Advance Notice: Briefs

Senate panel to take up long-stalled bipartisan FOIA reform bills

By: - September 14, 2020 6:03 pm

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

Government transparency bills from an unlikely pair of lawmakers have managed to score a Senate hearing, after many years of the chamber resisting their calls to consider the legislation.

State Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) drafted the first iteration of the large bill package together when they served in the state House six years ago. Both have been vocal about the need for Michigan to improve its transparency laws, which are ranked among the worst in the nation.

The Senate Oversight Committee — chaired by McBroom — plans to take up the legislation at 2 p.m. Tuesday. That will include his and Moss’ Senate bills 833-842, along with concurrent House bills 4007-4016. All bills have a lengthy list of sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

The House passed its package last year.

Currently, both the Legislature and governor’s office in Michigan are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The new transparency bills would modify those exemptions and create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) as part of FOIA.

In a Twitter video posted by Moss on Monday, he and McBroom discuss their legislation that has now been six years in the making.

“We’re really excited to move this legislation forward and bring more transparency to the people of Michigan,” McBroom said.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).