This week, the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee reported a bipartisan bill package expanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the executive branch and creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) for the legislature. LORA is modeled after FOIA and much of the same language found in FOIA, is in LORA. The package does provide protections for communications between a legislator and a constituent and limits the amount of information that is subject to the acts, when the information requested is from something that results in a public presentation. “For example, the Governors yearly budget presentation is a public presentation, therefore some of the work product and drafts that were completed to get to the final presentation may be exempt from FOIA,” explained Brendan Ringlever of MLC. To ensure a similar process is taken when a person or entity requests information under LORA, both the House and Senate will each have a coordinator. There would be costs associated with the requests of information and records, similar to the current costs found in FOIA. The bill package has been sent to the House floor for consideration.
Currently, Michigan is one of only two states that has a blanket exemption from FOIA for the executive and legislative branches.
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