Michigan FOIA proposal would eliminate fees, reduce wait times for public recordsPosted: December 20, 2019
Thank you to a reader who sent me this link:
Good for Michigan Representative Garrett, who has introduced a bill to let the sun in on the abuse of sunshine/open records/FOIA laws in Michigan. “You’re not open if you want to charge someone $1,200 for public records,” said Garrett.
Try multiplying that by 10 and that’s what the Michigan State Police charged my Dad for 3,400 pages of their files on Christopher Busch and Greg Green and other limited information. That’s roughly $3.50 a page. The MSP would squeal that they have to pay someone to go through the records and redact before they make copies. Whoever redacted these records did a miserable job. Left some names in and redacted a lot that probably should not have been, and of course did not give any reasons for the redactions. That would have required more court time. As it was, my Dad had to file a lawsuit when the MSP initially refused his FOIA request as it pertained to an “open” case. Right.
This FOIA case settled out of court. I like to picture the state police tossing out this huge sum for the documents thinking “fuck you, go away.” But then they had to take my Dad’s money and pony up. The last thing that agency wants is transparency–on anything. They had to comply with their version of the letter of the law by playing the high dollar game. They really had no intention of complying with the spirit of the law. I’m sure the real smoking gun documents and tape recorded tips never made it to the files back in the day anyway.
While, as this legislator acknowledges, the bill will require fine-tuning–it’s awesome she is putting this on the table. Even cost reductions and closing the loopholes on how long Michigan agencies drag this stuff out would help. Maybe THEN some news outlet in Oakland County will file a massive FOIA request for the entire OCCK case and do some actual investigative reporting. Or, more likely, a news organization outside of Michigan.