Bill Would Restrict Public’s Access to Information About Bids for State Business

Jake Neher/WDET

There could soon be tighter restrictions on the public’s access to information in bids for state business. A state Senate committee has adopted a bill that would shield information on bidders’ trade secrets and finances.

State Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) discourages businesses from bidding on government work.

Jones says his bill matches a standard used in 42 other states and by the federal government to protect confidential information.

I love transparency, but you don’t give away trade secrets,” he says. “You don’t give away a company’s financials.”

But an attorney for the news industry says Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act already protects sensitive, proprietary information.

So I don’t see why this is necessary,” she says.

Robin Luce Hermann of the Michigan Press Association says she’s concerned the state would use a new exemption to further stretch limits on the public’s right to examine how government contracts are approved.

The full Senate could vote on the bill next week. 

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

Rick Pluta

REPORTER / PRODUCER - MICHIGAN PUBLIC RADIO NETWORK

Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

We want to hear from you.
Share your thoughts and opinions: