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WXYZ Editorial: Amend Michigan Freedom of Information Act for all branches of government!

Posted: 5:15 PM, Sep 29, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-29 21:15:40Z

Just one word can do a lot to help restore the public’s trust in Michigan government.  That word is: TRANSPARENCY!   

Last week the State House took a big step forward.  Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bi-partisan package of bills that would no longer shield the Governor’s office and the Legislature from Michigan’s 40-year old Freedom of Information Act.   We applaud Republican Ed McBroom of Vulcan and Democrat Jeremy Moss of Southfield for leading this effort.   

It was long overdue!  The best way to remove doubt and suspicion of our elected leaders is for them to do the people’s business without secrecy.  Michigan and Massachusetts are the only two states in the nation that exempt the governor’s office from open record laws.   We’re also one of only a handful of states that constructed a similar wall for the legislature.   No wonder the Center for Public Integrity ranked Michigan dead last for “transparency” and “accountability” among the 50 states last year!   

If fully amended, the new bills would wisely protect against disclosure of personal and financial records not considered public information.  And the law would not be retroactive which could trigger a witch hunt of the past.

But the Flint water crisis was a wakeup call to Michigan.  When government isn’t fully accountable, it can lead to disastrous consequences.

The Michigan House has finally taken responsible action for the future.  Now it’s up to the State Senate and Governor Snyder to make all branches of Michigan government transparent to the citizens who elected them and pay them to serve the people.  Don’t squander this golden opportunity to rebuild openness and trust in Michigan government.  

I’m Mike Murri.