Legislation would clarify Auditor General’s access of electronic data

Categories: Steven Johnson News

State Rep. Steve Johnson has introduced legislation to clarify the constitutional authority of the Auditor General to access and examine electronically stored information and confidential information in the course of an audit.

The Office of the Auditor General is tasked under the Michigan Constitution to conduct financial and performance audits of all state government operations. Current law states that state government departments and agencies “shall produce for examination all books, records, and documents….” Over the years, some have questioned whether this authority extends to confidential and electronic records. This at times can hinder the Auditor General from accessing vital information needed to conduct constitutionally required audits.

“My bill is simply to re-affirm that all means all,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “The legislation does not give the Auditor General’s Office new authority, nor does it eliminate existing authority, but simply clarifies that the Auditor General can thoroughly fulfill their Constitutional mandate of ensuring state government is operating with integrity and efficiency.”

Johnson’s bill was introduced during Sunshine Week, a national initiative celebrating the importance of open government and public access to government documents and meetings.

House Bill 4336 has been referred to the House Oversight Committee for further consideration.