FOIA reform a good thing for citizens

The Michigan House recently approved legislation (House Bill 4001) to improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request process, amending current law to establish a more uniformed structure for fees, clarifying procedures for public bodies and updating penalties.
Apr 4, 2014

What does this mean for citizens? It will provide Michigan citizens with a more equitable, clearly defined and understandable process for FOIA requests, and makes it easier for citizens to obtain access to public records. 

If citizens are expected to trust but verify governmental agencies, the system has to allow for reasonable access to public records. Inflated costs, administrative fees and unnecessary processing delays are tactics that many agencies use to discourage citizens and the media from gathering information.

This legislation is a great start in providing FOIA reform. We would encourage legislators not to rest on this issue until residents are afforded the access they deserve.

Governmental agencies need to remember that their salaries and benefits are provided by taxpayer dollars. From city and county offices to state legislators, they work for us, and the time and cost to access public records should be inexpensive and easy. 

An effective government is a transparent government, and that’s something we don’t often hear about these days.

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