2016 Annual Report
The Michigan Coalition for Open Government is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, statewide group that promotes transparency and accountability in state and local government by educating citizens about their right to access public records and to attend public meetings. The coalition is committed to securing, protecting, expanding and maintaining the people’s right to know what goes on within their government.
- Participated in national Sunshine Week, March 13-19, 2016; published op-eds by board members Jane Briggs-Bunting, Ron Dzwonkowski and Garry Gilbert.
- Provided information and quotes to numerous media outlets including the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Lansing State Journal, MLive.com, Bridge Magazine, The Michigan Daily, The Oakland Post, Fox 17 TV News, Michigan Radio and WDET, among others.
- Educated the public on the importance of access to government records after the Flint water crisis.
- Responded to many citizen requests for information and assistance.
- The coalition’s legislative priorities included extending FOIA to the governor and legislature, supporting the creation of an Open Government Commission, supporting the disclosure of policy body camera video, opposing new exemptions to FOIA and promoting school-sponsored student journalism.
- Board members Michael Reitz and Shelli Weisberg testified in the Government Oversight Committee of the Michigan House of Representatives regarding House Bills 5469-5478, also known as the Legislative Open Records Act. The bills passed the House but died in the Senate.
- Filed amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in Detroit Free Press v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 829 F.3d 478 (2016) (disclosure of police booking photos).
- Coalition founding president Jane Briggs-Bunting stepped down as president, but remains on the board.
- Board president Michael Reitz was asked to serve on the Futures Committee of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a national organization that promotes government transparency.
- In 2017, the coalition will publish a legislative agenda, adopt a strategic plan and launch regular member communications. Legislative priorities will include extending FOIA to the governor and legislature, opposing new exemptions to FOIA and codifying when agencies must actually produce requested documents.