Lawmakers need to be more transparent. That was the message sent by the House today when it approved bills to expand Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The bi-partisan bills would open state lawmakers and the governor to freedom of information requests. Those offices are currently exempt. They would create what they are calling the Legislative Open Records Act, which is a FOIA specifically for the legislature.
The legislation crosses party lines, with bill sponsors coming from both sides of the aisle. Democratic state Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is one of the bills’ sponsors.
“Being transparent in government on the front end is easier in the long run because it removes all doubts,” said Moss.
On the Republican side, bill sponsor Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) said the bill will show citizens just how boring their jobs are. And that’s a good thing, he said.
“Without the law in place the citizens have reason to be suspicious,” he said. “They have reason to doubt what we say is going on. They have reason to have diminished trust in their government, in their leaders.”
The bill package is now on its way to the Senate for approval.
Moss says he believes the overwhelming bipartisan support in the House is a good sign going forward. “I’m hopeful that our partners in the Senate see this as a priority in Michigan and act quickly to take it up as well,” he said.