3124, Legal Division, Board of Governors of the 
Federal Reserve System, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20551. Users of Telecommunications Device for Deaf (TDD) 
only, please call (202) 263-4869.


I. Overview of Final Rule

    On December 27, 2016, the Committee published an interim final rule 
\1\ amending its existing Rules found at 12 CFR part 271, in order to 
comply with the statutory changes required by the FOIA Improvement Act 
of 2016 (``Improvement Act'').\2\ Substantive amendments to the 
Committee's Rules, which were required by the Improvement Act, included 
revising the Committee's procedures for disclosing records under the 
FOIA, assessing fees, and notifying requestors of options for resolving 
disputes through the Committee's FOIA Public Liaison and the Office of 
Government Information Services (``OGIS'') within the National Archives 
and Records Administration. In addition, the Committee made certain 
technical changes to the Rules to make the FOIA process easier for the 
public to navigate, such as making certain provisions clearer (removing 
obsolete language) and informing the public of additional electronic 
methods for submitting FOIA requests and administrative appeals. The 
interim final rule became effective on December 27, 2016, and the 
Committee accepted comments through February 27, 2017. The Committee is 
finalizing the interim rule with minor changes to paragraph (h)(3) of 
section 271.6 in response to a public comment.

    \1\ 81 FR 94934 (Dec. 27, 2016).
    \2\ Public Law 114-185, 130 Stat. 538 (enacted June 30, 2016).

II. Summary of Public Comments and Final Rule

    Interested persons were afforded the opportunity to participate in 
the rulemaking process through submission of written comments on the 
interim final rule during the open comment period. The Committee 
received one comment on the interim final rule from OGIS. OGIS asked 
the Committee to revise paragraph (h)(3) of section 271.6 of the Rules 
to require that a determination letter on an appeal inform appellants 
of the availability of OGIS's dispute resolution services. Although not 
required by the FOIA statute, this change is consistent with guidance 
issued by the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy. 
Accordingly, the Committee has determined to edit the language in 
paragraph (h)(3) of section 271.6 to notify an appealing party of the 
availability of OGIS's dispute resolution services as a nonexclusive 
alternative to litigation.
    The Committee has determined not to adopt two other suggestions by 
OGIS. OGIS's proposed amendment would add a statement that ``[d]ispute 
resolution is a voluntary process.'' This sentence appears to be 
unnecessary and repetitive given that the Committee is already advising 
appellants that dispute resolution services are available as a 
``nonexclusive alternative to litigation.'' OGIS also proposed language 
stating that the Committee will ``actively engage as a partner to the 
process in an attempt to resolve the dispute'' if the Committee 
participates in the OGIS dispute resolution process. Although active 
engagement in attempting to resolve a FOIA dispute is of course not 
unreasonable, the proposed sentence could create additional legal 
obligations not required under the FOIA or by the statutory amendments 
to the FOIA. Accordingly, aside from adding in language regarding the 
availability of OGIS's dispute resolution services as a nonexclusive 
alternative to litigation, the Committee is adopting section 
271.6(h)(3) in the final rule without any further change.

III. Regulatory Requirements

    As the Committee noted in publishing the interim final rule, 
Congress required that the substantive changes to the Committee's Rules 
under the Improvement Act become effective by December 27, 2016, and 
the other amendments to the Committee's Rules were technical in nature. 
Thus, the Committee determined that the prior notice and comment 
requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b), did 
not apply to the rule. Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is 
required, these regulations are not a ``rule'' as defined by the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601(2), and no initial or final 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 271

    Federal Open Market Committee, Freedom of information.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, the 
Committee is adopting the interim final

[[Page 45680]]

rule published on December 27, 2016, at 81 FR 94934, as final with the 
following change:


1. The authority citation for part 271 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552; 12 U.S.C. 263.

2. In Sec.  271.6, paragraph (h)(3) is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  271.6  Processing requests.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (3) The Committee, or such member of the Committee as is delegated 
the authority, shall make a determination regarding any appeal within 
20 working days of actual receipt of the appeal by the Secretary. If an 
adverse determination is upheld on appeal, in whole or in part, the 
determination letter shall notify the appealing party of the right to 
seek judicial review and of the availability of dispute resolution 
services from the Office of Government Information Services as a 
nonexclusive alternative to litigation.

    By order of the Federal Open Market Committee, September 19, 
Brian F. Madigan,
Secretary, Federal Open Market Committee.
[FR Doc. 2017-21071 Filed 9-29-17; 8:45 am]