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2019-02-06 / News

Governor Aims for Government Transparency, Accountability

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2019 - 11 last week at the Michigan Press Association’s annual luncheon. The action aims to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act by closing loopholes and fostering a more user-friendly process within departments and agencies through the use of transparency liaisons to facilitate public requests.

“State government must be open, transparent and accountable to taxpayers,” said Whitmer. “I’m signing this executive directive to ensure that Michiganders have open access to state records and meetings and help the public navigate their state government. This is an important step to infuse integrity in governance and earn back public trust.”

In 2015 the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity conducted a national study of state ethics and transparency laws and safeguards, which found that Michigan was the least transparent state in the nation.

Executive Directive 2019 - 11 expands the reach and effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act to create a more transparent state government by:

—Designating a transparency liaison within departments and agencies to facilitate Freedom of Information

Act requests and find ways to disclose public records in a cost-efficient manner.

—Limiting the use of extension periods to grant Freedom of Information Act requests in a timely manner.

—Encouraging all Freedom of Information Act requests to be fulfilled by, or before, the deadline.

—Requiring departments or agencies to send a notice if the request will take longer to fulfill.

—Prohibiting members from using electronic communication to conduct business during public meetings.

—Urging the use of live streaming to broadcast public meetings to anywhere in the state.

—Compelling the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to devise an online system where public notices and records can be uploaded.

To view the full executive directive, visit https://bit.ly/2DQMp9z.

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