Bipartisan solution gives people access to more public information
State Rep. Daire Rendon, along with a bipartisan group of House colleagues, today introduced a comprehensive plan to increase the transparency of state government.
Rendon, of Lake City, said Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. The House solution would remove these exemptions and make the government more accountable to the people of Michigan.
“We will strengthen our government as a whole by requiring all elected state officials to become more open and accountable to the people we represent,” Rendon said. “Taxpayers trust us with their hard-earned money, and they’re entitled to information about how it’s being spent.”
The transparency plan will subject the Legislature to a new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and the governor and lieutenant governor to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
“The House sent a powerful message last session when we unanimously approved a similar government transparency plan,” Rendon said. “I was disappointed to see the package die without reaching the governor’s desk, but I’m not giving up. Making government more transparent continues to be a top priority, and reintroducing the plan on the first day of the new session demonstrates my commitment to getting this done.”
Just like some documents – such as personal health records of employees and documents of critical importance to law enforcement investigations – are exempt from disclosure by local governments under the current FOIA law, the new LORA will protect communications people have with their legislators.
“This is a sensible solution that ensures people can still contact us for help regarding their personal problems without having to worry about their private information being made public,” Rendon said.
The plan, laid out in House Bills 4007-16, has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.