House unveils bipartisan transparency package

People deserve access to public information
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and House Democratic Whip Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) today unveiled a bipartisan legislative package to increase government transparency by subjecting the legislative and executive branches to open records acts.

Chatfield, who serves as speaker pro tempore, said the 11-bill package 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 legislation was unveiled during a Capitol news conference today.

Chatfield, flanked by dozens of his colleagues, said Michigan is only one of two states that does not allow access to public records of the legislative and executive branches.

“We have a government that is intended to serve the people,” said Chatfield. “It's about time that the people have access to our records.”

Moss is sponsor of the bill placing the governor and lieutenant governor under the FOIA provisions.

“My top priority in the Legislature is making sure that our government is accountable to the people of Michigan, and I'm proud to once again lead a bipartisan effort to expand the Freedom of Information Act in our state. I'm pleased that we are renewing this call so quickly after the start of the current legislative session,” said Moss. “I’m hopeful that our colleagues in both political parties in both chambers will join us to build more trust in our government by making our Legislature and the governor’s office more transparent.”

The bills are similar to a legislative effort that was put forth by the House last session, but did not reach the governor’s desk for approval.

The LORA bill exempts some records, among them letters to and from people in the district, human resources files, and ongoing legislative investigations or lawsuits.