Why do governor, Legislature operate in secret?

When asked whether he would support broadening Michigan's Freedom of Information Act laws to include his office and the Legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder told the Free Press: "As governor, it's good to have people you can talk to … when you're coming up with brainstorming ideas or thought processes, talking about difficult issues."

Yes, we're sure that's true. And if you're the manager of a private enterprise, it's a valid rationale for keeping your business private. But elected officials should have no such presumption of privacy. Public records are just that ó public. FOIA laws allow reasonable exemptions, for pending litigation or to protect private information. But a blanket exemption for two branches of government, most specifically the two branches that control every cent of the state budget, is just ridiculous.

Yet, that's how Michigan rolls: The Legislature and the governor's office aren't required to comply with FOIA laws, unlike governors and legislatures in most of the rest of the country. Local elected officials are also covered by FOIA laws, and it's ridiculous to suggest that the governor of Michigan engages in negotiations more complex and sensitive than, say, the mayor of Detroit ó whose records are available to the public under FOIA. Continue>>>