The Michigan Coalition for Open Government’s Sunshine Agenda outlines our guiding principles for initiatives and policies to improve citizen access to public information. MiCOG’s board of directors adopted the Sunshine Agenda on Feb. 21, 2020.
The Michigan Coalition for Open Government will pursue the following priorities:
- Extend FOIA to the governor and legislature.
- Eliminate or reduce the search/review fees public agencies may charge for producing records.
- Impose a standard penalty, such as a per record fine, on a public agency for violations of FOIA.
- Increase penalties for public bodies that violate the Open Meetings Act.
- Establish a commission or ombudsman to hear initial FOIA appeals.
- Establish an independent commission to review all proposed new exceptions to FOIA.
- Require a public body to produce documents in a specific number of days.
- Require a public body to provide a time line on how long it will take to provide the documents under FOIA, and create an avenue to appeal an unreasonable FOIA time line.
- Mandate fee-free estimates of FOIA charges rather than charging a fee first before giving an estimate.
- Government entities should work toward automatic access to documents through proactive review and filing.
“It is the public policy of this state that all persons … are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act. The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.” Michigan Freedom of Information Act, MCL Sec. 15.231.
“All financial records, accountings, audit reports and other reports of public moneys shall be public records and open to inspection.” Michigan Constitution, Art. IX, Sec. 23.