This week, Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) and Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) introduced legislation expanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include the governor’s office and the Legislature. The bills remove the current FOIA exemptions for the governor, lieutenant governor, and executive office employees and create a new part to the act, the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), which would subject the Legislature to the disclosure provisions of FOIA. Records that are currently exempt from FOIA would remain exempt, as would communications between constituents and legislators. The two bills were referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration. “There is a similar bill package passed by the House on Thursday. While all the House members that were present voted unanimously to approve the package, some of their counterparts in the Senate have expressed concerns with proposals expanding FOIA and creating LORA,” said Tim Ward, of MLC.
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