LANSING — Yesterday, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Resolution 275, sponsored by state Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), declaring this week to be Sunshine Week in Michigan, which is a time to celebrate press freedoms and the ability of citizens to access government information. However, even though Michigan’s House of Representatives passed legislation last year that would open up the Legislature and governor’s office to transparency laws, the Senate has refused to take up the bills championed by Rep. Moss. In response, state Rep. Moss issued the following statement:
“I thank my House colleagues for adopting my resolution to declare this week as Sunshine Week in Michigan. This declaration, along the unanimous vote last year of my legislation to expand the Freedom of Information Act to include the governor’s office and to open the Legislature to the Open Records Act, shows the House understands that transparency in government is a cornerstone of democracy.
“However, celebrating Sunshine Week is not enough. Michigan is consistently ranked as the least transparent state in the entire country, and this shameful lack of oversight that has very real consequences. Flint families continued to drink lead-tainted water for several months while the governor and his administrators emailed each other about the problems with that city’s water quality, and no Michigan resident was able to access that information. It’s incomprehensible that the House came together to unanimously pass legislation to open up both the Legislature to an open records act and the governor’s office to FOIA — only to have that legislation sit without action in the Senate for more than a year. It’s beyond time to see these bills passed into law, and Sunshine Week is the perfect time to do it.”