Michigan came in dead last in a recent national state government transparency test, receiving an F grade in 10 of the 13 categories of state government operations. Categories including public access to information, political election financing, executive and legislative accountability, lobbying disclosure and ethics enforcement.

Do these laws really matter? In the last three years, 12 states have seen their legislative leaders or top-level officials charged, convicted or resigned as a result of ethics or corruption related scandals. Recently, the Michigan House of Representatives dealt with some ethics issues.

Each year I have introduced bills requiring office holder asset disclosure and subjecting the governor and Legislature to the Freedom of Information Act. This session they are Senate Bills
194 and 181.

These bills will not cure all of Michigan’s transparency problems, but they are a step towards public access to information that Michigan so desperately needs.

The report can be viewed by clicking here.