Rep. Calley takes action to make state government transparent, accountable
Bipartisan transparency plan approved by House during Sunshine Week
State Rep. Julie Calley today voted to greatly increase the transparency of state government and make state elected officials more accountable to the people they represent.
Michigan is one of a very few states that exempts its governor, lieutenant governor and the Legislature from sunshine laws. The bipartisan plan approved by the House today, during Sunshine Week, would remove these exemptions and make state government and its elected leaders more accountable.
“This is a good government reform we can all get behind,” said Calley, of Portland. “Regardless of who is serving in the Legislature or the governor’s office, the people of Michigan have a right to know what their elected officials are up to and how public tax dollars are spent. This plan – and the bipartisan way it was developed – sends a clear message that we are determined to increase transparency.”
The proposal will subject the Legislature to a new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) and the governor and lieutenant governor to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
LORA mirrors FOIA in most ways, but accounts for the unique nature of the Legislature –ensuring the personal information of constituents who seek help from legislators is protected and kept private. Other communications lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists would be subject to public review.
Calley has always been a strong advocate for government transparency, making it a priority while serving as a state representative and in her previous capacity as an Ionia County commissioner.
“My job is to serve as a voice for the people in our communities,” Calley said. “I was happy to comply with open records laws as a county commissioner, and it only makes sense that legislators and the governor’s office would be held to that same high ethical standard.”
House Bills 4383-92 now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
Sunshine Week is held each year during March to celebrate the laws that keep government open and accountable to the people.