LANSING, Mich. — Today, bipartisan legislation led by Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) to increase transparency in Michigan government received its first Senate committee hearing.
“This is a day six years in the making. Senator McBroom and I have been on this mission since our tenure in the State House to lift up Michigan from our last-in-the-nation ranking in terms of ethics, accountability and transparency,” Sen. Moss said. “In previous sessions, the Senate had been the roadblock, but now we are here as Senators to usher these bipartisan bills to the Governor’s desk so Michigan residents have more access to scrutinize the decisions government actors make on their behalf.”
A 2015 report by the Center for Public Integrity gave Michigan an F in government integrity. Michigan ranked dead last among every state, and failed 10 out of 13 categories, including “public access to information, executive accountability, lobbying disclosure and political financing.” Forty-eight other states subject their respective legislatures, governor’s office, or both to FOIA.
The legislation, Senate Bills 833-842, would add the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act, as well as create the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) to allow citizens to request legislative records from the Michigan House and Senate.
LORA would only apply to records created after January 1, 2021, and only to records that are at least 15 days old, to minimize politically-driven requests intended to derail specific legislation moving through the process. Records that would be exempt under the law include, but are not limited to:
“A functional republic needs citizens to have confidence in their government,” Sen. McBroom said. “In these times, when so much of that confidence is eroded by lack of transparency in government, real corruption and those spreading malicious conspiracies, we should make every effort to build back trust by shining a bright light of accountability on even the mundane work of our elected leaders.”
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