LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan is ranked dead last in the country when it comes to transparency and ethics reforms in the governor’s office and state legislature.
A bipartisan pair of senators have been on a lengthy crusade to change that, but now they might have to start all over again.
The FBI are investigating Rick Johnson, former GOP speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, for alleged favoritism when it came to picking companies to supply pot in the financially lucrative medical marijuana industry.
At the time, there was a disagreement in former Governor Rick Snyder’s office on whether to pick Johnson to chair the medical pot panel.
But due to restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act in Michigan, reporters have been unable to review the internal documents in the governor’s office concerning Johnson’s appointment.
Republican Sen. Ed McBroom and Democrat Sen. Jeremy Moss have been working for literally years to impose new disclosure requirements on the governor’s office and the state legislature.
Sen. McBroom and Sen. Moss hope to write a new law that provides the public and the media with more access to what goes on behind closed doors.
But with 54 new members in the Michigan House, the crusade for a stronger Freedom of Information Act is on hold.
“We’re going to have to start over again from scratch, because there are so many new members and interests,” said Sen. McBroom.
Over the next three to four months, work groups will tackle the issue before releasing a new bill. But there are some big challenges ahead of them, starting with the governor’s office.
“The administration is still very concerned about what FOIA and open meetings do to the governor’s office, even though 48 other states do it just fine,” said Sen. McBroom.