LANSING — State Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) has introduced a bill as part of a bipartisan legislative packaged aimed at expanding eligible FOIA requests to include the Legislature and the governor’s office. The package, a reintroduction from last term, was rolled out during a press conference Wednesday, and would help provide much-needed accountability for Michigan state government, which currently ranks as the least ethical and least transparent in the nation.
“Implementing these measures is an important step in putting our government back in the hands of the people,” Rep. Guerra said. “This package is not just about ensuring that citizens have access to important information, but about restoring trust in our government. Our duty is to serve the people of our community and the state of Michigan, so it is time that those people have better mechanisms in place allowing them to hold us accountable.”
Rep. Guerra’s bill would add to the Legislative Council Act the duties of deciding appeals of public record requests under the Legislative Open Records Act, and is tie-barred to bills that explicitly open the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices up for FOIA requests. The 11 bill package contains provisions which cover both those offices and the Legislature.
“It’s important to remember that this is only the beginning,” said Rep. Guerra. “After the passage of this package in the House last session, I am heartened to know that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle share my commitment not only to expanding FOIA, but to increasing transparency in our state government as a whole. It is my hope that we will continue to collaborate on key issues that help make our elected officials more accountable, and our citizens more empowered.”