Jane Briggs-Bunting, ‘fearless’ journalist and Michigan coalition founder, dies at 70

Jane Briggs-Bunting, a journalist, educator and First Amendment champion who co-founded the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, died Tuesday, March 23 at age 70. “Jane didn’t shy away from fights that needed to be fought,” former student Meg O’Brien told the Detroit Free Press. “She emphasized that journalism wasn’t a popularity contest and trained us…

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Michigan open government group names first executive director as Sunshine Week nears

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Coalition for Open Government (MiCOG) has selected Steve Delie as its first executive director, bringing on board an attorney who specializes in open government issues at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to further MiCOG’s mission of making government more accountable to citizens. The appointment comes just before the start…

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Michigan State Police launches new Transparency and Accountability webpage

Michigan State Police launched a new Transparency and Accountability webpage on Friday aimed to provide easy access to information about the administration and operation of the MSP. Information includes department policies, strategic plan, training requirements, recruiting and staffing numbers and use of force and traffic stop data. Additionally, Director Col. Joe Gasper said there will…

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Ann Arbor City Council to provide lead water pipe information after FOIA request

As the result of a unanimous vote by the Ann Arbor City Council at a recent meeting, the City now has to disclose information regarding where lead materials have been used in the Ann Arbor water system. At last Monday’s meeting, councilmembers gave city staff until the end of the year to produce the information, which identifies…

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Unusual request for 2016 ballots worries Michigan election officials

A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for copies of ballots from 2016 originally puzzled Michigan election officials and is causing some concern as the group behind the request explains its motives.   A few weeks ago, city and township clerks across Michigan received FOIA requests from someone claiming to be “Emily”, asking clerks…

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Michigan city and township officials respond to FOIA from ‘Emily’

City and township officials in Mason County and across the state were rocked last week by a mysterious Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all copies of all Election Day ballots and personal absentee voter information from the 2016 presidential election. The request came from an organization called United Impact Group with a listed…

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Michigan bipartisan bill to make governor, lawmakers subject to open records law in doubt

Backers of a measure to open the executive branch and Legislature to greater public disclosure had to be heartened by its unanimous approval last week by a House committee.

But whether the 10-bill package to extend Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act to the governor’s office and Lansing legislators has a shot at becoming law this year seems less than a sure bet.  Continue…

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Sen. Casey (MI) Presses State for Transparency In Effort to Purge Voter Rolls

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele pressing the state government to engage in a transparent process as it participates in an effort to purge voter rolls.

The state is participating in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.

In his letter, Casey cited previous efforts by the state Administration to restrict access to the ballot through the state’s voter ID law in making the case for a transparent process that instills public confidence.

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Bills in Michigan State House Would Exempt Firearm Records from FOIA

The Michigan House will soon consider bills that exempt firearm records from the Freedom of Information Act.

The bills also set up a method for law enforcement to obtain the records if it's needed for investigation purposes, although the bill says they would have to detail "reasonable suspicion" before they could gain access.

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