Michigan House approves ethics reform package, but opponents call it an ‘illusion of transparency’
A bill package of lobbying, financial disclosure and ethics reforms passed through the House with bipartisan support Wednesday. The 13 bills, House Bills 4680–4692, aim to close the revolving door for legislators and lobbyists, require lawmakers to disclose their financial information to a closed committee created by the Legislature, among other initiatives to raise the […]
There are a lot of proposals to increase Michigan government transparency. We break them down.
Updated, 2:38 p.m., 6/3/21 with correction Dozens of bills aimed at boosting ethics, transparency and financial disclosure laws have been introduced in the Legislature this year from both parties, with lawmakers making the case that their respective bills would give Michiganders the most access to state government. Transparency has been a hot topic in Michigan […]
New: GOP-led Legislature spent $628K on COVID-19 lawsuit against Whitmer
Updated, 12:07 p.m., 3/24/21 Both chambers of Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature have spent a total of $627,808.31 in taxpayer dollars on its lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to date, according to the House and Senate business offices. Neither the Legislature nor the governor’s office are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Legislature, however, […]
Michigan House again passes bipartisan FOIA reform bills
A 10-bill package focused on improving Michigan’s infamously opaque government transparency laws has passed through the state House, with all bills adopted unanimously by Democrats and Republicans alike Thursday. In 2015, Michigan scored an “F” in the Center for Public Integrity’s State Integrity Investigation and ranked worst in the country for state government accountability and […]
After years of legislative inaction, ballot initiative launched to expand FOIA
Mark Brewer, longtime Michigan elections lawyer and former Michigan Democratic Party chair, told the Advance Tuesday that a new ballot initiative expanding the state’s 1976 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) represents the best opportunity yet to achieve significant transparency. Michigan is one of just two states where neither the governor nor Legislature are subject to […]
Bills you may have missed, from banning workplace vaccine mandates to increasing LGBTQ protections
State lawmakers have introduced bills in March on topics ranging from expanding unemployment benefits to protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination to barring employers from requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature, in the House with a six-seat margin and the Senate with a four-seat margin. […]
There’s been a lot of talk about government transparency. But will the Legislature take action?
Transparency and accountability have been buzzwords on both sides of the aisle in Michigan. Michigan scored an F in the Center for Public Integrity’s 2015 State Integrity Investigation and ranked worst in the country for state government accountability and transparency. Since then, dozens of measures have been introduced, but many haven’t been signed into law. […]
Boxes of sealed papers from an influential anti-immigrant activist have been stored at U of M for years. So what’s in them?
In 2016, Virginia-based immigration lawyer Hassan Ahmad sent the University of Michigan a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access sealed papers donated to the university by John Tanton, a prominent anti-immigration activist from Michigan. But the public university denied the request until 2035. After years of lower court battles and lawsuits, the issue […]
State settles lawsuit seeking former AG Schuette’s private emails
Years after a lawsuit was filed by a liberal advocacy group seeking former Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette’s private emails, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a settlement agreement Wednesday. In 2016, Progress Michigan sought out Schuette’s private emails which he used to conduct public business. But the former attorney general denied the Freedom of Information […]
After a long logjam in the Senate, lawmakers hopeful of breakthrough in open-records reforms
A bill package discussed by a Senate committee Tuesday would not just improve Michigan’s subpar Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws, but make them among the best in the country, according to sponsors state Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan). The two lawmakers have been working on legislation to add some much-needed “sunshine” […]
Senate panel to take up long-stalled bipartisan FOIA reform bills
Government transparency bills from an unlikely pair of lawmakers have managed to score a Senate hearing, after many years of the chamber resisting their calls to consider the legislation. State Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) drafted the first iteration of the large bill package together when they served in the state House […]
Case seeking former AG Schuette’s private emails will continue
The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that a case brought by a liberal advocacy group seeking Attorney General Bill Schuette’s private emails should not have been dismissed. In 2017, Progress Michigan filed suit against Schuette, a Republican, after his office denied a 2016 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding his use of […]