Lawmakers honored with Michigan Press Association 'Sunshine Award'

The Michigan Press Association is honoring State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) and State Rep. Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) for their support of sunshine and transparency in government at all levels.

Both have been stalwart supporters of the public's right to know during their legislative careers. They have worked closely with the MPA public policy team to help improve open government in Michigan.

MPA is pleased to announce these awards during the national celebration of Sunshine Week March 15-21. This award recognizes Michigan legislators who have made a significant contribution to the cause of furthering open government.

Schuitmaker and Pettalia are receiving the award based on their support of last year's FOIA reforms and their ongoing understanding of the importance public notices in newspapers play in keeping Michigan's citizens informed about the activities of their government. These actions directly support the MPA charge of defending free speech, promoting an open and responsive government and the fostering of an informed citizenry.

Both have set a standard all those in government should emulate.

"The MPA Sunshine Award is presented to legislators who champion good open government and understand the role the newspaper plays in watching government and informing the people," said MPA Public Policy Committee Chair Dirk Milliman. "Last year's winners, Rep. Tom McMillin and Rep. (now Sen.) Mike Shirkey were instrumental in pushing changes to Michigan's Freedom of Information Act through the legislature and into law. This year's winners, Rep. Peter Pettalia and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker embody those same beliefs -- transparency in government, the rights of the people to know what their government is doing and a robust free press as a cornerstone to democracy, on both the local and state level. We applaud them for their efforts and their leadership in helping educate and move others in that same direction."

Published: Thu, Mar 19, 2015

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