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June 30, 1976 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-06-30

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Wednesday, June 30, 1976


Page Eleven

Panel OK's document disclosure

LANSING (UPI) - A con-
troversial bill requiring the
disclosure of most public
documents, including the inter-
nal staff memorandums of state
and local bureaucracies, has
been approved by a House
The House Civil Rights
Committee unanimously ap-
proved the bill and reported it
to the full House yesterday.
However, committee Chairman
Perry Bullard, (D - Ann Arbor),
sponsor of the bill, said it will
not come up for a vote before
this fall.
B U L L A R D SAID nev-
ertheless he wanted the bill
placed on the House calendar
over the summer recess "for
focusing public debate and dis-
cussion on this issue and so if
there are further concerns" it
can be amended.

One amendment expected to
be offered would. extend im-
munity provided in the bill for
the governor and individual
lawmakers to include mayors
and city council members. This
was proposed by a lobbyist for
the Michigan Municipal League
yesterday, and Bullard indicat-
ed he would be sympathetic.
Bullard later defended the
legislature exempting itself and
the governor from the bill,
saying this was unnecessary
because including them would
"cripple the functioning of the
legislative and executive bran-
BUT EDWARD Petrini of the
Public Interest Research Group
in Michigan (PIRGIM), which
played a key role in the draft-
ing of the bill, conceded inclu-
sion of those exemptions was a
matter of "pure political expe-
Bullard said his bill is pat-

terned after the federal free-
dom of information act and will
replace a state law which "is
toothless and has not worked."
Under the bill, government
officials on the state and local
levels would have to grant
a request for documents or ex-
plain in writing their reasons
for denying it.
are denied could take the pub-
lic body or agency involved to
court and collect reimburse-
ment for their costs if they
The measure lists a number
of specific items which must
be available to the public, in-
cliding information on em-
ployes and officials, reports and
studies communications be-
tween and within agencies in-
cluding "drafts, notes, recom-
mendations and memoranda"
and minutes of meetings.

The release of internal
memoranda before a decision
is made on the subject they
deal with is opposed by the
s t a t e Department of
J E F F G R A H A M of
the department told the com-
ittee this would inhibit the
breadth of discussion and the
frankness of discussion at the
staff level.
Petrini said the public has a
right to see staff recommenda-
tions before a final decision is
made. "The real decisions in

most agencies are made by the
staff," he said.
A number of documents are
exempted from d i s c l o s u r e
under the act including person-
al information when release
would "constitute a clearly
unwarranted invasion of an
individual's privacy." -
Police documents would be
exempt if release would inter-
fer with police activities or
violate someone's right to
privacy or to a fair trial.
Trade secrets, bids and land
appraisals also would be

Brezhnev addresses world communists

Mustards Retreat Friday and Saturday Evenings, no cover.

BERLIN (AP) - Soviet Lead-
er Leonid Brezhnev took a con-
ciliatory stand toward European
Communists seeking a more in-
dependent association with Mos-
cow but still emphasized that
the international Communist
movement is "a powerful and
tested tool."
The Soviet party chief, in a
keynote speech at a conference
of 29 European Communist par-
ties yesterday, conceded, "Ev-
ery Communist party is born of
the working-class movement of
the country in which it is ac-
"AND IT IS responsible for
its actions first of all before the
working people of its own coun-
try, whose interests it expresses
and defends."
"But." he said, "it is precise-
ly this that provides the basis
for the Communists' internation-
al solidarity."
Brezhnev's careful handling of
the issue of independence within

the international Communist
movement reflected the long
wrangling before the European
parties could get together fol-
lowing Moscow's original pro-
posal of the conference in Oc-
tober 1974.
HE TOLD the delegates meet-
dog in the Golden Hall of the
40-story City of Berlin Hotel
that no one sought to establish
an organizational center for
Observers said Brezhnev's ap-
proach seemed an admission
that Moscow no longer could
exert the kind of monolithic in-
fluence it once enjoyed in the
world Communist movement.
But he still reminded the con-
ference that "We believe .. .
comradely solidarity, of which
the Communists have been the
standard-bearers for more than
100 years now, preserves all its
great significance also in our

HE TOLD the delegates all
Communist parties must recog-
nize the primary tasks of re-
placing capitalism with social-
ism wherever possible.
In his first appearance out-
side the Soviet Union this year,
Brezhnev said the Soviets place
great value on improving rela-
tions with the United States.
He appeared healthy in his
public appearances here and fol-
lowed a rigorous schedule in un-
usual heat that reached 90 de-
grees. Brezhnev, 69, has repeat-
edly been rumored to be ill,
most recently when he skipped
three national party congresses
in Eastern Europe.
The Soviet party chief claim-
ed the stalled second round of
strategic arms limitation talks
with the United States was not
being delayed by the Kremlin
and emphasized Moscow re-
mains prepared to reach a new

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