House unveils bipartisan FOIA reform package in light of ‘Sunshine Week’

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Rep. Chatfield: Transparency is not a partisanship issue

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Rep. Chatfield today participated in a bipartisan press conference to unveil a package of bills to increase government transparency.

Perfectly timed during Sunshine Week, a nationwide celebration of access to public information, the bipartisan legislation will reform Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“Transparency is not a partisanship issue,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering. “Transparency is about people and I don’t believe people can have faith in their government if it fails to set an example for honesty and openness.

“It has been said that sunshine is the best astringent for a cure,” Chatfield continued. “I think it is appropriate this week to let the sunshine in and that we set a new standard in the state of Michigan, not only for ourselves, but for future legislators and future administrations.”

The bill package will create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) as part of FOIA, as well as modify other areas of FOIA as they relate to the legislative and executive branches of government.

“I believe that any elected official who opposes transparency is unfit to hold public office and I feel very strongly about that,” Rep. Chatfield said. “I am very proud to support this legislation and am very thankful to be part of this much-needed reform.”

House Bills 5469-78 will be officially introduced tomorrow and are expected to be referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics.

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