Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Harris calls for more government transparency, but House takes no action
RELEASE|March 13, 2024
Contact: Mike Harris

State Rep. Mike Harris on Wednesday called for action on major government transparency legislation that has stalled in committee.

Harris, who serves on the House Ethics and Oversight Committee, said the House should advance bills to expand Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which enables citizens to obtain government records. The renewed push comes during Sunshine Week, which celebrates openness and accountability in government and takes place March 10-16 this year. The House on Wednesday approved a resolution commemorating Sunshine Week, but Democrat-controlled committees have not held hearings on critical FOIA legislation.

“Representatives came together to celebrate Sunshine Week and express support for government transparency, but words aren’t enough,” said Harris, R-Waterford. “Michiganders expect their representatives to act and open up state government to more sunlight and public scrutiny. My Republican colleagues and I have put forward plans to expand our transparency laws and remove the veil of secrecy from the records of the governor and Legislature, but they still haven’t received a committee hearing in the Democrat-controlled House. That must change. Michigan’s government shouldn’t operate under cover of darkness any longer.”

Last year, Harris sponsored a package of legislation that would require the governor and Legislature to disclose their records to requesting citizens, strengthen ethical standards for state officials, and prevent legislators and high-ranking officials from becoming lobbyists within two years of leaving office. The package has yet to receive a hearing in the Ethics and Oversight Committee in the year since Harris and his colleagues introduced it. Harris also introduced a plan last year to prevent government employees from using code or symbols to avoid FOIA requests. The bill has not yet received a committee hearing.

Another Republican transparency package to expand FOIA is in the Government Operations Committee.

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