LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – State Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) unveiled a House Republican plan that will improve what he calls the state’s “lackluster standing” on government transparency.
Michigan, along with Massachusetts, are the only two states where lawmakers and the governor are exempt from public records requests.
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“Michigan has long been toward the bottom of national rankings for transparency in government. It’s unacceptable and it’s time we forgo this status quo,” Schuette said. “Voters approved Proposal 1 last year and sent a clear message that the people of this state demand greater transparency from their public officials.”
Rep. Schuette announced on Tuesday that the multi-bill package works in harmony with Sunshine Week, which runs this week and is designed to highlight greater access to public information.
“This is the fifth Sunshine Week of Governor Whitmer’s administration, but we’ve yet to see here [sic] act on any of her campaign promises. House Republicans are done waiting,” Schuette said.
The bills continue efforts to expand the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act to ensure the governor and legislators will no longer be exempt from Michigan’s sunshine laws. They also create constitutionally required financial disclosure forms for lawmakers, so conflicts of interest can be better regulated and officials can be held accountable to the people they are working for.
Since the Democrats flipped the Michigan House and Senate in November and started work on January 1, some have expressed concerned over the party’s pushing through of bills without dissent and not providing complete agendas for the chamber’s daily activities.
.@GovWhitmer hasn’t kept a single promise she made in her “Sunshine Plan,” so I highly doubt she will start now. https://t.co/fZoTqLQ1Px
— Meghan Reckling (@MeghanReckling) March 9, 2023
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I’m not saying Michigan’s legislative agendas were ever all-inclusive or perfect, but they’ve been particularly unhelpful lately. Seems like a step backward on transparency. pic.twitter.com/1uDvB0PElk
— Emily Lawler (@emilyjanelawler) February 28, 2023
Because people want more context:
Myself and some other reporters were not allowed to go into the meeting rooms this morning because they were at capacity.
The Senate is now allowing all media members in, I’m told. https://t.co/ftFNLPycbx
— Craig Mauger (@CraigDMauger) March 14, 2023
More information about HB 4261 can be found here.
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