Legislator committed to making state government more accountable
A proposal from Rep. Ryan Berman increasing government transparency today was advanced in overwhelming, bipartisan fashion by the Michigan House.
House Bill 5015, which was passed in a 104-3 vote, will require each executive branch department and divisions at the state level to publicly post salary and benefit information for the positions they employ.
“As a state, Michigan ranks low in terms of public access to information,” said Berman, of Commerce Township. “I want to turn our state around in terms of accountable government and this legislation helps that process. It brings all state employees under the same framework and will give people easy access to information on where their money is going.”
Berman noted the Michigan House has been voluntarily providing this information for several years. The information is available in a general database, meaning people currently seeking it don’t have to go through a burdensome Freedom of Information Act process in order to view it. HB 5015 would align other state departments with this practice.
“Each time a Freedom of Information Act request for this type of information comes in, resources are diverted away from other critical government functions. It also costs the requester of this information money,” Berman said. “We can alleviate this issue by making the information readily available. I hope our legislative colleagues in the Senate agree that more transparency in our state government is needed, so we can get this bill to the governor’s desk.”