Theis bill protecting veterans’ privacy rights signed into law

LANSING, Mich. — A bill sponsored by Sen. Lana Theis to exempt military veterans’ sensitive information from Open Meetings Act requirements in certain circumstances was signed by the governor on Thursday.

“People have a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially when it concerns personal and sensitive financial, medical, and other health information,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “This expectation is not exclusive to civilians, yet until now our military veterans have often been forced to publicly reveal such information when applying for benefits they have earned through their service. I thank my colleagues for their strong bipartisan support and Gov. Whitmer for signing this bill 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, which is now Public Act 31 of 2021, amends existing law to allow veterans and their dependents to answer such sensitive questions in a closed session, helping to protect their privacy.

The new law takes immediate effect.

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