House Panel Could Lift Restrictions in Open Government Law

Sep 25, 2012

The state legislature could soon make it easier and cheaper to file request for public information.

A state House committee opened hearings Tuesday on the measure.

The bills would put strict limits on how much public agencies could charge to process Freedom of Information Act requests. They would also create a commission to handle complaints about agencies that fail to provide the documents.

But some local government officials say the legislation would cost them big. Bill Anderson is with the Michigan Townships Association.

“You have to bring in attorneys to go through each and every document to make sure that we are not releasing information that may be very critical to somebody else,” he says.

Anderson says local governments often can’t recoup that money if the attorneys are not city employees. The committee chair says he hopes to hold a vote on the measure before the end of the year.