Mar 17, 2023 - News
FOIA Friday: Sunshine Week spotlights Michigan's darkness
It's Sunshine Week — the perfect time to assess Michigan's Freedom of Information Act and efforts to make it more transparent.
- The week, a national tradition since 2005, is for public records advocacy and government secrecy exposition.
Why it matters: Michigan and Massachusetts are the only two states that fully exempt the governor and state lawmakers from FOIA requests, Bridge Michigan reports.
- That means elected state leaders can conduct much of their business while keeping taxpayers and reporters unable to fully understand their inner workings.
Between the lines: The state exemptions are just one flaw of Michigan's FOIA.
- The law also permits high fees and long wait times, which can prevent public disclosure of government documents.
What's next: FOIA reform legislation that would close loopholes will be passed in a matter of months, Sen. Jeremy Moss, a Democrat from Southfield, told Bridge.
- FOIA Reform packages have thrice garnered bipartisan support since 2015 — only to die in the Senate.
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