Number:  113-27                                                                   
Date:  November 17, 2014                      

House Passes H.R. 1233,
the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014

On November 12, 2014, the House passed H.R. 1233, the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, as amended by the Senate, by voice vote.  The bill would amend procedures for the disclosure of Presidential records and management of Federal agency records.  On September 10, 2014, the Senate passed the measure, by unanimous consent.  The bill now goes to the President for his action. 

Following are provisions of interest to SSA:

  • Would allow the Archivist of the United States to direct and effect the transfer of permanent records1 of a Federal agency as soon as practicable and at a time mutually agreed upon by the Archivist and a Federal agency not later than 30 years after the creation or receipt of such records by that agency.  Such records could be retained longer if the head of the agency certifies in writing to the Archivist the need to use the records for regular business purposes.
  • Would authorize the Archivist, in consultation with the head of a Federal agency, to accept a copy of an agency’s permanent records that have been in existence for less than 30 years. 
  • Would require Federal agencies to notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened removal or destruction of records2 maintained by the agency, and initiate action through the Attorney General for the recovery of such records.  Would require the Archivist to request the Attorney General to initiate such action, and notify Congress of the request, if an agency does not initiate action within a reasonable period of time after notifying the Archivist.       
  • Would expand Federal records to explicitly include electronic or digital forms or characteristics for the purposes of: 1) defining recorded information, which comprises part of the definition of records; 2) Archivist determinations of what information is a record, which would be binding on all Federal agencies; 3) lists and schedules of records for agency disposal or transfer to the Archivist; and 4) photos of original records. 
  • Would prohibit Federal agency employees or officers from creating or sending a record from their non-employer electronic messaging account unless they:
    • Copy their employer electronic messaging account in the original creation or transmission of the record; or
    • Forward a complete copy of the record to their employer electronic messaging account not later than 20 days after the original creation or transmission of the record.

Would provide for disciplinary action for intentional violation of this requirement.

  • Would define an electronic messaging account as any account that sends electronic mail and other communications between individuals from an electronic messaging system. 
  • Would be effective upon enactment.


1 Permanent records are records of sufficient historical value or other value to warrant their continued preservation by the United States Government to the National Archives.

2 44 USC 3301 defines “records” as including recorded information, “regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved ... as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of their informational value.”