State Rep. Kathy Crawford of Novi today voted in favor of a bipartisan plan making the governor and the Legislature subject to open records laws.
The Michigan House unanimously approved the multi-bill package with Crawford’s support, sending the plan to the Senate for further consideration.
Michigan is one of just two states that still exempts its governor and the Legislature from open records laws. The bipartisan solution approved by the House would end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government – making state legislators and the governor subject to the same type of disclosure laws already followed by public schools and local governments.
“State government exists to serve the public. We must remember that at all times, including when it comes to open records laws,” Crawford said. “This package of bills will help residents learn how their state government operates and how their tax dollars are spent. It’s simply the right thing to do, and it should have been done a long time ago.”
The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).
While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions to protect the privacy and personal information of residents who contact their state lawmakers for assistance on personal matters. Other types of communications – including those lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists – would not be exempt from public disclosure.
The legislation approved today includes House Bills 4007-4013 and 4015-16.