FOIA Bills get House Committee Hearing

Posted on September 25, 2012 by sharkins

Today in committee, the Michigan Municipal League and its members opposed HBs 5879 and 5895. These two bills dealing with FOIA were up in the Michigan House Oversight, Reform and Ethics committee for testimony only. Abigail Elias, Chief Assistant Attorney from Ann Arbor, Mike Fisher. Assistant City Attorney from Livonia and Elizabeth White, Deputy City Attorney from Grand Rapids all testified in opposition to HB 5789 and HB 5895 and addressed the many problems that these bills would have for their communities.

Among the changing provisions in HB 5879, is that it limits the cost of copying records to 10 cents per page, prohibits communities from charging a copying fee for on-site inspection of public records, states that a deposit from the requestor cannot exceed $500, and now allows a requestor to appeal the fees charged by a community in addition to appealing a denial of request.

HB 5895  would also amend FOIA by creating a nine-member Open Government Commission, which would fall within the Department of Civil Rights, to investigate complaints about violations of FOIA. The commission would be made up of an appointee made by the Senate Majority Leader, and the Minority Leader, the House Speaker and House Minority Leader, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan Press Association would get two members each and one member would be appointed by the Governor. 

 These bills are expected to remain in the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics committee until the Legislature returns after the November elections.

Jason Mancini works for the Michigan Municipal League handling Municipal Services. He can be reached at 517.908.0303 or by email at [email protected]

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