press release

News from Progress Michigan

March 16, 2021

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Michiganders Are Done Waiting for FOIA Reform
Progress Michigan announces details of ballot initiative to expand FOIA 

MICHIGAN – This Sunshine Week, Progress Michigan is celebrating by rolling out the details of an upcoming ballot initiative to expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to cover the legislature and governor’s office. According to a recent poll, this measure is popular with Michiganders across the political spectrum, with 74 percent of respondents saying they support expanding FOIA while only 8 percent are opposed.

This initiative comes after several unsuccessful attempts by the legislature to create a second open records law called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), which would subject the legislature to a lesser standard of transparency than is required by FOIA. LORA includes special carve-outs for the legislature and governor’s office that don’t exist for any other public body and requires that appeals of rejected records requests go to a board appointed by the legislature instead of allowing people to appeal in court. 

Conversely, the ballot initiative proposed by Progress Michigan would apply the full weight of FOIA to the legislature and governor’s office. The full text of the proposal is available here.

“The LORA bills proposed in the legislature are what you would get if you ordered FOIA reform from The people of Michigan have already waited far too long for real FOIA reform—and we’re done waiting,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “We don’t need more lip service to transparency from lawmakers who aren’t willing to back their words up with actions, and we don’t need half-measures like LORA that give the legislature special treatment instead of holding them to the same standards every other level of government is expected to follow. This Sunshine Week, we’re looking forward to bringing some much-needed transparency reform to Lansing and help create a government that is truly accountable to the people.”

For more information about the proposal, visit