State House committee considers bill aimed at requiring sexual harassment settlements in the Legislature be made public

BY: - June 10, 2021

A bill that would make some information about settlements regarding sexual harassment in the Legislature available to the public stirred discussion in the House Oversight Committee Thursday. House Bill 4920, introduced by House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson (R-Wayland), states that “if a settlement agreement that provides for the payment of money is entered following […]

Michigan House approves ethics reform package, but opponents call it an ‘illusion of transparency’

BY: - June 10, 2021

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.

BY: - June 2, 2021

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 […]

After MSU withholds Nassar documents, AG closes investigation

BY: - March 29, 2021

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Friday that Michigan State University (MSU) officials refusing voluntarily waive privilege to thousands of documents involving disgraced former Dr. Larry Nassar means her inquiry is complete.  “We have used every legal mechanism available to us — including going to court — to secure the remaining documents needed for our […]

New: GOP-led Legislature spent $628K on COVID-19 lawsuit against Whitmer

BY: - March 24, 2021

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

BY: - March 19, 2021

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

BY: - March 16, 2021

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 […]

There’s been a lot of talk about government transparency. But will the Legislature take action?

BY: - February 9, 2021

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. […]

How many lawmakers have had COVID-19? Here’s what we know.

BY: and - December 10, 2020

Michigan House leaders are starting to share more information about how many people working in the Capitol have contracted COVID-19, but questions remain. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) opened an investigation Tuesday into the state House for possible violations of COVID-19 emergency workplace rules after an employee filed a complaint. The rules, […]

GOP leaders, anti-gerrymandering group meet on expanding term limits

BY: and - October 22, 2019

A group of Republican leaders, business groups and activists that took on gerrymandering in Michigan have held recent talks aimed at tackling term limits and broader government reform. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) are working with Voters Not Politicians (VNP) and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to […]

U.S. House lawmakers fume after Trump Interior dept. sends them useless pages

BY: - September 27, 2019

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike are irked by how the U.S. Interior Department has responded — or failed to respond — to their oversight requests.  “The Trump administration has declared open war on Congress’ constitutional authority to conduct oversight,” said U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee.  Of […]