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Michigan Secretary of State debuts FOIA portal

 Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sits in front on a desk microphone in a Senate Committee hearing
Michigan Secretary of State
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sits in front on a desk microphone to give testimony in a Senate Committee.

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is launching a new online portal to make public records more accessible.

The new tool allows members of the public to send Freedom of Information Act requests for government documents and receive them in a centralized location. Previously, record requests to the Department of State had to be sent by email, fax, mail or in-person.

The agency is also publishing some of its FOIA responses and users will be able to search through previously released documents at no additional cost.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said her office is the first to make records available this way on the state level. She added the portal will enhance transparency in state government.

"The Freedom of Information Act is one of the most important tools citizens can use to hold their government accountable," Benson said in a press release. "This new online tool will make it easier for the public to request and receive records and will make our records more widely available to the people of Michigan.”

The governor’s office and the state legislature remain exempt from records requests.

Benson said she supports expanding state law to require the executive and legislative branches comply with FOIA requests.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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