Once in a blue moon Michigan’s elected Democrats and Republicans can agree on something unanimously.

They just did!

Michigan House bills 4148 through 4157 would subject the governor's office to the existing Freedom of Information Act and create a new Legislative Open Records Act. The House bills do include some exemptions including the governor’s office and legislators, for example the Governor’s office wouldn't have to release information on pardoning prisoners and the lawmakers wouldn't have to release contact with constituents.

The package of bills passed the House in an unanimous 108-0 vote.

Michigan’s House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt was quoted in a Mlive article stating:

The people of Michigan deserve more accountability from their politicians and better access to their state government.  These bills deliver on both counts and raise the ethical bar for state officials who often play a large role in the lives of everyday Michiganders

The package of bills are now headed to Michigan’s Senate for hearings and possible vote.  There they might see some opposition though, the Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive has stated that there is opposition to these bills in the Senate.

The question I have is why is there any opposition to these bills?  We the people want as much transparency as possible in our government, no matter if it is local, state or federal.  I cannot understand why any elected politician would want anything less than total transparency unless it comes to state military secrets.

The progressive advocacy group Progress Michigan was quoted in the article stating:

We're pleased that this legislation passed the House, but we've been in this situation before and seen these policies blocked by Republican leadership in the Senate. Even though these bills are a watered-down attempt at transparency, we need to take a step forward as a state and these policies at least move in that direction

I do not agree with a lot of what the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan advocates for but this I can stand in solidarity with them, shoulder to shoulder.

The other day I informed all my listeners and readers that the Center for Public Integrity rated Michigan’s government as having the worst government transparency and accountability laws and practices in the country.

It is time we shed that rating and move towards government transparency.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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