The flip side of FOIA: Mountains of paper, small government staffs and — for some — an attitude problem
Citizens who exercise their lawful right to obtain public documents through FOIA requests frequently complain that the government is failing to uphold its end of the statute. However, the people on the other end of the process say responding to FOIA requests can be challenging, especially for small staffs.chicagotribune.com
Letter from the Editor: Lots of talk about ‘sunshine,’ but Michigan’s elected leaders hang back in the shadows
Unfortunately, citizens in Michigan don’t get that opportunity with the people they’ve elected to lead their state. Michigan government ranks dead last in the country for transparency to its people, according to the Center for Public Integrity. “If people ask for public records, they don’t have to give them. “When (public officials) don’t start off from that vantage point, that ‘Everything we do is subject to public scrutiny and disclosure,’ that’s when you sort of dig yourself a hole,” Luce-Herrmann said. The laws have to change, and elected officials and public bodies have to be held accountable.mlive.com
Michigan ballot drive would subject governor, lawmakers to FOIA
LANSING, Mich. – Advocates for open government said Monday that they will launch a 2022 ballot drive to subject Michigan's governor and Legislature to public-records requests. Michigan is one of just two states that wholly exempt the governor's office and is among eight states where lawmakers are explicitly exempt. “The public is sick of it and we're done playing games.”The legislation that received unanimous House approval two years ago would have removed a specific exclusion of the governor and lieutenant governor from FOIA requests. But various records and information would be exempt, including those related to gubernatorial appointments; pardons and commutations; budget recommendations and spending cuts; the executive residence; constituent communications; and information or records subject to executive privilege. Unlike with other FOIA requests, however, people seeking legislative records could not have gone to court.
Plymouth-Canton schools offer to fill parent’s FOIA request for $222K
PLYMOUTH, Mich. – A curious parent requesting information from Plymouth-Canton Community Schools received a bill charging him nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the documents. “I wanted to know why the decision was made, what science and what facts were used and are continuing to be used,” Parrelley said. The father received a letter from the district saying that the cost of Plymouth-Canton Community School district records is $222,458.50 and requires paying half up front. “I checked the lottery numbers and I have not come through on them yet, which is my next best deal.”The school district told Local 4 that it “takes every Freedom of Information request it receives seriously. In this particular matter, the request captured an extremely broad range of potential keyword searches and covered an unbounded timeframe.
Police records: Paramedics performed CPR for 30 minutes on Southfield woman declared dead, later found alive
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – New information from police records received through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) showed that Southfield paramedics tried to revive 20-year-old Timesha Beauchamp for 30 minutes but with no luck. Paramedics told the investigating officer they had done CPR on Beauchamp for 30 minutes but that she was deceased. While Southfield police, fire and emergency personnel were all there, family told the officer they believed Beauchamp had a heartbeat. Funeral home staff said they had been advised by emergency personnel that they would continue to see her chest move for another hour. That’s when the funeral home called 911 and Detroit emergency personnel was dispatched.