From Michigan Coalition for Open Government: Most government officials and politicians will agree in public that the work of government should be transparent so citizens can judge whether money is being spent wisely and decisions are being made properly.
But the reality is that getting your hands on specific government information isn’t always easy, even when the law says it should be available.
A bill proposed in the Michigan Legislature, House Bill 4001, would amend the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to make that information more accessible by limiting fees and discouraging delays.
The Michigan Coalition for Open Government (MiCOG) strongly endorses the legislation and believes that the bill would help promote transparency and accountability in state and local government. It applauds Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, for introducing the bill.
Although Michigan’s FOIA law rightfully requires much information to be available, the law is being undermined by officials who block access to public information by wrongly denying requests, unnecessarily delaying the release of information or charging too much for searches or copies.
Delays that hold up the release of information until after an election is held or an important public policy is set can lead to bad governance and decision-making. And officials who want to keep information secret or complain it takes too much staff time to fill a public records request know that charging high fees to track down or copy public records is often an effective way to stop a request dead in its tracks.
Here are some ways House Bill 4001, if passed by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, would help: …
Visit Michigan Coalition for Open Government for more.