We occasionally hear 911 recordings in the news.

The recordings are available to anyone through the Freedom of Information Act.

At least one Michigan lawmaker would like to change the availability of those recordings.

Should 911 recordings be considered public information? 

Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth) has introduced House Bill 4011.  He says the bill would delay the availability of 911 recordings to the public.

WZZM reports the bill would prohibit the availability of 911 recordings:

He emphasized his intent is to limit how quickly 911 recordings are available, but the bill he introduced in the state House earlier this year appears to have a farther reach, which has some FOIA advocates worried.

The Michigan FOIA guarantees citizens access to public information except under 25 specific circumstances when government bodies can choose to withhold information. As introduced, Heise's bill would add 911 audio and video recordings to that list of exemptions. The proposed language mentions no time element as to when such recordings could be publicly available.

911 recordings contain extremely personal information.

The availability of the recordings creates a loss of privacy for those involved with the call.  The availability of the recordings also creates an important level of transparency and accountability for government.

Which is more important?

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