Editorial: In Michigan, FOIA law needs drastic change

The recent experience of Salem High School journalism student Chris Robbins and the more than $8,000 bill he would face leaves a distinctly chilling effect on the people’s right to know and casts doubt on government’s claims of transparency.

The incident provides an example of the daily grinding away of democracy. It also indicates a problem with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Three actions are necessary to ensure government transparency.

The first is a major change in Michigan FOIA that not only makes the law user-friendly, but allows members of the public to request and receive information, including emails, from public bodies without having to mortgage their lives. Continue…