Publications for Anne M. Seurynck
On February 4, 2022, the Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel, issued an Opinion stating that restrictions for virtual public meetings provided under the Michigan Open Meetings Act are preempted to the extent the restrictions prevent a public body from providing reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Today, Governor Whitmer issued two new executive orders – EO 2020-114, which updates the safeguards for libraries and other open businesses, and EO 2020-115, which moves Regions 6 and 8 (most of the northern Lower Peninsula and all of the Upper Peninsula) into "stage 5" of Michigan's reopening plan and lifts some restrictions in those regions.
Effective December 28, 2018, the Legislature approved two important amendments to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Learn more from attorney Anne Seurynck.
Libraries across Michigan, and across the country, are tasked with striking a tricky balance: ensuring that citizens’ constitutionally-protected rights to use library resources are protected, while creating a safe, orderly and non-disruptive environment for patrons and staff.
Generally, meetings of public bodies must be open to the public according to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act ("OMA"), 1976 PA 267. So, how can a public body maintain the confidentiality of attorney-client privileged information that must be discussed by the board, council or commission?
Public libraries play an important academic, cultural, and social role in communities across Michigan. Public Libraries are governed by elected or appointed boards that meet regularly to make important decisions and provide oversight and direction for a library. The role of a board is to set policy, and to leave implementation of policy to the library’s director and staff.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the issue of how freedom of speech impacts the municipal regulation of signs. Review your regulations in light of this new Supreme Court decision.
Employment related issues can be sensitive. How do municipalities balance the requirements of the OMA and handling difficult personnel matters?
Any public body, especially those maintaining a website, should be aware of the amendment to the Michigan Open Meetings Act that became effective on December 31, 2012.
The Legislature has changed the rules on how receiving boards are established.
Summary of the proposed changes that HB 5879 would make to the Freedom of Information Act, 1976 PA 442, if enacted. Many of these changes would directly impact litigation fees and costs for defending FOIA violations.
On February 28, 2012, the House passed HB 5335, an amendment that will change an over 25 year old Open Meetings Act interpretation by the Michigan Court of Appeals about telephone participation at public meetings.
The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the Michigan Department of Education lacks authority to promulgate the State Aid Rules, which impose new conditions on public libraries' eligibility to receive critical state funding.
The Herrick District Library has succeeded in its circuit court action challenging the State Aid Rules enacted by the Department of History, Arts and Libraries and the Library of Michigan.
For the first time in Michigan, the Court addressed whether e-mails sent by public employees on the public body’s e-mail systems were automatically considered "public records" under the FOIA.
The use of e-mail has also caused additional issues with respect to recordkeeping and responding to the Freedom of Information Act requests.