Open Meetings bill may be up Michigan House vote this week

A modest revision that would provide clarity in the state’s Open Meetings Act may go before the full House for a vote this week. Rep. Tom McMillin (R-45) introduced HB 5193 and 5194 that would further clarify “pending litigation” and the impact of a do-over by local government bodies whose actions may have run afoul of the OMA (public bodies could not use that do-over as a defense in subsequent OMA litigation). In his two terms in the state house, McMillin has championed much needed changes to the state Freedom of Information law, as well. Described as a Tea Party conservative with a Libertarian bent in an article earlier this year in the Detroit Free Press, McMillin has become a strong advocate for government transparency and accountability. Though his proposed HB 4134 that would establish a state FOIA Commission is still mired in committee, HB 4001 (sponsored by Mike Skirkey, R-65) is now pending in the Senate. McMillin was a key player in getting revisions to that bill and shepherding it through the Republican controlled House. HB 4001 would strengthen citizens’ rights to public information and tackles the time deadlines and fess issues that have plagued citizens seeking public access to what should be public records. McMillin has been a prime mover in this arena. His legislative track record was reported by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Ashenfelter in the February issue of Bridge, the online publication of the Center for Michigan.

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