Legislation allows public to request records from Michigan lawmakers’ and governor’s offices, helping restore trust in state government officials 

 LANSING, Mich. (November 8, 2023) — Today, Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township) introduced Senate Bills 669-670 to help bring greater transparency to state government. This legislation would require the Michigan Legislature and Executive Office of the Governor to comply with the state’s existing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law — providing Michiganders with greater ability to learn about and understand the decisions of their state government.

“The public is denied access to the records in the Governor’s office at State Legislature and this lack of transparency laws breeds distrust in state government,” said Sen. Moss, Chair of the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee. “At a time when faith in government institutions is at a historic low in Michigan and across the nation  it is critical for our state to shine greater light on the actions of officeholders. We must expand the Freedom of Information Act to include lawmakers and the Governor.”

Enacted in 1976, Michigan’s FOIA law is nearly alone in the nation in carving out state lawmakers and the governor’s office from being subject to records requests. This exemption contributes to the 2015 report from the Center for Public Integrity which gave Michigan an F in government integrity, and the state ranked dead last — failing 10 out of 13 categories, including public access to information, executive accountability, and legislative accountability.

Since Sens. Moss and McBroom served together in the Michigan House beginning in 2015, the two have worked in a bipartisan fashion to shine light on the Michigan Legislature and the Executive Office of the Governor and press forward through many sessions to keep this issue moving.

“I am so glad to see these sunshine laws get a new dawn,” said Sen. McBroom. “Ever since I was first approached on this issue in 2011, with a bill both parties used for partisan gamesmanship, I have labored for the genuine article. While there is still much work to do and issues to work out, these bills – once adopted – can help rebuild the trust and faith our citizens need to have in their state government.”

Senate Bills 669-670 differ from past efforts by including the Legislature in FOIA, instead of creating a separate open records act for the State House and Senate. This new approach, following years of Senate inaction, was refined by the bill sponsors with input for the very first time from the office of the Majority Leader and Senate Business Office.