Senate passes Theis bill to protect veterans’ privacy rights

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a Sen. Lana Theis bill that would exempt military veterans’ information from Open Meetings Act requirements in certain circumstances.

“Veterans deserve the same expectations to privacy as ordinary citizens, and my bill would help make sure their privacy is respected,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “There’s just certain personal information that the public doesn’t need to know, and that is especially true for our veterans. I thank my colleagues for their overwhelming support to help those who have served us in uniform.”

Currently, when a veteran or their dependent applies to receive aid through their local county veterans services office, the local veterans services board often has to interview the applicant during an official open meeting. Unfortunately for veterans, the line of questioning they are subjected to often forces them to publicly reveal personal and sensitive financial, medical, and other health information.

Senate Bill 10 would amend the existing law to allow veterans and their dependents to answer these sensitive questions in a closed session, helping to protect their privacy rights.

The bill now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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