FOIA Friday: New legislation to clarify Michigan's public records law
New legislation aims to clarify the state's public records law in order to ensure access to documents kept by public workers.
Flashback: The proposal follows a recent court ruling dismissing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking teacher lesson plans, assignments and other records related to a class at Rochester High School, History of Ethnic and Gender Studies.
- The ruling made a distinction between records kept by a public body and its employees.
- "Since the court finds public school district teachers are not 'public bodies,' therefore their papers and work product are not 'public records' under FOIA," the judge wrote.
Why it matters: Michigan's FOIA would be further narrowed if the ruling — which is already under appeal — stands.
Between the lines: The legislation expands the definition of a public record to include those kept by public workers.
- Companion bills were introduced in the Senate and House by Republican lawmakers from Rochester Hills, according to the Detroit News.
What's next: We'll be following the bills, which have been referred to each chamber's judiciary committee.
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