You Are Guaranteed The Right to Public Records — But How Easy Is It Actually to Get Them?

If you want to find out what government is up to, you have a Michigan law on your side: The Freedom of Information Act. It’s commonly referred to by its acronym — FOIA.

FOIA is a law that lets citizens get records from local governments and state agencies. So if you want to see, for example, what contracts your local government has with private companies, you can request those.

Melissa Mason/WDET

WDET’s Sandra Svoboda recently did an investigation into how well local governments in southeast Michigan are presenting information about the Freedom of Information Act and how to use it. She joins Detroit Today to talk about that project. It includes a map where you can click on a community and go directly to the online site to request information using the Freedom of Information Act.

Michigan Legislature

Rep. Martin Howrylak

Also joining Detroit Today is state Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy), who is one of the sponsors of a package of bills pending in Lansing that would expand FOIA to the governor and the Legislature. The measure would also attempt to make it easier and cheaper for people to file these requests for public records.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

 

Image credit: Sandra Svoboda/WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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