MichMash: State Sen. Jeremy Moss seeking more transparency in Michigan government

A bipartisan package of bills sponsored by Moss and Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp.) aim to make Michigan government more transparent.

Transparency in Michigan government is in the spotlight this week during Sunshine Week, a nationwide event celebrating open government and access to public information. In this week’s episode of MichMash, host Cheyna Roth and Gongwer News Service’s Alethia Kasben sat down with Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) to talk about Michigan legislators’ latest attempt at passing government transparency legislation in the state.

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In this episode:

  • The Freedom of Information Act legislation and the likelihood of it passing in Michigan
  • Banning firearms at polling locations
  • 2024 general election output since the Michigan primaries

Under current Michigan law, the governor’s office and state legislature are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, making the state’s government among the least transparent in the country, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

A bipartisan package of bills sponsored by Moss and Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp.) aim to change that. The bills moved out of the Senate Oversight Committee on Wednesday and will soon move to the Senate floor for consideration. After years of major inaction, Moss says there is more support for the recent FOIA bills to make access to government communications easier.

“I was a freshman house member in the minority when I started to raise the flag on this issue,said Moss, who before serving in the state Senate was elected to the House in 2015. I think there is a seriousness that this is hopefully the endeavor that will take us to the finish.”

Even though the FOIA bills have been in consideration for a long time, not much has changed with the legislation. 

“For the most part, the main framework remains the same. Most of the work was on the exemptions. How do we protect some of the most sensitive things that we deal with constituents. The exemptions have been pretty constant from taking Gov. [Rick] Snyder’s and then Gov. Whitmer’s suggestions. The biggest difference is the appeals process,” Moss said. “The previous versions of this draft left that appeals process to stay within the institution. We made a decision to go beyond that. You can actually appeal to court.”

The judicial branch would act as the third party and determine the appeal’s route if it went to the courts.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.