LANSING, Mich. — Today State Senator Coleman Young II (D–Detroit) introduced a bill that would eliminate exemptions that excuse lawmakers and the governor from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The bill is cosponsored by members of the Michigan Senate Democratic Caucus.

Under current law, the Legislature and the Governor’s Office can choose whether or not to comply with FOIA requests. Michigan is one of only two states that allows this FOIA exception. This failure to guarantee access to information partially contributed to Michigan’s failing grade in state ethics, transparency laws and safeguards in a Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity report.

“The way I see it, we’re serving at the request of the people of Michigan, and as public servants, it’s only fair that our records are subject to the same rules as other state agencies,” Sen. Young said. “We need to step out of the shadows and put the governor’s role in the Flint water crisis in the light.”

Democrats, who have been calling for increased transparency in the Capitol for years, acted swiftly after hearing Governor Snyder echo their concerns about honesty in his annual State of the State address.

“We shouldn’t have to rely on the governor’s discretion to release emails regarding the Flint water crisis that should have been public anyway,” Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D–East Lansing) said. “We can’t let politicians cherry-pick the facts.”

Making Michigan a place where transparency and accountability reigns has been one of the top priorities for Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren).

“Now that the governor has also made it clear that Michiganders deserve full access to the truth, I fully expect our Republican colleagues to get on board with this legislation,” Sen. Bieda said.