GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Governor Whitmer signed a new executive directive Friday aiming to improve transparency and accountability in state government.
A 2015 national study by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity found Michigan was the least transparent state in America. The group researched Michigan's state ethics, transparency law and safeguards.
“State government must be open, transparent and accountable to taxpayers,” said Whitmer. “I’m signing this executive directive to ensure that Michiganders have open access to state records and meetings, and to help the public navigate their state government. This is an important step to infuse integrity in governance and earn back public trust.”
One of Whitmer's initiatives will be to broadcast public meetings to "anywhere in the state" by way of live streaming.
Other means to improve state government level transparency include:
- Designating a transparency liaison within departments and agencies to facilitate Freedom of Information Act requests and find ways to disclose public records in a cost-efficient manner.
- Limiting the use of extension periods to grant Freedom of Information Act requests in a timely manner.
- Encouraging all Freedom of Information Act requests to be fulfilled by, or before, the deadline.
- Requiring departments or agencies to send a notice if the request will take longer to fulfill.
- Prohibiting members from using electronic communication to conduct business during public meetings.
- Urging the use of live streaming to broadcast public meetings to anywhere in the state.
- Compelling the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to devise an online system where public notices and records can be uploaded.
Read the full executive directive here.