Michigan government entities stymie FOIA requests to hide information

From Michigan Capitol Confidential:  The Michigan Department of Education said the least expensive employee able to fulfill a specific Freedom of Information Act request has a total compensation of $116,917 a year.

In 2009, the Michigan State Police said in a FOIA response to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that materials related to the spending of Homeland Security grants would cost $6.8 million.

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Freedom of Information bills go before Michigan House panel

From Lansing State Journal:  Michigan lawmakers say they’re trying to find middle ground between citizens, journalists, businesses and advocacy organizations who want easier, less costly access to public information and the local governments and law enforcement agencies that say transparency laws are too burdensome.

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Michigan House Democrats push for changes to ethics, election laws during ‘Sunshine Week’

From Michigan Radio:

It’s Sunshine Week, an annual push for open government and the public’s right to know stuff.

Democrats in the state House tied the introduction of a package of bills to Sunshine Week. The bills include a number of changes to Michigan’s laws and constitution regarding ethics, campaign finance, and elections.

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Dear Michigan officeholder: A letter from campaign finance expert during Sunshine Week

From mLive.com:

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” — Luke 12: 48

Dear State Officeholder:

Please set aside the archaic sexism of the verse I’ve quoted to introduce this letter. Our world has evolved, I know, but I thought this bit of scripture was superbly eloquent in capturing much of the reason we’re observing Sunshine Week.

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Ruth Johnson offers Sunshine Week push for more election transparency in Michigan

From Detroit Free Press:

LANSING — Michigan’s top elections official wants to require political campaigns to report financial contributions within 48 hours after they receive them, one of several proposals aimed at giving voters nearly real-time information about the money behind the candidates.

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Michigan woman’s failed FOIA request case could result in bigger award, appeals court rules

From Detroit Free Press:

LANSING — When Nancy Prins sent the Michigan State Police a Freedom of Information Act request in July 2008, asking for police video of her May traffic stop, she was told it was not available because the department only keeps such videos for 30 days.

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Improving Transparency in Michigan

From Sunshine Week:

Welcome to Sunshine Week, and no, I am not talking about the fickle weather in the state. I am talking about the public’s right and responsibility to keep an eye on what our government at the local, state and federal level are up to from our legislators to our bureaucrats, school boards, state universities, teachers, mayors, managers, department heads, council members, cops and others.

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