Package of government transparency bills clears Michigan House panel

A package of bills to make the governor and Legislature subject to Michigan public record laws was reported out of a House committee in a unanimous vote Thursday, and the committee chairman said he is hopeful it will pass the full Legislature before legislators takes their summer break.

Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, said the package of bills "potentially puts Michigan at the forefront for government transparency." Continue…

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Mackinac Center and Sierra Club Call For More Transparency in Michigan Government

The Mackinac Center and Sierra Club often hold different positions on policy, but have come together to call for a more transparent and accountable government. The Detroit Free Press recently published an op-ed written by David Holtz, chairman of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, and Michael Reitz, executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

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Editorial: Body camera footage is public

Body cameras are about accountability. They are good for citizens and they are good for police officers.

Especially important in the wake of recent encounters that resulted in death, officers who wear body cameras can provide greater accountability to the people they protect — and at the same time protect themselves from false accusations.

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Michigan – Grand Haven Twp. prepares for FOIA changes

“The state Legislature made some changes to the Freedom of Information Act (at the end of 2014),” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “These were the first major changes since the act was instituted.”

The impending changes include significant new requirements for municipalities and will change how the township responds to requests for information. According to Cargo, changes of this magnitude are unprecedented in FOIA’s nearly 40-year history.

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Oil, gas pipeline information could become secret under Michigan bill

A bill introduced in the Michigan legislature seeks to keep information secret about oil and gas pipelines, high-powered electrical lines and other key energy infrastructure.

The bill from Republican state Rep. Kurt Heise of Plymouth would exempt from disclosure under the state's Freedom of Information Act any information about existing and proposed energy infrastructure that "could be useful to a person in planning an attack," the Detroit Free Press reported.

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Michigan Legislature: Bills focus on roads, transparency

Limits on transparency in government and the germs of plans to fund road improvements began emerging in bills introduced by members of the state House of Representatives and Senate last week.

One bill would exempt information about pipeline and energy infrastructure from Freedom of Information laws, while another would exempt certain state boards from Open Meetings Act requirements.

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Michigan bill would exempt some police body cam footage from FOIA

A bill pending in the Michigan Legislature would exempt some footage from police body-cams, which are currently being tested in Detroit, from public record request in the state.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake Township), comes as police departments across the U.S. have faced increased scrutiny in wake of the deaths of Walter Scott in South Carolina, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York. All three were unarmed black males who died at the hands of white police officers.

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