LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation on Thursday to make data about the locations of game animals in our state immune to the Freedom of Information Act.
House Bill 4050 was introduced to resolve problems experienced by state agencies, mainly the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR conducts surveys and studies that help inform wildlife policy in Michigan, ensuring our state’s animal populations are healthy.
However, beginning in 2010, people began using FOIA requests to access data from a state survey on grouse populations. That person used the data to hunt the birds being studied, and within five years the survey had to be canceled because the grouse populations had been noticably skewed.
Lawmakers decided to make location data on game animals immune to FOIA requests to make sure that future studies and surveys can serve the intended purpose of improving Michigan’s wildlife management and preserving access to game. The bill passed both chambers of the state legislature with broad support and was signed by the governor two weeks later.