Sunshine Award winners announced by the MPA


This week, the Michigan Press Association announced the 2023 winners of the Rep. Peter Pettalia Memorial Sunshine Award, honors presented annually to public servants that strive to promote and protect transparency in government.

The award is named after former State Representative Peter Pettalia of Presque Isle who embodied all good things in governing especially support of the citizens in his community and an understanding of the importance of keeping them informed through a transparent government, according to the MPA.

This year’s recipients are State Senator Sylvia Santana (D-Warrendale) and recently retired Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

Senator Santana has demonstrated her support of open government in various ways throughout her legislative career in the House and the Senate. In 2022, she sponsored legislation that would create better public notice by requiring newspapers to post this information on their websites and a statewide website. This legislation retained the important element of notice by still requiring print notices in local newspapers. She is also on record supporting subjecting the Governor and the legislature to FOIA in Michigan.

Former Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack championed openness throughout her career on the court, according to the MPA. She notably led the creation of a task force to improve accessibility to court activity through Zoom during and after the COVID-19 crisis. She also supported the adoption of a significant rule change that allows the public to bring cell phones, laptops and tablets into all state courthouses and courtrooms. It also lets members of the public use their phones to photograph state court records.

“It is our hope that all public officials strive to maintain a transparent government for Michiganians.” says Dirk Milliman, chair of the Public Policy Committee for the MPA. “The taxpayers are best served when sunlight shines on government activity and promotes a strong understanding of our democracy and how it works.”

Sunshine Week, March 12-18, is the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community.


Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available