Far from perfect, but ‘better than nothing,’ says Michigan coalition director of bill touted as a transparency measure

Unlike lawmakers in most states, Michigan legislators aren’t required to disclose their financial interests. A bipartisan bill would change that — kind of. The bill would require lawmakers to disclose their financial information to a legislative committee, which would be exempt from the state’s Open Meetings and Freedom of Information acts. Only if the committee…

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Michigan Supreme Court splits on whether records held by university library are public

The Michigan Supreme Court deadlocked April 9, 2021, on whether records possessed by a University of Michigan library are considered public, The Detroit News reported. The 3-3 ruling allows an immigration lawyer to move forward with a public records request for documents donated to the university by an anti-immigration activist. In 2010, Dr. John Tanton…

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FOIA expansion among things to watch during Michigan’s lame-duck session

The House passed laws in September that would expand the state's Freedom of Information Act, which allows citizens to access records, to the governor's office. The bills would also subject the legislature to a separate Legislative Open Records Act. Currently neither the governor or legislature are subject to FOIA.

While the bills passed the House easily, there seems to be less appetite in the Senate, where they've been referred to the Government Operations Committee. That committee has a reputation around the capitol for being where bills go to die.

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House votes to expand Michigan FOIA law

The state House passed a package of bills Wednesday that for the first time in Michigan would subject the governor's office and the Legislature to state open records laws.

The Free Press reported in 2014 that Michigan was one of only two states in which both the governor and the Legislature have blanket exemptions from public records disclosure laws.

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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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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.

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