How the Flint Water Crisis and a Statehouse Scandal Gave a Boost to FOIA Reform in Michigan

A succession of high-profile scandals in Michigan over the last year have cast a spotlight on the high cost of secrecy in state government. Now, there’s an opportunity for open records reform with a bipartisan 10-bill package that passed unanimously through a House committee this spring—and it’s championed by a young lawmaker who once trained as a reporter.

Journalists have long grumbled about the weak open-records law in Michigan, one of only two states where both the legislature and the governor’s office are exempt from the state Freedom of Information Act. Michigan ranked dead last in the most recent State Integrity Report Card from the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity, with failing grades for legislative accountability, executive accountability, and public access to information.

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