Michigan House Republicans
Bezotte: Whitmer hasn’t kept her FOIA promise
RELEASE|June 24, 2024
Contact: Bob Bezotte

Let’s talk about Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

FOIA is a transparency tool citizens and reporters use to hold the government accountable. It gives the public the right to inspect government documents, but for some reason it doesn’t currently apply to the Legislature or the governor. (Even though it applies to almost all other levels of government.)

Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that that would expand FOIA to cover both the governor’s office and lawmakers. But Democrats who control the House haven’t allowed a vote. And I’m not sure why.

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was a candidate for governor back in 2018, she promised to unilaterally expand Michigan’s FOIA law to include the governor’s office, even if the Legislature failed to act. But six years later, she still has not followed through.

Democrat lawmakers in the House also say they want to increase government transparency. And they are in majority, which means they get to decide which bills get a hearing in committee and which get a vote.

So if Republicans are on board, and Democrat lawmakers say they are on board, and the governor said she is on board, why aren’t we doing something?

My guess is it has something to do with the fact that Gov. Whitmer hasn’t kept her promise, even though the ability to keep her promise to expand FOIA is entirely within her power to control.

But that’s just speculation, I suppose. It would be nice if a reporter could get the governor to explain why she has not kept her word. But maybe they cannot reach her because she’s busy building her national profile in what looks like a shadow run for president in case Biden is removed from the ticket.


If we cannot agree on expanding FOIA, I hope Democrats will at least join me in supporting a raise for the sergeants-at-arms who protect the Capitol, who are underpaid relative to similar positions. I sent two letters to Democrat House Speaker Joe Tate urging him to give them a salary more commensurate with their position and responsibility.

He hasn’t responded yet.

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