State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R- 16) voiced opposition to the bill package that expands FOIA to the Legislature and the Governor’s office as passed the House of Representatives. Spokesperson for the Senator said that whatever the Senate eventually votes on would be different than the House package and legislation from other states is being reviewed. Decision on how to proceed has not been made.
The bills generally open records not currently covered under the FOIA law. There are exemptions that include constituent communications, executive appointment, caucus materials, communications between lawmakers and others. Under the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), the Legislature would hire coordinators to handle the requests for records. Appeals would be handled by Legislative Council, a body of House members, rather than by a court. Michigan is one of only two states where the governor’s office is fully exempt from FOIA and one of eight where the Legislature is exempt.