The House Oversight Committee today took testimony on a bipartisan effort being led by State Rep. Ann Bollin to increase the transparency of state government.
Bollin, of Brighton Township, said Michigan is one of a very few states that still exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. Her solution would remove these exemptions and make the government more accountable to the people of Michigan.
“The people of Michigan deserve better – plain and simple,” Bollin said. “I’m fighting to give our residents the tools they need to hold all of their elected officials accountable.”
Bollin has always been a strong advocate for government transparency, making it a priority while serving as a state representative and in her previous capacity as local public official.
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). While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected and kept private. Other communications lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists would be subject to public review.
“The governor and state legislators are elected by the people to do the people’s business – and the public should have access to review the work they are doing,” Bollin said. “That’s what our plan will provide.”
House Bills 4383-92 remain under consideration by the House Oversight Committee.
State Rep. Ann Bollin and the Michigan House today approved a budget plan that respects taxpayers, improves government accountability, and encourages state departments to operate more efficiently and effectively.