LANSING – State Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) is introducing a bill to expand the scope of Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act so that the governor, lieutenant governor and their offices, as well as the Legislature and its staff, would be subject to FOIA requests. Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act covers state agencies and boards, local governments and school districts and other bodies primarily funded by state or local authorities, but exempts the Legislature, governor and lieutenant governor from FOIA requests.
“Holding elected leaders accountable to citizens is at the very heart of our democracy, which is why it is outrageous that the state’s top elected officials have exempted themselves from the transparency and accountability provided through the Freedom of Information Act,” Dillon said. “When government leaders are allowed to operate in secrecy, it breaks a sacred trust between voters and the people they elect to office. We owe it to the people who voted for us to make ourselves and our offices open and accountable.”
Michigan and Massachusetts are the only two states that exempt the governor’s office from FOIA requests.
“It’s unreasonable and unethical that lawmakers and the governor are allowed to exempt themselves from the very same Freedom of Information Act law that they expect every other government worker to comply with,” Dillon said. “It’s a matter of basic fairness and accountability that as legislators and leaders, we hold ourselves to the same standard we expect of others. The people of Michigan deserve a fair and transparent government that works for them.”