MI State Legislators’ Vote Report 07-15-22
How your Representatives and Senators in Lansing recently voted. Contact information is included at the end.
MichiganVotes Weekly Report: July 15, 2022
The Michigan House and Senate remain in recess until July 20, so rather than votes, this report describes some recently introduced bills proposing changes to the state's Freedom of Information Act, which was enacted in 1976 to make government records accessible to the public.
House Bill 5921: Ban shifting the reason for denying open records request Introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R), to prohibit a public body that is being sued for violating records disclosure requirements in the state Freedom Of Information Act from producing a new reason for having denied a document request that is different from the first reason it claimed. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5923: Close “no such record exists” loophole in Freedom Of Information Act Introduced by Rep. Greg Van Woerkom (R), to require government entities that deny a Freedom Of Information Act records request to acknowledge that a record exists, generally describe it, and fully explain the grounds for each exemption claimed. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5925: Close “doesn’t benefit public” loophole in Freedom Of Information Act Introduced by Rep. Bryan Posthumus (R), to establish that if a public body determines that its searching for or furnishing a public record in response to a Freedom Of Information Act request “cannot be considered as primarily benefiting the general public,” this determination may be challenged in court on the grounds that the resulting fee exceeds the amount allowable by law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5924: Make government “working groups” subject to Freedom Of Information Act Introduced by Rep. Andrew Fink (R), to establish that the identity of members in a “working group” assembled by government entities for various purposes is subject to disclosure under the state Freedom Of Information Act. This applies to the names and contact information of a group’s members, including a public body’s employees, contractors, advisors, consultants, or vendors assembled to assist in deliberating toward or rendering a decision. Also, to establish that a public record in the possession of a public body's outside legal counsel is subject to disclosure, subject to the usual content exemptions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5693: Require requestor confidentiality on open records law requests Introduced by Rep. Pat Outman (R), to require that state and local government “Freedom Of Information Act Coordinators” must process requests “in a manner that, to the fullest extent reasonably possible, prevents disclosure of the request or its contents to any person except as necessary” to assemble the requested records. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 5532: Tighten open-records law response deadlines Introduced by Rep. Jack O'Malley (R), to make “binding” the time estimates state agencies must give for fulfilling Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) records requests as required by law. Under the bill, state agencies (but not local governments) would have to turn over requested records at no charge if the time estimate is not met. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4291: Allow more police-related open records law disclosures Introduced by Rep. Tyrone Carter (D), to establish in the state Freedom of Information Act that the release of law enforcement disciplinary records “is not an unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy,” which means details of this information as specified in the bill are not exempt from disclosure. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bill 4778: Ban state use of deleteable message apps to violate open records law: Passed unanimously by the House and Senate, signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as Public Act 114 of 2021.
Introduced by Rep. Steven Johnson (R), to prohibit state agencies from using any app, software, or other electronic device technology that allows messages to be deleted, and would thereby violate their duty to maintain a public record as required by the state Freedom of Information Act and other laws.
About: Michigan Votes is a free public service of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational institution. Its purpose is to inform citizens, community leaders, business people, media, and public officials about legislation that affects their families, schools, jobs and communities. The site empowers citizens to take a more active part in the democratic process, and hold their elected representatives accountable.
Donna Lasinski (D) District 52 (Dexter, Chelsea, Saline, Scio, Manchester) 517 373 0828 firstname.lastname@example.org
Yousef Rabhi (D) District 53 (Ann Arbor) 517 373 2577 email@example.com
Felicia Brabec (D) District 55 (Pittsfield, York, Barton Hills) 517 373 1792 FeliciaBrabec@house.mi.gov
Kara Hope (D) District 67 (Stockbridge) 517 373 0587 KaraHope@house.mi.gov
Ann Bollin (R) District 42 (Pinckney, Hamburg) 517 373 1784 AnnBollin@house.mi.gov
Lana Theis (R) District 22 (Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Hamburg) 517 373 2420 SenLTheis@senate.michigan.gov
Jeff Irwin (D) District 18 (Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield, York) 517 373 2406 firstname.lastname@example.org
Curtis Hertel Jr. (D) District 23 (Stockbridge) 517 373 1734 email@example.com