It's Time to Expand Public Records Transparency

Reitz discusses Flint water crisis on Michigan Radio

Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Michael Reitz was featured in Monday’s edition of Stateside on Michigan Radio to discuss the need for more transparency in government in light of what is happening in Flint.

“The justification for FOIA unfortunately is very clear and very apparent in situations like the one we have now with the Flint water crisis where decisions were made that will affect people’s lives in horrific ways for years and years to come,” Reitz told host Cynthia Canty. “The people of Flint and the people of Michigan justifiably want to know who made these decisions and how were they made and why did we get it wrong.”

Reitz joined Melanie McElroy, executive director of Common Cause Michigan, who agreed that the governor’s office should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Michigan and Massachusetts are the only two states where the governor’s office and state legislature are exempt from this public records transparency law. Reitz explained it is time to change this standard:

We think generally it is a good idea to have the governor’s office treated the same way as other branches of government or other agencies under the Freedom of Information law. And really it comes down to the statement of public policy that FOIA includes in the statute. It says that, ‘All persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those that represent them as public officials.’ If that’s true of a school board member or a local city council member, certainly it’s true of a person in the governor’s office or some other state agency.

Read more about the interview, and listen to the segment in its entirety, at Michigan Radio.