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FOIA

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

A bill in the state House would eliminate fees for getting documents under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.  The bill would also give public entities only ten calendar days to comply with a FOIA request.

The bill was introduced by State Representative LaTanya Garrett (D-7th District).

One group that's been fighting for better FOIA laws says the bill may go too far. Jarett Skorup is with the free-market think tank, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Stack of documents
moppet65535 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed a lawsuit on Friday in the Michigan Court of Claims. It claims the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) ignored an information request. The Mackinac Center says it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for files on a person licensed by the state.

Jarrett Skorup is with the Mackinac Center. Skorup says LARA had posted the documents online but he claims the department then took them down.

The Trump Administration's budget would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Today on Stateside, the Michigan House and Senate both passed bills this week that would allow drivers to opt out of the unlimited medical benefits mandated by current law. But critics say that giving up those benefits would do more harm than good. Plus, we talk to the author of a murder mystery novel that takes place on a fictional Michigan university campus.

Picture of the Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in the state House unanimously passed a group of bills they say will make state government more transparent.  The bills would, in some cases, open the governor’s office up to freedom of information requests. They would also create a new Legislative Open Records Act to allow for some records requests from state lawmakers.

Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) is a bill sponsor. She says Michigan is one of only two states that doesn’t allow for records requests from the governor and Legislature.

“It was necessary for us to be like everyone else and make government more accountable to the state of Michigan,” says Rendon.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

Progress Michigan is calling attention to a bipartisan package of bills that's been introduced in the state Legislature.

House Bills 4007-4016 call for expanding Freedom of Information Act Requests to the governor's office, and opening up the Michigan Legislature to those requests through a new proposed act.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Republican leader in the state Senate may be an obstacle to a push to make the governor and legislature more transparent.

Michigan’s state government routinely gets low marks for transparency. Michigan is one of just two states that doesn't apply Freedom of Information Act rules to all of its elected officials.

picture of Michigan legislative chambers
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature could tackle a topic this term that it couldn’t get past the state Senate before. Some lawmakers – including new leaders – are making transparency a priority.

Last term, the state House unanimously voted to open the governor’s office and the Legislature up to Freedom of Information Act requests. But they ran into a major obstacle in the Senate.

Incoming Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) was a Representative last term.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Open-records disclosures can no longer include information on cybersecurity plans and vulnerabilities in Michigan.

An unlikely hero for Michigan journalists

Mar 15, 2018
FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

There’s nothing wrong with having principles. Not everyone does; back in the bad old days, there was a U.S. Senator from the South who supposedly used to tell audiences, “Well, them there’s my positions, and if you don’t like ‘em – well, I can change ‘em.”

Detroit skyline.
Derek Gauci / Wikimedia Commons

Detroit and the state of Michigan pulled out the stops in their unsuccessful bid to lure Amazon and its second headquarters to the Motor City. But the full extent of that effort, including how much of the public's money and property city and state leaders were willing to give up, is a secret, and it’s likely to stay that way.

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Government bodies should be under a firm deadline to turn over documents that citizens have requested under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act, according to Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland.  

Glenn said he plans to introduce legislation in January that would make that happen.

On December 12, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion that the current FOIA law does not set a timetable for the government to release requested documents.

Glenn said this means the government can take as long as it wants to fill a FOIA request.

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

We once had a President who believed anything he did was legal, just because he was President, and that he had the right to keep anything from the public he wanted to.

His name was Richard Nixon, he attempted to lead a vast criminal cover-up, and in the end, that didn’t work out too well. He was driven from office in disgrace, largely because even top members of his own party believed America was meant to be a democracy.

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The dean of Michigan State University's school of osteopathy, who supervised former sports Dr. Larry Nassar, is stepping down. Lawsuits filed against the university by alleged victims and their families say William Strampel and other MSU officials ignored warnings that Nassar was a predator. MSU says Strampel is resigning as dean for "medical reasons" and will remain on the faculty.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether we'll see more stories like this from MSU in the coming weeks and months.


Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This week, Vice News released the results of a thorough, nine-month investigation into police shootings nationwide.

If you look at it in map form, you’ll see an empty gray box near the top-center, signifying “unknown.” That’s Detroit.