Bills Expand FOIA to Legislature and Governor’s Office

capitol3Michigan House of Representatives held a bi-partisan press conference last week announcing reintroduction of the legislation to expand open record laws to include the Legislature and Governor’s office. Last session, the House overwhelmingly passed the legislation, but it stalled in the Senate.

The 11-bill package is the first major initiative announced by the new House. The bills would mostly end the exemption the governor has always had from the Freedom of Information Act and create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) that declares what records of the Legislature would become newly public.

LORA contains several exemptions from open records requests, including:

  • Constituent communications due to privacy concerns;
  • Personnel records that are personal in nature, such as human resources files;
  • Records relating to an ongoing internal or legislative investigation or litigation;
  • Advisory communications within the public body or between public bodies;
  • Trade, commercial or financial records that are provided confidentially to assist in public policy;
  • Communications regarding bill drafting, sergeant-at-arms security issues and auditor general records; and
  • Records exclusively maintained by legislative caucuses.

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