Charles Hill: Bills would help keep Michigan government honest

From Detroit Free Press: Most government officials and politicians will agree in public that the work of government should be transparent so that 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, introduced by Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, and says that the bill would help promote transparency and accountability in state and local government.


A substitute version of House Bill 4001, known as H-4 after some changes, has been approved unanimously in committee and sent to the full House. Here are some ways that the substitute bill, if passed by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, would help: …

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Charles Hill is a member of the board of directors of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government and a former Michigan bureau chief for The Associated Press. The Michigan Coalition for Open Government is a member of NFOIC. –eds